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Il Pianeta degli Uomini Spenti

Battle of the Worlds

Italy 1961
produced by
Tom Sagone for Ultra Film, Sicilia Cinematografica
directed by Anthony M. Dawson (= Antonio Margheriti)
starring Claude Rains, Bill Carter, Umberto Orsini, Maya Brent, Jacqueline Derval, Renzo Palmer, Carlo D'Angelo, Carol Danell, Jim Dolen, John Stacy, Joe Pollini, Aldo D'Ambrosio, Massimo Righi, Giuliano Gemma
written by Ennio De Concini (as Vasilij Petrov), music by Mario Migliardi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A planet called the Outsider has entered our solar system and is threatening to crash earth. Only Professor Benson (Claude Rains), an eccentric and arrogant scientist who hardly ever leaves what he calls his den, thinks otherwise - and wouldn't you know it, once close enough, the Outsider doesn't crash Earth but orbits her.

Earth officials now want to blow up the Outsider, but Benson tells them not to. They do anyhow and soon enough regret it when earth spaceships are attacked by flying saucers and shot out of space one after the other. But enter crack pilot/scientist Fred Steele (Umberto Orsini), who finds a way to outmaneuve one of the saucers and send it crashing to earth. Once the saucer is investigated though, it turns out to be crew-less and controlled by a computer. Somehow, Benson gets his hands on the computer and finds out how it works and how to use it to control the other flying saucers. So the next time an earth battleship goes up into space, it has the computer with it - which somehow makes the saucers destroy one another.

With the Outsider defenseless, earth wants to blow it up immediately, but Benson himself wants to go to the planet to investigate first.

Up on the planet, Benson and crew find a system of caverns that reveal the secrets of this planet: It was once inhabited by an alien race, that to escape extinction, have steered their planet to space to find another planet to live on - but they became extinct anyhow. The planets main computer though was still working after their death and was making its way towards earth, where it now causes all kinds of natural desasters.

In the end, earth officials blow up the planet and the professor's crew make it off the planet just in time - only the professor himself stays behind, as he finds fulfillment in communicating witht he planet's computer, even if that means his death ...

An extended subplot tells about the love story between crack pilot/scientist Fred Steele and Benson's personal assistant Eve (Maya Brent).


Of course, from today's point of view, many miniature effects featured in this film and many futuristic sets might look a tad ridiculous, on the other hand, if you prefer good old plastic miniatures to all-too-slick CGI-effects and like these weird, almost psychedelic 1960's designs like I do, you might like this one. Furthermore the script of the film is quite ok (considering this is a film about a runaway planet and UFOs of course) and director Antonio Margheriti (in only his second film) proves to be craftsman enough to bring this film to life.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD