Friday, 21 August 2015

I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE












d. Gene Fowler, Jr (1958)

Despite the sensational title, this is quite sombre, serious stuff. In it, an advance party of aliens arrive on earth and take over the minds and bodies of some of the male inhabitants of a small town. What do they want? Well, their own females have all died in the wake of a nuclear war, so they are after wives and girlfriends, which somehow seems much worse and far more presumptuous than simply zapping everybody to death and taking over the planet.

The aliens here are a fantastic conception, with hideous tentacled faces that are reminiscent of Lovecraft's cephalopod-like Cthulu. Their space suits seemingly provide them with an artificial atmosphere, and glow and vibrate so that they are hard to see, like a hallucination - or a nightmare. The aliens have the husks of their kidnap victims back in the mother ship, hanging mindlessly in the air, hooked up to some sort of transmitting device that allows the aliens to inhabit a facsimile of their bodies and access their memories and thought patterns - and their wives, especially their wives*. 

Even so, the aliens make unconvincing humans, at least as far as their wives are concerned: they can't have kids for a start (their scientists are working on this), dogs and cats hate them and, incredibly for 1950s America, they don't touch alcohol, not even cocktails. Naturally, they don't last long and are ultimately hunted down by a good old fashioned angry mob and killed, collapsing and coalescing into a pool of dirty bubbles as they die.

The final shot is of hundreds of saucers leaving the earth's atmosphere and moving on to the next galaxy: defeated, ugly men, still desperately looking for love.

* In the outwardly prim and proper 1950s, 'marriage' is synonymous with sex. The inference is quite clear: these fucking aliens are fucking our fucking women.

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