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The Space Children 1958
Description: A glowing brain-like monster arrives on a beach near a rocket use website via a teleportation beam. The alien communicates telepathically with the kids of scientists. The children begin doing the alien's bidding as the adults test to search out what's event to their unruly offspring.
Released: 01 Jun 1958 Director: Jack Arnold Writers: Tom Filer (story), Bernard C. Schoenfeld (screenplay) Actors: Michel Ray, Adam Williams, Peggy Webber, Johnny Washbrook Genres: Sci-Fi
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The Space Children Reviews:

***SPOILERS*** Despite its very weak ratings from the film critics the film "The Zone Children" is one of the most thought-provoking motion pictures to come out of Hollywood in the 1950's in its addressing the dangers of nuclear proliferation and the cause for nuclear disarmament. "The Zone Children" ranks right up there with "The Day the World Stood Still", which was released seven years earlier in 1951, in making that very necessary mission crystal clear to the film going public.With their dad David Brewster, Dave Williams, working as an electrical technician at the Eagle Mission Project young Bud & Ken, Michael Rey & Johnny Crawford, are somehow contacted through mental telepathy by this "Brain" from outer space. The two men are said by the "Brain" to go to this secluded cave on the beach for farther instructions.At the cave both Bud and his child brother Ken search a number of like-wise children there who's fathers, like Bud and Ken's, are involved in the Eagle Mission Project. The Eagle Mission Project is being fined tuned to send a missile into zone that will, after going into orbit around the earth, be able to open a nuclear weapon anywhere on the planet in situation a fight breaks out between the US and the Soviet Block including Red China.The kids are instructed to convince their parents working on the project to stop the open of that missile named "The Thunderer". The kids are said telepathically that if the missile is launched there'll be dire consequences not only for the country, the US, who launches it but the whole world as well!The film has the children, mostly preteen-agers,try to convince their parents to receive the missile open stopped with only Bud and Ken's dad David Brewster finally seeing the light. That's only after David was paralyzed by the "Brain", that looks like a pipping hot blob of lava, from outer zone when he tried, with a bolder, to smash it. Getting his feelings, by his son Bud touching his arm, back David desperately tries to receive the missile open named off but is declared, by those in charge of the launch, either delusional of suffering from burnout. It's then that David is ordered by the head of Project Eagle Mission Lt-Col Manly, Richard Shannon, to be sent to a local military hospital for much required rest, from the stress of his massive workload, as well as be place under mental observation.With the Thunderer scheduled to be launched within the hour the kids actually on their own, with the ""Brain" directing them, enter fully unnoticed, as if their invisible, by the military sentries the super safe missile website and somehow disarm the Thunderer making it fully useless! It's during that same time that Dr. Wahrman, Raymond Bailey, one of the top engineers at Eagle Mission also realizes that what Bud and his fellow adolescents are telling is the God honest truth! Seeing with his own eyes the children involved in a number of strange and unexplained incidents leading up to the missile open Dr. Wahrman came to the conclusion that their being guided from something from outer zone with powers beyond his imagination!The movie has a bittersweet ending with Bud and his brother Ken as well as the rest of the kids proving, by the "Brain" revealing itself to those in charge of Project Eagle Point, that their right about the dangers of playing Thunderer and the dangers of nuclear playing for strictly military purposes. What leaves the audience and the "Space Children" a bit concerned is will they-the adults running the world-now learn from what they've seen and stop nuclear testing. Or will that timely lesson have to implemented on them, with deadly force if necessary, by their zone neighbors who are actually monitoring them here on world as well as in the far off and distant universe!


While not Arnold's greatest film, IMHO (I search it a bit preachy and badly hampered by the rubbery silliness of the Large Alien Brain), this is still a memorable film. Though set in a beachfront zone it happens mostly at night, using Arnold's typically haunting black-and-white compositions to set an appropriate tone of strangeness and isolation. The children, alienated from their preoccupied and overworked parents, are almost adopted by the zone creature, which takes them under its security (a drunken and abusive father is disposed of later after the brain's arrival) even as it enlists them in its pacifist mission. At first fairly typical kids, they quickly develop an air of gravity and wisdom that remains after the alien departs, suggesting a lasting, even evolutionary effect. The film's game is perfect: the children do become Zone Children, more in tune with alien than human thought.


I've seen a lot of weird things on IMDb, but the rating for The Zone Kids is as puzzling to me as any I've run across. 2.1?!?! I couldn't disagree any more. 2.1 is getting close to Manos territory. The Zone Kids may not be the greatest film I've ever seen, but it doesn't deserve a 2.1. Why the weak rating? I blame MST3K. I play the show, but as I've argued any number of times, some of the films that they lampooned didn't deserve it. Take a look at the reviews on IMDb. You can split them into two wildly divergent groups - those players who appear to only know The Zone Kids because of MST3K and those who have seen it on its own. The comments from the MST3K crowd everytime seem to mention Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan) in a bathing suit as if it's one of the most necessary moments in the film. In contrast, many of the comments from non-MST3K viewers reminisce about seeing The Zone Kids during their childhood. Maybe it's not just an MST3K thing but an overall generational thing as well. Whatever, I tend to side with those who play the film for what it is.And what is it? The Zone Kids is a great tiny cautionary 50s sci-fi movie that speaks to the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Jack Arnold, one of the greatest category directors of the 50s, does his usual workmanlike job with the movie. It's not flashy, but it certainly looks good. The Zone Kids obviously was made on a limited budget. As a result, the unique results are also limited and Arnold focuses more on the people. A lot of what happens is implied. But that's not necessarily a weakness. Too often, low-budget sci-fi movies from this period look ridiculous because of the desire for elaborate unique results (i.e. creature and aliens) that outstripped the funding it would require. The acting, while not outstanding, is solid. Even the kids, who can be annoying at times in this type of movie, come off looking cute good. The cast will be familiar to many who grew up watching tv in the 60s. Overall I've got no large complaints with The Zone Children. Not a terrible method to spend just over an hour.



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