THE NIGHT CALLER
BLOOD BEAST FROM OUTER SPACE; THE NIGHT CALLER FROM OUTER SPACE
The film starts well. The scenes with no-nonsense scientist Maurice Denham and imported American name actor John Saxon as his assistant recall the Quatermass films The Quatermass Xperiment/The Creeping Unknown (1955) being the work that kicked off the British science-fiction film. In particular, the scenes with them joining the military to investigate a mysterious alien object on the moors recalls X the Unknown (1956), one of the better Quatermass copies. The first half of the film at least generates the same kind of stark tension common to many of the better British science-fiction films. John Gilling shoots with sharp contrasts between fore and background the room containing the sphere ominously glowing while Patricia Haines innocently types in the foreground; a claw appearing around the door; the point-of-view shot from Maurice Denham who has fallen and dropped his glasses as an indistinct humanoid shape appears in front of him.
Unfortunately, there is the second half of the film where you cannot help but collapse into laughter at the basic concept the film hoists on us. At heart, what we have is no more than a cheesy US film about aliens coming to Earth to steal our women as per something like Mars Needs Women (1966). Certainly, you have to commend John Gilling as he tackles the exercise with a straight face approach that defies you to regard the film with anything other than complete seriousness. However, as a serious alien invasion scheme, the plot dissolves into ridiculousness one whereby the alien comes to Earth and recruits women by placing ads for models in nudie magazines and then turns up at the models homes to deliver a 3D photo from which (its m.o. is not exactly clear) it then appears to emerge from to teleport them back to Ganymede.
We have what feels like two different films thrown together the first half a Quatermass wannabe, while the second resembles less an alien invasion film that it does a psycho-thriller about a killer stalking women via modelling ads. Even the films original title The Night Caller suggests more of a psycho-thriller than it does an alien invasion film all the various retitlings have appended ... from Outer Space to make it more apparent that it is a science-fiction film. At least, Gillings stone-faced seriousness of approach makes these scenes transpire in a way that defies you give in to ridicule. The cast also includes a fascinating performance from Aubrey Morris who gives what is clearly the role of a gay bookstore owner a giggly perverse glee.
John Gillings other genre films include:- Mother Riley Meets the Vampire/My Son, The Vampire/Vampire Over London (1952), The Gamma People (1956), The Flesh and the Fiends/Mania (1960), The Shadow of the Cat (1961), Panic (1963), The Plague of the Zombies (1966), The Reptile (1966), The Mummys Shroud (1967) and The Devils Cross (1975). Gilling also wrote the scripts for House of Darkness (1947), The Gorgon (1964) and Trog (1970).
Clip from the film here:-