The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

FREE Outdoor Screening, UC Berkeley

Thursday, August 25, 2011
8:30 p.m. It Conquered the World
Roger Corman (U.S., 1956)
PFA Collection Print

Bring a blanket and picnic on the lawn in the BAM/PFA Sculpture Garden, UC Berkeley

couldn’t happen here but it will! And what is this unspeakable terror from beyond? The eponymous It of It Conquered the World is like a gigantic winter squash with a gaping fanged mouth, two horns, arms like lobster claws, and a serrated torso. The “Cucumber Critter,” as it’s fondly called, lands on earth and then proceeds to extrude flying stingrays from its body that can control the minds of humans. No cuddly E.T., this Venusian vegetable is bent on world domination. And when It succeeds what do you get?—emotionless earthlings who want everyone to be like them, bad hair, fifties fashion, and all. The original astroturfers. Lee Van Cleef plays the disillusioned scientist who aids the alien invader and becomes “the greatest traitor of all time,” according to his pro-human pal, Peter Graves, who discovers he has a Stepford wife. Midfifties convertibles, mindless bureaucrats, flying saucers: It’s everything you’ve wanted from a movie and more.

Plus surprise shorts!

New Cal students: you are also invited to the free Poster Pizza Palooza directly preceding this screening.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Lou Rusoff. Photographed by Fred E. West. With Peter Graves, Beverly Garland, Lee Van Cleef, Sally Fraser. (71 mins, B&W, 16mm, PFA Collection). Thanks to Jon Shibata, assistant film archivist at BAM/PFA.

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