powered by AFI
A number of sightings of an enormous, glowing red ball are reported from around the world, heading in the direction of the western United States. One evening shortly after the sightings, heiress Nancy Fowler Archer, distraught over another quarrel with her husband, nearly crashes headlong into a red spherical object in the California desert and in her panic, stalls the car. Nancy becomes hysterical when a gigantic figure emerges from the sphere and reaches for her. At Tony's bar in the nearby town, Nancy's husband Harry sits with his girl friend, Honey Parker, drinking and discussing how they might get Nancy's fortune. When Nancy, who spent time in a sanitarium after she and Harry temporarily separated, runs into town barefoot and frantically relates her sighting, Sheriff Dubbitt assumes she has had a relapse. In order to placate her, Dubbitt agrees to return to the desert with her and his deputy Charlie to search for the sphere and the giant, but the group finds only Nancy's abandoned car. Dubbitt cautions Nancy of the dangers of wearing her famous Star of India diamond while driving alone, but, angry at being disbelieved, Nancy returns home. There, Nancy bitterly demands that Harry leave, declaring they should never have reconciled, even though she is still in love with him. Despite Harry's cool attitude, Nancy reveals her fantastic experience in the desert, pleading with him to believe her. Harry mollifies Nancy, then gives her a sleeping draught before returning to Tony's. There he tells Honey that Nancy is apparently suffering from emotional duress again and he may be able to recommit her and gain legal control of her estate. The next day, Harry contacts Nancy's private physician, Dr. Cushing, hoping he will agree with his plans for Nancy, but the doctor warns him that Nancy could not endure another sanitarium stay. Later that day, Nancy accuses Harry of blatantly conducting his affair with Honey and of trying to return her to the sanitarium. She insists her experience in the desert was real and demands that Harry drive her into the desert to find the sphere. When she promises that if they cannot locate the object she will accept institutionalization, Harry agrees, despite the protests of Nancy's loyal, longtime butler, Jessup Stout. Harry and Nancy drive through the desert all day with no results, but just at sunset, Nancy spots the sphere. Harry grows panicky when Nancy runs toward the huge ball, and when the giant again emerges, Harry fire several pistol shots at it with no effect. The giant grabs Nancy, who screams for help, but Harry runs away in terror. Harry returns to the house and begins packing. When Jess demands to know Nancy's whereabouts, Harry hits him and after a brief fistfight, leaves. Jess telephones Dubbitt, and Charlie intercepts Harry and Honey as they attempt to leave her hotel. Dubbitt locates Nancy, unconscious and strangely burned, atop the roof of her poolhouse, and Cushing tends to her. When Charlie brings Harry and Honey to the house, Cushing reveals he believes that Nancy has suffered radiation burns and has strange cuts about her neck. Harry and Honey depart and Honey relates having overheard Cushing caution his nurse that the slightest increase of Nancy's medication could be fatal. Harry agrees to return that night and give Nancy an overdose of the medication, but upon sneaking back into the house is horrified to find that Nancy has mutated into a giant. The next morning, Cushing has the still unconscious Nancy chained and consults with specialist Dr. Von Loeb. Meanwhile, Dubbitt and Charlie discover an enormous series of footprints in Nancy's garden. Dubbitt and Jess follow the tracks into the desert and discover the red sphere. They explore inside and find Nancy's diamond and others apparently used for fuel. When the men see the giant, they run away, but the creature gives chase and destroys their car. After Dubbitt hurls grenades at the giant, it returns to the sphere, which then disappears into the night sky. Back at the Archers', Nancy awakens and begins screaming for Harry. Charlie finds Harry at Tony's with Honey, but, having decided to withhold all approval for medical treatment for Nancy, Harry refuses to return. Cushing and Von Loeb attempt to tranquilize Nancy with an elephant syringe, but she rouses and, breaking the chains, bursts out of the house in search of her husband. Charlie finds Dubbitt and Jess walking back from the desert and when they return to the Archers', discover the house in shambles and learn of Nancy's escape. The giant Nancy arrives in town and, as people flee in terror, destroys Honey's hotel looking for Harry. Charlie returns to Tony's and desperately tries to convince the drunken Harry to hide. When Nancy attempts to break into Tony's, Harry shoots at her, to no avail. Nancy then rips the roof off of Tony's and drops a beam on Honey, killing her. Nancy then snatches Harry and carries him off, crushing him in her fist. Dubbitt fires several shotgun blasts at Nancy without effect, but as she walks by the city power lines, he fires again and the lines explode, shocking Nancy, who staggers, then collapses, dead, still clutching Harry's lifeless body.