A meteor crashes outside a desert town, and, before it disappears into the earth, the local astronomer (Richard Carlson) notices it’s really a space ship. The townspeople scoff at his story, but soon some of them are turned into alien hosts after coming into contact with a soft-focus Jell-O-y entity that looks like a glaucomatic eye as seen from the inside. (The effect was creepier in the movie’s original 3-D version.) Jack Arnold, director of many sci-fi near-classics (Creature from the Black Lagoon, Tarantula, The Incredible Shrinking Man), gives the film the matter-of-fact tension of a police procedural. But the best thing about the movie is Ray Bradbury’s story, the blueprint for a decade of sci-fi paranoia. Bradbury says that the most toxic alien invasion is not of our skies but of our minds — especially if we only think we’re being invaded.