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2 spaceships, the Galliot & the Argos, are supposed to land on the planet
Aura, but upon landing, the Galliot goes amiss - a crash most probably - &
the Argos only manages to land safely on Aura thanks to captain Mark Markary's
(Barry Sullivan) superior piloting skills. Once on solid ground though all
crewmembers except for the captain start to violently attack each other, &
again, it's the captain who saves them from killing each other thanks to his
On Aura, a small scouting group go looking for the Galliot ... & find it
too, but all of the crew seems dead, killed by each others hand, safe for 2
crewmembers, captain Salas (Massimo Righi) & Kier (Frederico Boido) who are
missing for some reason. & it seems the meteorite shield of the Galliot has
been intentionally damaged (without which spacetravel might prove fatal).
Soon, the scouting crew returns to the Argos, only leaving crewmember Aldon
(Mario Morales) behind as a guard ... but when they return to the Galliot they
not only find Aldon gone, but also the corpses of the Galliot's crew ...
Back at the Argos, crewmembers start to behave violent for a short while
every now & again, including first technician Wes (Ángel Aranda), who even
tries to steal the Argos' meteorite shield, but once he is stopped by the
captain, he cannot explain why ...
The captain, along with hs first officer Sonia (Norma Bengell) & crewman
Carter (Ivan Rassimov) decides to scout around on the planet some more to find
some answers ... & they find an ancient spacecraft which belonged to some
aliens 3 times the size of a man (the giant skeletons prove it), which must
have landed on Aura about 300 years ago & the crew of which has apparently
killed each other too, much like the crew of the Galliot. Temporarily, the
captain & Sonia even get locked into the spaceship & almost suffocate,
but when they finally find a way out, Carter is gone ... & for good, too,
On the Argos, things get more & more out of hand when more & more
crewmembers report that they have seen dead crewmembers of the Galliot &/or
missing crewmembers of the Argos walking about, & are pretty much scared
stiff ... & then the missing Galliot-crewmembers, captain Salas & Kier
show up, very much alive (or so it seems), & are of curse given shelter on
the Argos, but instead of using their skleeping quarters for a rest-period,
they proceed to steal the meteorite shield ... & when trying to stop them,
captain Markary is only able to capture Salas, while Kier gets away with the
Salas reveals to Markary that he - & his crew - are indeed dead but
possessed by bloodsucking intelligent parasites who are in desperate search to
get off this barren planet & make for a more richly inhabited world to feed
on its populace & with the Galliot - & its crew as temporary hosts -
they want to obtain that ...
... but not as long as captain Markary has to say a word or 2 about it,
& he soon makes up a plan to get the shield back from the Galliot &
blow the ship up, then make a quick getaway with the Argos. & despite some
complications that costs most of the Argos' crew safe Markary, Soniy & Wes
their lives, the plan works ... but once airborne, Wes has to reylize that by
now, Markary & Sonia are taken over by the parasites as well, & - being
oputgunned & thus not able to fight them directly - destroys the meteorite
This leads the captain & Sonia to land the Argos on the next inhabited
planet, an uncharted world orbiting Sol called Earth.
Without a doubt, Terrore nello Spazio is one of the milestone
sci-fi-horror films, & certainly the best of this genre in the 1960's (not
that there was much competition worth mentioning) - & that's despite a
rather trashy script with stupid dialogue, obvious cardboard sets &
In this movie, Mario bava manages to ship around all its budgetary &
storywise shortcomings by relying heavily on atmosphere created by a weird,
otherworldly soundtrack, a massive use of cheaply to create but bizarre
miniatures, & such inexpensive means of production as coloured lights. With
the help of all this, Bava is able to conjure up an utterly unreal but
nevertheless convincingly creepy world all of his own.
By the way: in English language sources, Ib Melchior is often credited with
writing the screenplay for the film ... which is of course utter nonsense, he
had nothing to do with the creative process of screenwriting but merely helped
out with the dialogue for the English dub-version - & judging from the
pedestrian quality of the dialogue, that is nothing to be proud of (it didn't
sink the movie though thanks to superior direction).