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I Married a Monster

from Outer Space

     "Your race has no women. You can't have children. It will die out."

-- Marge     

     "Eventually, we will have children with you."

-- Alien Bill     

     "What ... kind of children?"

-- Marge     

     "Our kind."

-- Alien Bill     




Gonzoid Cinema




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Sights &
I Married a
Monster from
Outer Space
A Whole
Month of

I Married a Monster from Outer Space

Well, It
Good at
The Time:
Good films.
Wonky Titles.

I Married a Monster from Outer Space

Kill, Baby Kill


And Monster Month continues to roll along...

After some outstanding opening credits that give us an approaching alien’s POV of the Earth (-- and yes, I’m foreshadowing), we open in a town like any other town, USA, where the Sherman Tank-sized cars with the massive tailfins clues us in that we’re in the 1950's. Moving on, we enter a bar where Bill Farrell's bachelor party is winding down. His buddies try to keep the party going by buying one more round, but Bill (Tom Tryon) promised to stop by and see Marge, his bride to be, on the way home, and after he leaves, all the confirmed bachelors at the table say they would rather kill themselves then commit to marriage.

As Bill winds his way home, rounding a blind corner, he spots a body lying in the middle of the road. Slamming on the breaks, the car screeches to halt with a sickening thump. (Don’t worry, I think the mannequin survived.) Bill quickly gets out of the car to check on the human speed bump but finds the body has disappeared. Thinking he's had way too much to drink, Bill turns to leave until a monstrous (-- and very in-human), glowing hand grabs him from behind. Spinning to face his attacker, the man recoils in fright at what he sees, and after he collapses, a black fog envelopes the prostrate form, and then, when the smoke dissipates, Bill is gone!

The alien he sees has a basic humanoid shape, with rubbery skin, no visible nose, two eyes, and two very large arteries that run from its head to its chest. And not only does it glow, but it also produces a strange droning noise. And as far as rubber suited monsters go this one is pretty good, built by the same guy, Charles Gemora, who created the tri-ocular aliens for War of the Worlds.

The next day, when Bill is late for the wedding, Marge (Gloria Talbott) grills the groomsmen about what happened to her husband-to-be at the bachelor party. But just before their heads roll, Bill shows up and the couple passionately kiss until her mother suggests they save some of that for the honeymoon. (All seems well. Too well, he typed ominously...) After the ceremony, the newlyweds take off for their honeymoon. Along the way, Bill almost causes a wreck by driving with his headlights off, and becomes very defensive when Marge asks how he managed to get so far in the dark. (She’d been sleeping, and it’s our first clue that something’s not quite right with Bill.) Then the new bride becomes more puzzled when they reach the hotel and Bill forgets her in the car, and is a little miffed when he doesn’t carry her over the threshold at their honeymoon hideaway.

As the evening progresses, Bill's behavior grows even more bizarre: He acts like he’s never seen a thunderstorm before, and he won’t even touch the champagne. Believing it’s just marital jitters, Marge heads to bed before a lightning flash reveals a horrible alien visage underneath Bill’s features (-- confirming our suspicions that Bill isn't Bill at all.) Marge, who doesn’t see this, calls her new husband into the bedroom and we fade to black. (What? Do I have to draw you a picture?)

When we fade back in, a whole year has passed, and Bill’s friends really miss their old drinking buddy. After last call, as Sam (Alan Dexter), one of the diehard bachelors, stumbles his way home, he gets sick and heads into the alley to blow some chunks, where, between heaves, an alien attacks and assimilates him. (I wonder what effect the alcohol will have on the transformation?)

Meanwhile, worried that it’s been a year and they still haven’t had a baby yet, Marge makes an appointment with Dr. Wayne. (Read between the lines here people, they can’t spell it out; remember this is the '50s.) When the check-up finds nothing physically wrong with her, Wayne (Ken Lynch) suggests that Bill needs to come in for some tests. (The alien's shooting blanks?) Looking for Bill, Marge runs into Sam (-- and we know he’s been taken over because he’s sober), who announces his plans to marry Helen (Jean Carson). Later, Marge returns home with a surprise; she's bought them a little dog for their anniversary, but the dog wigs out when it meets Bill. (Strange, it was fine at the pet store.) Bill makes some excuse and tells Marge to keep the dog tied up in the basement until it gets used to him. But when Bill tries to make peace with the dog, the mongrel will have none of it. Picking up a hammer (-- nope to messy), Bill sets it back down before closing in on the dog. Suddenly, the house is filled with the sound of the dog in terminal distress. (Actually, it sounds more like a chicken in terminal distress.) Marge rushes to the basement to help but Bill stops her, saying it's too late, claiming the dog somehow strangled itself with it’s own leash. After removing the dog, Marge finally gets around to telling Bill about her doctor’s appointment. Since she’s fine, and they’ve been going at it like a couple of rabbits, she wants to know why she hasn't gotten pregnant. Then, Marge drops a Freudian slip when she accuses Bill of acting like an evil twin sometimes. (Duh.) Urged to see the doctor, her husband really doesn’t like the idea but agrees to do it just to appease her.

