[box cover]

I Married a Monster From Outer Space

There's a hint of subversiveness to Gene Fowler Jr.'s exploitatively titled I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958), but neither the director nor his episodic television writer, Louis Vittes, who would contribute to the great sci-fi series "The Invaders" a decade later, have any interest in sustaining themes exploring the "Red Menace" or, even more provocatively for the '50s, the eventual dilemma of racially mixed marriages. The filmmakers' lack of daring renders this a rather quaint exercise seeking mostly to capitalize on the day's UFO hysteria. Gloria Talbott stars as Marge, a young woman yearning for the peace and security of domesticity, which is about to be granted through her marriage to seemingly nice-guy Bill Farrell (Tom Tryon). The audience doesn't get much of a chance to warm to Bill, who's rather abruptly abducted by a recently landed alien, a creature that generates a double of his captive's body and struggles to integrate himself into day-to-day human life. The alien Bill falters at first, and Marge quickly senses there's something off, but she marries him despite her fears. A year later, though, Bill still hasn't recovered. Marge is particularly alarmed when her anniversary gift of a puppy goes awry; the animal is instantly distrustful of the once dog-friendly Bill, who none-too-subtly strangles it. Marge is shocked, but, in this day and age, divorce was hardly a popular option (it's not even alluded to in the film), so she endeavors to follow Bill as he heads off on one of his mysterious walks, tracking him all the way to a nearby wood where she discovers the truth imparted in the scandal-mongering title. Distraught, Marge confides in the local police chief, who also happens to be her godfather. Though sympathetic, her insistence that Bill is an alien from another planet is just too wild to be taken seriously, but the chief promises to keep an eye on her husband just to allay her fears. Meanwhile, Marge's best friend gets married to Bill's pal Sam, who's also been appropriated by one of the aliens. Thus, the invasion is proceeding apace, and only Marge can bring her fellow townspeople to their senses. Interestingly, Fowler and Vittes attempt to make the aliens somewhat sympathetic, depicting them as visitors looking to fit in rather than install a tyrannical ruling class. But the manner of their integration is aggressive, and the film seems to be cynically, almost perniciously exploiting the fears of white America rather than sneakily chiding them. On a practical level, the picture also is annoying in its refusal to play by its own rules. The aliens are plagued by a selective ignorance of human customs; they might be perplexed by thunder, but they're regular Romeos when it comes to fulfilling their conjugal duties. These inconsistencies are, as always, indicative of a general contempt for the audience, suggesting that the filmmakers figured they could put one over on them. Less demanding viewers might allow themselves to fall for it, but fans of the genre will be disappointed, particularly considering the film's reputation as a "B movie" classic. There's little here to laud, and less to actively enjoy, even as camp. Paramount presents I Married a Monster From Outer Space in a nice anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. No extras. Keep-case.
—Clarence Beaks

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