A cocky test pilot takes his experimental aircraft higher than anyone has ever flown before--and he is bombarded by cosmic rays and crashes without a trace, until a mysterious string of vampire-like killings occur.
One of those "You had to be there at the time" films
Douglas A. Greenberg | Berkeley, CA USA | 09/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This seemingly harmless, boilerplate fifties scifi "thriller" is of special significance to me, which is the reason I purchased the VHS version. When I was eight years old, I attended a double feature matinee at the Varsity Theater in Palo Alto, California. The main feature was Disney's "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," a decent, semi-comedic flick most well-known for being a showcase for a budding actor named Sean Connery. "Darby" included a few scary moments, however, in which an animated "banshee" was shown floating ominously in the evening sky. Perhaps because of these briefly frightening scenes, the geniuses in charge of putting together the double bill selected "First Man Into Space" as the second feature. The results were nothing short of disastrous.Although "First Man" seems cheesy and at times downright plodding by today's frenetic standards for scifi films, showing a movie that includes a mutated, cyclopic, blood-drinking murderous monster to a crowd of under-ten children resulted in pandemonium in the theater and countless youthful nightmares afterward. I was so scared by the "monster" (I was certain it was going to come bursting through my bedroom window) that I could not sleep alone for several nights. Since I never forget to just what extent "First Man" scared the bejibbers out of me was back in 1959, I eagerly anticipated seeing the movie again some forty-plus years later. Needless to say, it was a very different experience the second time around. The "monster," who actually was the "first man into space" deformed by some mysterious variety of cosmic radiation, still appeared slightly scary (the one staring eye was an inspired effect, truly). But overall, the film seemed slow, dull, and oh, so cheesy. As other reviewers have indicated, the plot line of the movie has some admirable elements, with its "pride goeth before a fall" morality and the compassion showed by the authorities in the final scenes. But the film definitely qualifies as fodder for ridicule and wisecracks a la the late (and much missed) series, "Mystery Science Theater 3000." In seeing the movie for the first time themselves, my own sons, far more jaded in terms of what qualifies as "frightening," politely commented that they "could see how the monster might be scary," but I confess they were so bored by the production overall that it was all they could do to keep from leaving the room prior to the conclusion. I guess to appreciate some of the virtues of this not-bad-but-not-great fifties scifi "thriller," you hadda be there, in the dark, on a Saturday afternoon with a hundred other terrified suburban kids."
You'll be surprised!
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 06/30/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this movie with low expectations. It looked like the typical Z-grade movie that, if it were not for Mystery Science Theater 3000, would be a chore to watch.Boy, was I wrong!While the picture was obviously made on a low budget, it comes off much better than you'd think. The special effects are surprisingly good, especially the scenes of the experimental rocket in flight.There is some interesting stock footage of planes from the X-1 era, being launched from bombers (which at the time was how they thought they'd do rocketry).I kept wondering when the picture would start to go bad, but it kept my interest throughout. Low budget 50's sci-fi, but a real gem!"
A movie I will never forget.
Lyra Belacqua | Ohio USA | 12/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie when I was 8 years old. It was a double feature with "Old Yeller". I never had seen any scary movies before. Like some of the other reviewers, this movie scared the crap out of me. I had nightmares for several weeks and refused to walk alone down the long dark hallway to our bathroom at night. After all these years, the memory of what the monster looked like is still fresh. Now that I have seen the whole movie again, it was fun to relive all the chills it gave me so long ago."
First man into space a 50s gem
sci fi Steve | NY | 05/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember seeing this film a a young boy and it helped hook me on Sci Fi for life. 50s rockets and a space plane right out of the newsreels of the time coupled with a risk taking pilot, responsible older brother who is his superior officer and the beautiful scientist who they both want make for a great movie. The science and horror are blended into a believable tale of ambition gone wrong as a disobeyed order to stay below the threshold of space so the pilot can be the first man into space leads to a hideous fate. By doing so he passes thru a cosmic cloud that covers the ship and him in a protective reflective dust which insulates both him and the ship from the atmosphere. What follows is a mystery as to what happened to the pilot when the ship re enters the atmosphere and what is causing the mysterious slasher type murders that have their victims drained of blood leading to a typical 50s climax where a noble act ends in tragedy but gives future pilots a new safety element to continue into space.
a real gem of a film cheaply but professionally done. dont pass this one up."
First man into space
N. Patti | paterson nj | 09/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"the fiend without a face producers strike again with this somewhat less successful but stillpretty creepy sci-fi/ horror hybrid. like fiend this starts slow but builds to some really scary moments."