The doorbell rings, providing Bill a much needed distraction. It's Sam, dropping by for a visit, and after Marge excuses herself to let the two men talk men’s business in private, Sam reveals that he, too, is an alien doppelganger. As the alien Sam complains about the model of human that he got stuck with (-- that’s why you should always kick the tires first, bub), they quiz each other on the mistakes they've made so far and how the overall master plan is proceeding. (Uh-oh.) And it's going pretty good as the aliens have managed to round up and take over the local police force. Before leaving, Sam reminds Bill that his methane supply needs to be replenished and orders him to return to the ship for a refill. Later, thinking Marge is asleep, Bill sneaks off -- but Marge was playing possum and follows him deep into the woods, toward a heavily foliaged gully. Truthfully, he wasn’t that hard to track; Marge just followed the trail of dead pets. (And no, I’m not kidding.) Spying a strange ship among the trees, she watches as Bill stops in front of it, and then that same black fog seeps from his body and forms a big, squishy alien. Once the alien is completely extracted and assembled, it shambles off into the ship, leaving Bill standing outside. Alone, Marge calls out and runs to him when he doesn’t respond. Barely touched, Bill falls over, stiff as a board. Horrified, she stares at him as a large bug crawls across Bill’s unflinching face, and as it slowly sinks in what has happened, Marge lets loose a screams and runs away; and then we’re treated to a nice Dramamine inspired sequence as haunting images of the horrible monster and her husband torment her.

Making her way back into town, Marge tells a few locals at the bar what she saw -- but no one believes her. She finds a policeman and demands to see Chief Collins (John Eldredge). Since he’s her godfather, he’ll believe her, right? Well, Collins does listen to her fantastic story and assures her she’s not insane but maybe a little hysterical. After giving her the standard UFO rigmarole, Collins promises to check it out. He then tells her to go on home because if Bill is an alien, he mustn't suspect anything, and this way, they won't tip their hand. Reluctantly, Marge agrees, and after she leaves, a lightning flash reveals Collins has been taken over, too.

Returning home, when Marge makes an excuse for where she’s been, Bill buys it and they head off to bed ... More time passes, and we pick things up when Marge and Bill attend Sam and Helen’s wedding rehearsal. Taking Helen aside, Marge encourages her to postpone the wedding but won’t tell her why. She suspects Sam is one of them, too, but Bill interrupts before Marge can confide the alien invasion conspiracy. That night, Marge plays twenty questions with Bill: Why doesn’t he drink anymore (etc. etc.). But the wily Bill turns the tables and accuses her of changing, too, these past couple of weeks. The reverse psychology appears to work as Marge caves in, claiming it’s because she’s tired and leaves the room. Frustrated, Bill breaks the glass in his hand. He then spots someone spying on them and sends out a psychic SOS to his alien buddies. When the alien cops stop the man, we recognize him as the guy in the bar Marge confessed to earlier -- he didn't buy the alien stuff, but thinks the Farrel's marriage is about to crack and wants to catch Marge on the rebound. (What a creep.) But he believes those alien theories now, now that it's too late, and draws a gun and fires. When the bullets have no effect at all, the aliens disarm and beat the crap out of him. Then Bill watches from the window as they shoot him dead. Moving into the bedroom, he assures Marge all she heard was an engine back-firing. He tries to apologize, but she's too upset, and so offers to sleep in the guest room until she calms down.

