Not the incompetent laughfest I was expecting. That’s not to say the special effects aren’t a total joke and some of the “acting” is questionable, this belongs in the “Not All That Bad” category. As a Three Stooges fan it was interesting to see Moe Howard as a solo playing the part of a cab driver.
It starts as a government official tells us viewers that the U.S. has fired a satellite into orbit and brought it back intact. Inside is a canister of microscopic life. Dr.Charles Pommer (Paul Frees) takes it to his desert lab for analysis. Jeep driver Pvt.Joe Rattigan asks if he can come inside and see the lab. Pommer says okay until he realizes there’s someone inside. The tour will have to wait.
The person waiting is his ex girlfriend Laura (Lyn Thomas). She’s married now and wants custody of their son. He’s away at boarding school. She says her husband is the jealous type and she told him the boy was her sister’s son. He’d rather check out the canister so he goes to his lab. He opens the canister and starts dictating into a tape recorder. He gets a call from John Hand (Bill Williams) the head of project security who wants to know how it’s going. Pommer tells him this proves there’s life in outer space. even if it is a fungus from Mars. Due to its red tint Pommer names it Blood Rust. This being a black and white movie you’ll have to take his word for it.
Laura won’t leave him alone. He finally shows her a letter he wrote the school turning the boy over to her. He closes in for a little attention and she slugs him instead. She calls a cab to take her to the airport for a return flight to Honolulu. She wants to get home before her husband returns from a business trip and finds out she left town. She never mentioned her former relationship with Pommer.
In the cab she pays driver Retlinger (Moe Howard) to forget he ever saw her. Things in the lab have gotten out of hand. The fungus is everywhere and Pommer makes a panic call to Hand. He says even a slight contact with the fungus will spread it. He says the lab must be destroyed. Hand and Rattigan rush out there and find Pommer’s dead body and a very busy fungus. Rattigan goes to a window and fishes the reel of tape from the recorder. Then Hand sets the place on fire.
Back at headquarters they hear Laura’s voice on the tape and don’t have a clue as to who she is and know they have to find her fast. They track down the cab driver who finally admits he took her to catch a train to L.A. Hand and Rattigan fly out there. When her train arrives at Union Station Laura buys a paper and see an account of the fire. She thinks she’s being sought for Pommer’s murder.
Hand finds Laura’s suitcase in the baggage compartment of the train with the fungus going nuts. A flame thrower takes care of that. Inside the suitcase they find a plane ticket to Honolulu. The cab driver is brought to L.A. to work with a police artist and a portrait of Laura is put together and broadcast on TV.
Laura sees it and goes to a hotel and registers under an assumed name. She buys new clothes and dyes her hair brunette. She heads for the airport to hop a plane home. Rattigan finds out and manages to jump aboard before it takes off. There are three good looking brunette passengers and he wants to talk to them.
Meanwhile down below in the baggage compartment…
Nowhere near a gem but nowhere near a disaster either. It does manage to generate some suspense. This is one of those 50’s SF/Horror movies that has slipped into obscurity but is worth a look, even though the fungus looks like the plastic vomit you can buy at novelty stores.