Pause It: It! The Terror from Beyond Space

'Pause It: It! The Terror from Beyond Space'

PAUSE IT: What do you see? Two astronauts exit the space hatch and take their first cautious steps along the exterior of a spacecraft in director Edward L. Cahn’s sci-fi monster flick, “IT! The Terror From Beyond Space” (1958). Incredibly, the astronauts defy gravity as they walk with ease down the vertical axis of the frame. A low-budget B-film, these are not the high priced effects seen in the contemporary studio pictures of the day. Rather, a low-tech optical illusion is being employed. Generally given less time and less money to complete their pictures, B-movie filmmakers had to find creative means by which to tell their stories and still captivate an audience. The ingenious shot seen above was likely accomplished by filming the actors as one would normally do–horizontally, the astronauts walking upright along a flat surface of a grounded set–and then in post-production rotating the direction of the image at 90 degrees to make it appear as though the duo is capable of accomplishing the impossible. Trick shots have long been a staple of the movie-going experience and this example was certainly not the first or the last of its kind. When the budget allows for more expensive variations another way to accomplish the same basic effect would be to rotate the set hydraulically such as in Fred Astaire’s iconic “Royal Wedding” (1951) ceiling dance or more recently in Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” (2010).

Director: Edward L. Cahn
Cast:  Marshall Thompson, Shirley Patterson, Kim Spalding  
Cinematography by: Kenneth Peach
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September 19, 2018

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