More time passes, and Bill joins several alien doppelgangers at the bar. As they quietly discuss the invasion's progression, we finally find out just what exactly that sinister plan is. (Yep, they’re here for some seedy breeding purposes with our womenfolk. Git your hands off’n our women, you dirty alien smoochers!) Their scientists are still trying to match chromosomes, and until then, they’ll just have to mark time. When the bartender reads them the riot act for wasting his time and liquor, they leave. Later, as the town floozy (Valerie Allen) makes her way home from the same bar, she spots a possible john across the street looking in a department-store window, freshens her makeup, and saunters on over. (Sharp ears will pick up the alien’s natural occurring drone, so methinks she’s in trouble.) Ignored completely, the woman gets mad and pushes him. And when the hooded figure turns, revealing the alien’s visage underneath, the hooker runs away, screaming. Raising a weapon, the alien fires a disintegrator beam, and in a fiery flash, the town’s population decreases by one. Turning back to the window, the creature's distorted visage ominously reflects off the glass by the baby doll display.

The next day, the Farrels join Ted and Carolyn for a nice lakeside picnic in the park. They spot Sam and Helen out in a rowboat  just as Sam falls overboard and into the water. When he doesn’t surface, Ted, who we know is normal because his wife is pregnant, jumps in the water. (Strange, Sam was a strong swimmer. So is Bill, but he just sits there.) Hauled to shore as the paramedics arrive, Sam appears to recover -- until they give him oxygen, and then up and dies. And if he didn't know any better, the paramedic would swear that the oxygen appears to have killed him. The normal people in the gathering crowd are dumbfounded, while the alien doppelgangers sit apart in concerned silence.

Since he's done precisely diddly and squat since their last meeting, Marge talks to Collins again, who advises her to drop this alien business or she’s liable to wind up in the loony bin. Sensing the conspiracy is growing, she tries to call the federal authorities but can’t get through (-- they’ve got the phones too!), and when she tries to send a telegram, as she leaves, Marge notices the clerk tearing up her message and throwing it away. The girl even tries to leave town but the police have the roads blocked, claiming they’ve been washed out. Frustrated at every turn, Marge returns home where she sits and stews in the dark. When Bill offers to turn on the lights, she tells him not to bother; he doesn't need them anyway, right? Bill waits a pregnant beat and then asks what she knows. Told she knows everything, Bill decides to spill it all and tells her the plight of his people:

They came from the Andromeda Galaxy, escaping their planet on space-arks when their sun went supernova. But they weren't fast enough, and the resulting radiation killed off all of their women, meaning their race is doomed unless they can find a suitable replacement. That’s why they’re on Earth, trying to assimilate their way in. But something’s gone wrong with their great plan: human emotions are starting to assert themselves in the alien hosts. (Ah, the horrors of Ro-Man’s Syndrome.) When Marge asks if they know what love is, he says no, they have no concept of it, but insists he is starting to learn. He then drops the bomb that, eventually, they will get over the genetic hump and have children with the Earth women.

Trapped, Marge turns to Doctor Wayne again, and luckily, they haven’t gotten to him yet. And after putting her story together with what happened to Sam, he starts to believe her tale of alien doubles. Unable to go to the police, they don’t know where to turn for help, when suddenly, Ted breaks in, announcing that Carolyn just gave birth to twins. With that, Wayne now knows where to get help and tells Marge to head home, to not raise suspicion with Bill; he then grabs Ted and heads to the waiting room for expectant fathers. Once back at the Farrell residence, Bill figures out that Marge has finally found some help and the expedition is in danger. Sending a psychic SOS to the others in the ship, he leaves Marge to go and help his comrades. Rounding up the alien patrolmen, they head into the woods with Marge right behind them.

Well ahead of them, Dr. Wayne managed to round up a sizable armed posse and has reached the spot where Marge says the spaceship is hidden. Find it they do, and when the hatch opens and two glowing aliens emerge, armed with disintegrators, a man with a pair of German Shepherds leads the charge. A firefight erupts but the human’s bullets have no effect, and while one of the aliens blasts a human into oblivion, the dogs attack the other one. Savaging it, the alien screams as the dogs tear through the exposed arteries causing it to quickly bleed to death. (That one was for Sparky, who died in the basement!) The second alien disintegrates one dog, not realizing that the other canine was getting the drop on him. And Fido makes quick work of him, too, by biting the large arteries in two. (That was for Mittens, the cat who died in the alley!)

Both alien bodies quickly dissolve (-- rather messily), and the Earthmen cautiously make their way toward the opened saucer. (You’d think they’d've shut the door. I guess the aliens were born in a barn. Go figure.) Inside, they find several humans suspended in some kind of force field. (Including Bill, Sam, and all the policemen.) Dr. Wayne isn’t sure what to make of the alien technology but concludes that they have no choice and starts pulling the plugs on the machines (-- crossing his fingers and hoping he doesn’t kill anybody.) Outside, as Bill and the patrolmen run toward the ship, one of the cops screams as his Earth counterpart is unplugged; the alien then falls and violently dissolves into a puddle translucent goo, leaving the other two press on alone.

