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WAR OF THE SATELLITES (1958) * ½

America sends a satellite up into outer space and some aliens send a tiny Estes rocket down to warn us to keep out of the skies. When we don’t heed their warning, they take over the body of the head of the project. This alien double (who can also make a double out of the double, but never mind) makes trouble for the crew of the latest shuttle launch and he goes around strangling anyone who finds out his secret. And naturally, since this is a Roger Corman movie; the only man that can stop him is Dick Miller.

The story behind War of the Satellites is a lot more entertaining than the movie itself. Allied Artists wanted to make a movie that would capitalize on the launch of Sputnik. Producer/director Roger Corman told the studio that he could have a movie in theaters in eight weeks and they jumped at the chance. To further cut down on costs, Corman himself even took a role as a ground control operator.

Because it was made in a rush, the movie is pretty much a mess. The plot is thin as Kleenex, the effects are a complete joke (the “satellites” are hung on visible strings and have to move via jump cuts and/or fast motion to make it look like they’re moving), and there is padding out the yin-yang. To make matters worse, there’s no actual “war” to speak of, so don’t go in expecting a space battle or anything.

The bulk of the film is made up of long dull scenes with people sitting around and having long boring conversations. If you’re a Corman fan, you’ll have some fun spotting all his regulars like Dick (Not of This Earth) Miller, Susan (The Wasp Woman) Cabot, and Bruno (Attack of the Giant Leeches) VeSota. The only really worthwhile part though is when the alien double gets his hands burned and it rapidly heals on its own. Other than that; it’s a total snoozer.

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