A mysterious government project scrambles a team of scientists to investigate the cause of a spaceborne disease that kills nearly everyone in a small desert town. They find an extraterrestrial form of life that causes rapid, fatal clotting of the blood, and make some disturbing discoveries about the project as well.
This is an oldie that have become a bit of a classic. I remember watching this film when I was a kid and thought it was fairly okay then. I do not remember exactly which year it was that I watched it. I was definitely too young to have watched it when it came out in 1971.
However, this is a film that time has not been very kind to. The underground lab might have been considered high tech at the time but now it looks extremely outdated with its ancient keyboards, low-res bulky CRTs and tele-printers. The special effects, what little there are, mostly consists of some colored blurring of the image.
The story itself is not too bad although there is the usual anti-military finger pointers in it that was so common at the time. One scene I remember from when watching this movie as a kid was the scene where the female doctor freezes due to her epilepsy when the red flashing text indicating the non-growth that they were looking for came up on the screen. Thus she misses this vital information. I so disliked that scene at the time and I disliked it now as well. They are looking to prevent a possible human-exterminating epidemic and she goes around having secrets like that? Actually I didn’t like her and her constantly bad attitude at all.
Another thing that I thought was quite ridiculous and which is unfortunately a key plot element was this business with the key to turn off the nuclear detonation. For starters it is dubious that there would not be at least a second person as backup. What would have happened if that particular scientist would have been the first victim of any outbreak? However, having a system where you have to locate a terminal that is quite some distance away but at the same time the lab automatically shuts itself down thus preventing you to go anywhere, including reaching said terminal, is just stupid and unbelievable.
It is still a fairly decent suspense movie but I cannot bring myself to give it more than 5 stars out of 10. I do consider picking up the book though since I have actually not read it. It feels like a perfect story for a book.