Zontar, the Thing from Venus is a near no budget made for televison remake of the Roger Corman AIP sci-fi classic It Conquered the World. It is a reasonable question to ask if the world really needed an even lower budgeted remake of It Conquered the World and why on earth one was ever made. When It Conquered the World was initially made, AIP was a struggling independent motion picture company led by the business savvy producers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson. The company churned out low-budget but profitable films one after the other primarily aimed at a youthful audience. On the labors of talented directors like Roger Corman, Edward L. Cahn and Herman Cohen AIP had, by the mid-sixties, become perhaps the most successful and powerful of the independent film companies in Hollywood. A logical step it seemed was to move into the now lucrative syndicated television market and so AIP-TV was formed. One of the projects AIP-TV took on was to remake a handful of its earlier film and release them in color to a new generation of movie viewers. To rewrite and direct some of these films they got legendary z-movie shlock meister Larry Buchanan who was used to working with little money and talent on his films and yet still managed to at least break even if not turn a small profit. He produced altogether eight films for AIP-TV–which also included The Eye Creatures, a remake of the Edward L. Cahn film Invasion of the Saucermen and Mars Needs Women- with his Azalea Pictures company based out of Dallas Texas. Zontar is considered by many to be the best of his Azalea remakes and even has B-movie icon John Agar in the role originally played by Peter Graves in the original film. Of course one can hardly say that the best Larry Buchanan film is anything that is going to excite the masses. They are films for the cognoscenti of camp and cheese only and rise to the quality of an Al Adamson movie at best.
There is a legend, maybe true or maybe not, that Larry Buchanan sometimes edited his films with duct tape. Even if it is just another b-movie myth it says something of the man’s reputation as a film maker that such a story even exists. I have only seen two other of his Azalea films for AIP TV and certainly Zontar, the Thing from Venus is the best of the three. But that is not really saying too much and I am trying hard to be fair with this film since I am a fan of low quality classic cinema. Fans of grade Z style movies by film makers like Ted V. Mikels and Al Adamson will find it worth a watch, if for no other reason than to compare it to the original. Most others will find little of value here.