I've been trying to find the name of a movie. I saw it in the middle 1960's on TV in the US. It was in black and white. Pretty sure it was produced in the US. From what I remember of the clothes and whatnot, I suspect it was filmed in the 1950's.

A seemingly empty space ship landed near a small town. People started getting these disks on the back of their necks that were connected to the spine. If the disk got disturbed, the person died. The disk was about the size of a 50 cent piece and maybe a quarter inch thick. The people with the disks on the back of their necks were acting strangely and seemed to be under the control of others. At one point, one of the characters fired a revolver into an opening on the space ship and it echoed for a long time.

  • You've tagged this with [mind-control] but make no mention of that in the question, could you edit to be clearer on this?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 22, 2018 at 15:58
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    Seems like a potential early rip-off of Heinlein's The Puppet Masters.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 22, 2018 at 16:05
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    Parts of this remind me of Invaders from Mars (1953), which involved a space ship landing by a town, people with devices in their necks which killed them if disturbed, and the army dealing with it with gunfire, but the crystals there were implanted in the necks. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invaders_from_Mars_(1953_film))
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 22, 2018 at 16:25
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    Also kind of makes me think of The Invaders, a TV series, but there, the discs were weapons to kill at a distance.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 22, 2018 at 16:26
  • @FuzzyBoots Invaders From Mars seems to be very similar, but the disks were clearly visible. I used to watch The Invaders (and loved it) but this was a movie.
    – zeta-band
    Jun 22, 2018 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


Barring some discrepancies, it could be It Conquered the World (1956).

From IMDb:

One of several remaining members of its race, an alien from Venus is guided to Earth by disgruntled scientist Tom Anderson, who tells it which humans it should attach mind control devices to. Among them is his old friend, fellow scientist Paul Nelson. Nelson, after killing a flying bat-thing which carries the device, finally persuades the paranoid Anderson that he's been wrong to ally himself with an alien bent on world domination. They hurriedly leave when they discover Tom's wife has picked up a rifle and gone to the alien's cave to try to kill it.

Screenshots are linked to in case the YouTube video below goes dead.

Things that do match:

  • 50s/60s movie, black and white, produced in the US;
  • There's a spaceship crashing near a small town at 13'20. Command center thinks it's their malfunctioning satellite, so they reckon it's empty. Actually, the alien is in there, but only Tom knows that;
  • there are mind-control devices attached to some of the city's key characters (by bat-like critters sent by the alien). The humans do behave "out-of-character" afterwards. The disks match your "50 piece, querter inch thick" description (see this blurry guy at 27'09 and this other guy at 32'04). You can see the "implantation" process at 19'38 and 22'07 for instance.

Things that kinda match:

  • I'm not sure if disk removal leads to death, however it certainly doesn't fit with the alien's plans, as Tom says at 46'10:

Tom: His control device is gone.
Claire: What does that mean?
Tom: It means he must die. He's too great a menace to live the week.

  • The movie ends with guns blazing, first shot is drawn by Claire at 1'00'38, followed by multiple shots from the military (1'06'17 and onwards). However, that takes place in the cave the alien was hiding in (not a spaceship, then) and the shots don't echo that much.

Found with the Google query movie "back * necks" site:imdb.com which returned the reviews for Zontar: The Thing from Venus (1966). Several reviews mention this movie being a remake of It Conquered the World.

  • Zontar was on TV recently and I had the (mis) fortune of seeing it. But I would say that Zontar bears no resemblance to the OPs description, but it does match your description of It conquered the world
    – Peter M
    Dec 28, 2018 at 14:39
  • @PeterM as Zontar was in color (and not B&W as OP remembered) I didn't look further into it, but if you've seen both, do you think it was a rather faithful remake?
    – Jenayah
    Dec 28, 2018 at 14:44
  • I have only seen Zontar, but it was at best a C grade movie. Spent a lot of the time laughing at how bad it was. Definitely a low budget flick.
    – Peter M
    Dec 28, 2018 at 14:47
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    @Jenayah This looks very likely. The one difference is I seem to remember the space ship as being the classic vertical column not a saucer. But this was 50 years ago or so I saw it and memory fades. I will see if I can find the scenes I remember in it.
    – zeta-band
    Dec 28, 2018 at 16:10
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    @zeta-band check out 14'12 (alien exiting spaceship) and 1'06'46 (full view of alien). The spaceship isn't exactly vertical, but the first shot looks like it and the alien is conical. (I may have missed some other moments in the movie more fitting to your memory, though)
    – Jenayah
    Dec 28, 2018 at 16:34

You have described what I believe is "The Brain Eaters". A black and white film from 1958. There's a cone shaped space ship in a field with a round porthole near the top. An agent of some sort shows up to check it out and speaks with 2 scientists on scaffolding. One of them fires a revolver into the porthole and the bullet ricochets for a ridiculous amount of time.

My daughter and I watched this years ago when she was about 8 and we couldn't stop laughing. Things on backs of necks, mind control, a glowing orb covered by a washcloth, stars Ed Nelson. Hilarious.

  • But Leonard Nimoy is in it. Jun 26, 2021 at 15:11

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