At Festival 451indy, we’ll be screening the 1953 film It Came From Outer Space, a classic science fiction movie from a screen story written by Ray Bradbury. It was the first time Ray had been commissioned to write for the movies, and it happened in a very busy year for him. 1953 was not only the year of It Came From Outer Space, it was the year of another Bradbury-based movie, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and no less than two of Ray’s classic books: The Golden Apples of the Sun and Fahrenheit 451. And to cap this miracle year, at the end of 1953 Ray was summoned to join John Huston in Ireland, to write the screenplay for Moby Dick (1956)!
It Came From Outer Space was an influential film. Steven Spielberg said that It Came From Outer Space was the key influence on his creation of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). In fact, when Spielberg met Bradbury after a screening of Close Encounters, he asked Ray, “What did think of your movie?”
Nearly forty years after creating It Came From Outer Space, Ray wrote a fictionalized account of this early Hollywood experience: his crime/mystery book A Graveyard for Lunatics (1990). Here he blended together It Came and The Beast, fictionalised his animator pal Ray Harryhausen, and threw in references to his friends James Wong Howe (cinematographer) and Fritz Lang (film director). The result is an amusing adventure set in a film studio and a neighbouring cemetery.