As is the case with most of our films, everybody's depressed in Space Children. A bunch of guys are working on "The Thunderer," a new kind of nuke; they live in piping hot trailers on a desolate California beach with their wives and children. Everybody hates everybody; the most cheerful character is a racist xenophobe played by Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester in The Addams Family).
As might be expected, the children (ages 5 to 41) are soon contacted by a blob from space. The blob guides them in the ways of sabotaging the military, and by the end The Thunderer is in ruins, the blob flies away, and everyone's left still in need of counseling and trying to sort out some truly strange theology.
Russell Johnson (The Professor on Gilligan's Island) is in the film, too.
The movie's preceded by a short feature, Century 21 Calling, that concerns some very white kids drenching themselves in the phone technology of the future, from the vantage point of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (with obligatory shots of the monorail and the Space Needle...get the tie-in?).
Prologue: Servo has a kissing booth, and Mike buys a budget kiss, only $49.99
Segment One: Pearl wires the castle and the SOL with a new phone system, so she can take over the world better with more efficient officing. It doesn't work very well.
Segment Two: Mike silently imitates the grinning, pointing star of the short. Crow and Servo take him down, hard.
Segment Three: Mike and the 'bots fail to launch a model rocket, although they do succeed in blowing up Mike. Pearl has a real rocket and plans to launch Bobo; to train him, she spins him in a faulty centrifuge.
Segment Four: Crow introduces a sexy fashion line of very skimpy fashions meant to be worn by Jackie Coogan.
Segment Five: The blob from the movie shows up and makes Servo destroy his nuclear weapon. Pearl launches the rocket but Bobo's not in it. It destroys the castle and kills them all. Or does it?
Stinger:: Russell Johnson staring.
It really is true that the one thing uniting our films is depression. In at least 70% of them the characters are just dejected, and they live in brown, stultifying surroundings. The most famous example is perhaps High School Big Shot, a movie we did several years ago on some other cable channel in which the last image is a guy hanging (by a rope, I mean, around his neck) from his dining room chandelier.
The same actor also turns up in I Was A Teenage Werewolf, from Season Eight, where he also plays a depressing dad. And, he's the same guy who plays the taciturn fellow waiting for a bus at the beginning of the cropduster scene in North By Northwest.
- Paul Chaplin
Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie/episodes availability on video and on DVD and even books
The best book for looking up movie titles and descriptions is the Movie / Video Guide by Leonard Maltin, he even has "The Space Children" (1958), of which he says, "Anti-war film isn't up to (director) Jack Arnold's other 50s science-fiction classics, but is sufficiently offbeat to warrent a peek."