Three staff members of Project Star Talk (Simon Oates, Stanley Meadows & Zena Marshall) are working at a radio telescope site when they are taken to an asteroid fortress by a space ship. Also carried along for the ride is an accountant (Charles Hawtrey) and a tea lady (Patricia Hayes). The group meet a robot and must pass some tests before using the fortress’ missiles to save the Earth from an armada of alien vessels.
THE TERRORNAUTS is a British science fiction film made by Amicus Productions, based on Murray Leinster’s 1960 novel The Wailing Asteroid. The screenplay was written by sci-fi author John Brunner and the film was directed by Montgomery (BATTLE BENEATH THE EARTH) Tully.
There’s no escaping the fact that THE TERRORNAUTS was definitely done on the cheap… and I do mean very cheap!
The film resembles a brightly-coloured, low budget Doctor Who episode. But if you look beyond the threadbare production values, you’ll find that THE TERRORNAUTS does have an interesting premise: a long-gone alien race has left its tech behind so that mankind can defend itself from an interstellar foe.
I do also like the alien critter, revealed as a hologram. If you can imagine an unrealistic man-in-suit creature costume designed by a surrealist… that is what the alien looks like!
The lurid poster (claiming we’ll be seeing ‘The virgin sacrifice to the gods of a ghastly galaxy!’) highlights a moment in the movie where the heroine is accidentally teleported to a planet and is nearly sacrificed by a bunch of green-skinned savages.
This in-your-face poster artwork promises, of course, far more than the film could ever hope to deliver.
Here’s the pre-production concept artwork for the hologram alien, by designer Bill Constable, showing that the strange being was always intended to have an eye positioned at an odd place on its body.
And here’s another couple of shots of the alien as seen in the film, with its eye located on its waist…
Some lobby cards…
Finally, here’s the UK DVD cover…