When Chatrichalerm Yukol directed Out of the Darkness in 1971 he wasn’t even thirty and had some experience from television. He wanted to make something that never been made in Thailand and decided for a sci-fi movie. This was way before Star Wars and all that bullshit, so of course sci-fi basically meant a good old monster movie. “It was terrible” Yukol said about his cinematic debut, but I think that’s not fair. Out of the Darkness is more or less a classic American monster movie from the fifties – just set in Thailand with a little bit more blood and Sorapong Chatree dressed in way too tight swimming trunks.
A meteorite falls from the sky and hits a small group of islands outside Thailand. Professor Thongchai and his assistant Sek (Sorapong Chatree) observes this and travels to the coast to investigate it. Soon people (including the typical young loving couple out on the beach for a night of sinful lust!) starts to disappear, killed and eaten by a tentacle blob! When Thongchai and Sek arrives to the island everyone in the village is dead, just the rotting skeletons is left! But the alien also takes control over people and transforms them to killing machines that shoots green lasers from their eyes! Will our hunky hero Sek be able to stop the alien invasion? Will he find the girl of his dreams? Just watch the movie and you’ll see…
Out of the Darkness might be silly, but it’s not sillier than any random American classic from the fifties. Instead the setting, actors and colors make it an interesting version of something that, at the time, was really outdated. Sorry to say, it was a big flop – but looking back at the movie it’s easy to see how competent and well-made it is, with wonderful cinematography and some good monster-moments. The creature itself is in the Roger Corman-school of monsters, not that movable and very cheap. But for once it’s actually kept in the darkness and that makes it a lot more effective in this case, with it’s big glowing eye and all the tentacles flying out to squeeze people to death.
The humans taken over by the alien is also quite cool, even if they mostly just walk around like robots. What makes it work is the visual effects, the glowing green eyes and the lasers. In a, for the time, original scene one of the humans is set on fire but continues to walk around shooting his eye-lasers! Yes, it reminded me of Terminator. But I doubt James Cameron ever saw this movie!
It runs two hours and twenty minutes and has song numbers and romance, but it flows fine and never get boring. The direction is flawless and intelligent, with nothing unnecessary shown – everything seem to have a purpose and the actors, especially a very young Sorapong, holds up the story both in the drama and action. In a supporting part future baddie Dam Datsakorn impresses and if I’m not mistaken, veteran actor Sukon Koewliam has a small part but disappears after a while.
Nowadays Out of the Darkness is considered a minor Thai classic and I think the reputation will grow in the future. I’m sure everyone who enjoys the old American sci-fi’s would love this movie and so every monster fan out there. If you can find the long OOP DVD, buy it directly. The quality is good and in correct ratio and has – surprise – English subs!