Kronos: Ravenger Of Planets (1957) (DVD review).

Over the years, I’m come across references to ‘Kronos’ in Tom Weaver’s interview books yet have never seen it. Don’t confuse this Science Fiction film with the later ‘Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter’ (1973) as they are…er…two different monsters. This particular Kronos is an invading space vehicle that comes in two stages. The first to dispatch an energy life-form to take over a human while it seeks out one that will supply it with human knowledge it needs. The second massive model crashes into the ocean to unleash a giant double box thingy stamping on the ground and draining energy. Oddly, it’s the Japanese air force that attacks it and fails. Well, things are on a budget and everything is prop than jet.


Throughout all of this, the alien sentience has taken over lead scientist Dr. Hubbell Eliot (actor John Emery) who occasionally regains his own mind and is able to advice fellow scientist Dr. Hubbell Eliot (actor Jeff Morrow) that Kronos turns energy into matter. Realising the folly of the US military dropping an atomic bomb on it but unable to stop Kronos taking over the plane and draws it in. BOOM! Therefore a different solution is found to short-circuit it and…well, you’ll have to see for yourself how that’s done but I wouldn’t have wanted to have lived in Los Angles. No one seems to wonder about the destruction at the end just about whether a return match will happen with these unseen aliens.

Back in 1957, first contact SF films ending in disaster was very much the foray of the American B-movies and director Kurt Neumann was doing at the time. ‘Kronos’ takes itself and the science very seriously, although I have to wonder if there is such a thing as a ‘scientific boner’ and is it legitimate to say in this century? More seriously, no one blinks an eye when someone invades the lab, drops dead when the alien intelligence leaves it and two night guards remove the dead body and don’t tell the police but then, this is 1950s USA. Who knows what else they are capable of.

What gets me is the seriousness of the matter with such a small cast. The one place where people are shown fleeing looks distinctly like something out of ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’. Where people are supposed to be fleeing, there are also an equal number of cars going towards Kronos as well. Rubber-necking in the face of death. Now that is seriously deranged.

If you treat ‘Kronos’ slightly tongue-in-cheek, then you’ll find a different dimension to this film. Treated seriously, you’d have to wonder at the dangers of a single giant robot and the time it would take to destroy the Earth before someone found a way to stop it. No to mention what does it do with all that energy it converts to matter. Even the first attempt to stop it with a nuke had been successful, it would have caused a major disaster and there wasn’t even a President there to authorise it. Still, the scientists won and we can all sigh with relief. Other laxatives are available.

GF Willmetts

October 2014

(region 1 DVD: pub: Corinth Films/Image Entertainment ID8602CODVD. 78 minute black and white film. Price: about £ 3.25 (UK) if you know where to look)

cast: Jeff Morrow, Barbara Lawrence, John Emery, Morris Ankrum, George O’Hanlon and Robert Shayne

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