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Image Entertainment presents
The Day It Came To Earth (1977)

Ronnie: What in the world?
Professor: No, gentlemen, not OF this world. I give you the motherstone of the fragments you brought me.

- Roger Manning, George Gobel

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: September 02, 2002

Stars: Wink Roberts, Roger Manning, Delight DeBruine
Other Stars: George Gobel, Rita Wilson, Robert Ginnaven, Lyle Armstrong, Ed Lover
Director: Harry Z. Thomason

Manufacturer: Ritek
MPAA Rating: PG for (mild horror violence)
Run Time: 01h:27m:18s
Release Date: August 13, 2002
UPC: 014381871227
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C D+C-D+ C-

DVD Review

A few years after he did the weak The Day It Came To Earth (1977), director Harry Thomason made a legit name for himself directing a pair of hit television series: Designing Women and Evening Shade. The good news for Thomason is that he has those two shows to highlight his resumé, because this weak stab at trying to recreate the feel of a 1950s vintage sci-fi film is remarkably dull and uninteresting.

I'm all for homages of film styles; witness the brilliant film noir work of the Coens on The Man Who Wasn't There. With The Day It Came To Earth, Thomason, in his own mysterious way, has attempted to capture the tacky feel of a 1950s sci-fi drive-in film, but he is done in by a script that goes nowhere and an alien/monster being that is largely absent from the proceedings.

It's 1950s Arkansas, and as the film opens a pair of mobsters rub out a guy, and dump his bullet-riddled body in remote Miller Lake. As luck would have it, a strange meteorite crashes (A la The Blob) and for some reason or another it resurrects the dead mobster, who now sports an evil grinning rictus. He shuffles about menacingly, kills the two guys who did him in (the only two victims in the whole film, by the way), and then returns to his watery grave.

Thomason then introduces us to the heros, a couple of clean-cut college guys named Ronnie (Roger Manning) and Eddie (Wink Roberts) who hook up with a couple of equally straight-arrow coeds named Debbie (Rita "Mrs. Tom Hanks" Wilson) and Sally (the wonderfully named Delight DeBruine). The four have a peachy picnic where Ronnie and Eddie discover fragments of the meteorite, which they quickly take to kindly old Professor Bartholomew (George Gobel).

When I saw Gobel's name in the opening credits, I was expecting an over-the-top, hamboned performance. To me, he was best known for his long-standing stint on The Hollywood Squares in the early 1970s, and I sure wasn't expecting what was an understated, natural performance, played perfectly straight. That kind of threw me off a little, because though Gobel was fine as the professor, Thomason's film needed some additional humor if it wanted to reach true camp levels.

If The Day It Came To Earth had actually been made in the 1950s, it probably could have been decent drive-in fodder. Thomason's attempt at either satire, parody or homage never becomes apparent enough, and instead the final product is a sanitized Happy Days-with-a-monster type film that seemed too, too long at just 88 minutes.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Don't expect a Criterion release of this title anytime soon, so this 1.33:1 full-frame transfer is probably the best this film will see. Fleshtones run a little too pink, though colors have that soft focus feel, lending some credence to Thomason's try at working up a 1950s vibe. Unfortunately the print is excessively grainy, with poor, muddy black levels.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: Presented in mono, The Day It Came To Earth has all sorts of weird problems. A steady dose of hiss and crackle during the film's final twenty minutes were kind of a drag, but that was minor when compared to the overall flatness of the track. Voices occasionally had a weird echo to them, and the apparent overdubs are mixed way too high.

Audio Transfer Grade: D+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla, She Demon, Monster From Green Hell, The Flying Saucer, The Crawling Eye
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extras are a set of 5 low-budget horror film trailers that span the decades, including: Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla, She Demon, Monster From Green Hell, The Flying Saucer and The Crawling Eye.

Disc menu is simply the chapter stops, with the extra trailers coming under an unlisted 15th chapter.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

If Harry Thomason could go back in time to the 1950s, The Day It Came To Earth might have found an audience. I didn't have a problem with his attempt at recreating the innocent feel of a vintage drive-in film, it's just that he didn't succeed.

Dull stuff.

 


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