Taking a generous view of the sci-fi shocker The Day It Came to Earth, it’s possible to imagine that the culprits behind this picture began with the germ of a sensible idea—piggybacking ’50s nostalgia onto the resurgence of science fiction by making a throwback to the monsters-from-outer-space flicks of the ’50s. Think Close Encounters of the Happy Days Kind. However, blending kitsch with thrills requires a deft touch, and artistic nuance was apparently beyond the reach of writer Paul Fisk, director Harry Thomason, and their collaborators. Every aspect of The Day It Came to Earth is atrocious, from the acting to the special effects to the storytelling. The goofy narrative begins with two mobsters whacking a dude and then dumping his body into a lake. Next, a meteor falls into the lake and reanimates the corpse as a supernatural monster—but for reasons unknown, the zombie returns to its hiding place in the lake after each killing spree. Apparently, even the walking dead enjoy leisure time. The film’s main characters are a pair of college guys who stumble across the meteor (while somehow failing to notice the nearby corpse), then enlist the aid of their science professor to examine the artifact. Bland rampages and dull monster hunting ensue. Noting that the science professor is played by comedian George Gobel, of The Hollywood Squares fame, indicates how little of merit The Day It Came to Earth offers to viewers; not only is Gobel miscast and terrible, but he’s recorded poorly, so his dialogue sounds like it’s drifting in from another movie. Future notable Rita Wilson’s appearance is equally unimpressive. Playing her first credited role in a feature, she’s embarrassingly bad, all bug-eyed expressions and unpersuasive giggling. About the only passable thing in The Day It Came to Earth is the monster makeup, but even that loses its appeal after sustained exposure.
The Day It Came to Earth: SQUARE