This confusingly-titled science-fiction thriller is both an artifact of its time and a surprisingly forward-looking film, in terms of plot. On the one hand, its plot makes it a kind of 1950's B-movie antecedent to The Andromeda Strain… More This confusingly-titled science-fiction thriller is both an artifact of its time and a surprisingly forward-looking film, in terms of plot. On the one hand, its plot makes it a kind of 1950's B-movie antecedent to The Andromeda Strain -- on the other, it owes a lot to the popular police procedural films and television shows of the decade or so leading up to its production. The title refers to an advanced US satellite sent into orbit, in part to gather and return samples of material from space. The latter includes a microscopic organism believed to be the same existing on the planet Mars which, so one scientist, Dr. Charles Pommer (Paul Frees), believes, is responsible for that world's red coloration. Pommer, who is permitted to take the sample to his home laboratory, is brilliant and single-minded in his work; but his intellect and ambition, coupled with his unstable personality and chaotic personal life, leads to disaster. He discovers that the organism, which he christens "Blood Rust," can multiply incredibly fast in Earth's environment, and attach itself to (and ultimately consume) any living host creature, including human beings. The alien organism proves his undoing, and he lives just long enough to warn project security chief John Hand (Bill Williams) of the danger -- but the warning comes too late to prevent Pommer's ex-wife (Lyn Thomas) from becoming an unwitting carrier of the organism. It's up to Hand and his assistant, Radigan (Robert Ellis), to find this woman -- whose identity they don't even know at first -- even as she tries (for purely personal reasons) to elude the authorities, not knowing of the danger she presents to herself and the world.