The Scoop: 1958 NR, directed by Gene Fowler Jr. and starring Gloria Talbott and Tom Tryon.
Tagline: Shuddery things from beyond the stars, here to breed with human women!
Summary Capsule: A year after marrying, Marge is wondering why her and Bill cannot have children. Or why since their wedding day Bill seems like a stranger. Or why the pet death rate in the neighborhood has drastically risen…
Eunice’s Rating: They’ve come for our women!
Eunice’s Review: The night before his wedding Bill found a body in the road while driving home from his bachelor party. It turns out to be an alien trap, and Bill’s fate is a mystery. The next day a decidedly different Bill marries Marge. Fast forward a year and Marge is not only worried about but frightened by Bill. Something is just. Not. Right. When their new puppy mysteriously strangles itself, Marge decides to investigate only to learn Bill’s been replaced by an alien. Now Marge doesn’t know where to turn or who she can trust…
You know what I like about science fiction movies? They can be taken at face value and just enjoyed, or, if you’re feeling mentally energetic, they can be picked apart for deeper meanings and a look into the social subconscious of the time (the same can be said of horror a good chunk of the time).
While it would be easy to say I Married a Monster from Outer Space is just another ‘They are among us!’ tale, there’s more to it.
IMaMfOS borrows a lot from a thriller subgenre big in the ’40s that I like to call the Bluebeard movie. It’s a movie where a woman marries a man only to find out that he’s a murderer and is unable to escape or get help [see: Gaslight; The Two Mrs. Carrolls; Suspicion; etc.]. Bill’s face is menacingly lit, long ominous shadows precede him as he walks up the stairs, as the movie goes on the couple’s house becomes visibly darker. His first choice to kill the dog is to use a clawed hammer before opting to strangle it.
While Bill never hurts or threatens Marge, he doesn’t really have to. When Marge learns the truth she’s treated like she’s crazy, and then patted on the head and told that while she may not be crazy she must not know what she’s seen. But it turns out that in the year the aliens have had, Bill’s not the only puppet and Marge is unable to phone or leave. What started out as a quaint town becomes smaller and smaller.
But then there’s the alien love story part. See, except for the whole invading and pet killing thing, the aliens aren’t really that bad. They aren’t here to take over the planet, so much as survive. But when they take on human form they experience emotions and sensations. The movie shows Alien!Bill hearing and seeing thunder and lightning for the first time, or figuring out the visual difference between Earth’s day and night. Or ‘Hey! We can’t swim!’ When he first sees the dog he genuinely likes it and finds it interesting. And of course learns to wuv. Even though the aliens can’t have kids with humans yet -It’s explained that in the process of escaping their planet, all their women died- they, mostly, enjoy being married and hanging out and stuff.
Zee sex, it is a big part of this movie? Mais oui! Very much so.
As for effects… Sure there’s day filmed as night, and dudes lumbering around in rubber monster suits, but I actually really dig the smoke monster effects and think they hold up well, and the human men hovering in the spaceship is kinda nifty. And ray guns! You can’t beat ray guns.
Yes it is McCarthyism influenced, but -Despite its cheesy poster, and way waaay cheesier title- I Married a Monster from Outer Space has a fairly solid story also influenced by women vs. men paranoia, and tragic alien unrequited love story. Not to mention a little ahead of its 1958 time in some of its ideas.
- Bill taps the world’s most obvious dummy with his car.
- Crushing a glass in your bare hand. Always scary.
- Homoerotic undertones anyone?
- Dive or bellyflop? You be the judge.
- If you’re allergic to oxygen, perhaps Earth isn’t the planet for you.
- You show that door who’s boss!
- What’s with the weird Bill-centric slo-mo at the end?
- Gotta admit, I’ve always felt torn by the ending. On the one hand, yay Earth wins! On the other I feel sad for the aliens *frownie face*
Woman: Those guys ain’t even giving us a hard look.
Marge: Mother! Will you stop that dirge!
Mother: That isn’t a dirge, dear, it’s the Wedding March.
Marge: If Bill ever gets here it’ll be a dirge!
Ted: He’s not very late.
Marge: Oh, no, it’s still Tuesday.
Ted: The evening still has braces on its teeth.
Marge: Your race has no women. It can’t have children. It will die out.
Bill: Eventually, we’ll have children with you.
Marge: What kind of children?
Bill: Our kind.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- Cat People (1942)
- The Stepford Wives (1975)