Back at the ship, when Chief Collins is unplugged, the alien Collins radios the fleet and reports that all is lost. Before he collapses, he orders them to destroy the scout ship and abort the mission, and then promptly disintegrates (-- in several disgusting blorps). As the rescuers start moving the recovered humans outside the ship, about a dozen in all, Dr. Wayne keeps freeing the others still trapped inside. Unplugging the second patrolmen, his alien double screams in agony. Putting him out of his misery, Bill stops and disintegrates him before he can dissolve. This allows Marge to catch up, giving Bill a chance to plead his case to her one last time. In the end, he wishes Marge had never found out, and when the real Bill is unplugged, the alien Bill tells Marge to get away. And as he writhes in agony, she does looks away (-- but we, being the Sick-Os that we are, morbidly watch --) as alien Bill spreads out all over the ground. (Blorp-blorp-blorp...)

Bill was the last one pulled out, and since the space ship is making a funny noise, that's getting louder by the second, they evacuate the area. Once everyone is clear, the ship explodes. Marge and Bill are reunited, and it appears that they’ll live happily ever after because we pan back to outer-space and see the Andromedan fleet pulling away from the Earth and move on.

The End

I Married A Monster From Outer Space is a serious sci-fi film about some serious ideas that has been largely ignored due to it’s dubious title. The movie was mostly forgotten, except for its title, and ignored by sci-fi buffs because of it, and only recently has the film gained a growing cult status among sci-fi nutcases like myself. The film does have a serious overtone but there are enough shock moments, mass disintegrations, and gooey alien deaths to keep the kids happy.

I mentioned this earlier in my review of The Monolith Monsters that the '50s churned out some rather excellent and intelligent science fiction films. Eventually, though, they changed demographics and fell into formula aimed at teenagers that was more concerned with giant bugs, irradiated lizards, and bubble-headed alien invaders. (I enjoy both genres, with a slight nod to the hair-brained sci-fi.) Coming out several years after the focus shifted, I Married A Monster... played on a double bill with The Blob of all things and rounds out an interesting invasion trilogy with Invaders From Mars and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. All deal with the same idea of aliens coming to Earth and assimilating their way to conquest; Invaders giving us the kids view, Snatchers the male, and Married the female. An argument could also be made that we get the invaders POV, too, as a good portion of the film is dedicated to alien Bill and the alien's unfolding plans.

A secret invasion, a growing conspiracy, and rising paranoia of not knowing who to trust means that yes, the film does follow the same Red Scare plot as most films of the '50s. (Them commies were everywhere, man.) Red scare or not, I think the films main thrust is an over all fear of commitment -- not communism, and an al-encompassing aversion to marriage. Much venom is spouted in the film by the bachelors against marriage -- one man says he’d rather commit suicide, and general bitching by those that have already taken the matrimonial plunge. And I think Freud would have a field day if he ever got screenwriter Louis Vettes on the couch. Is Vettes saying marriage equals communism? Or is the film just a plain warning to men in general to stay single? It sure seems like the ladder to me. If you get married, according to Vettes, you become a soulless automaton. Wow. While watching the film for the umpteenth time, now, I kept thinking of an article I read about Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space, where the author contested that Wood was hiding some kind of political subversion underneath all that ineptitude. (The ineptitude, he alleges, was on purpose.) Is Vettes trying to hide his mistrust of women in the guise of alien invaders? Or -- glancing at the clock that reads 4:42am -- do I really need to go to bed? I also wonder if all the sexual innuendo and implied s-e-x between Marge and alien Bill was allowed by the censors only because Bill was an alien? 

Paging Dr. Freud. Dr. Sigmund Freud. You're wanted in the Mixed-Metaphor Room. Stat!

Gene Fowler, the film's director, started his career as an editor for Fritz Lang and his mentor's influence can be seen here -- and also in his earlier work on I Was A Teenage Werewolf. The film has a cool, noirish look about it. I mean, just look at all the scenes where Bill is lurking in the shadows, spying on Marge, who is always brightly lit, that are extremely effective. (See Illustration above.) Fowler makes excellent use of shadows and lighting (-- and lack thereof), and it always seems to be raining or on the verge of a thunderstorm, which produces the film’s biggest shock moments and adds strange shadows all over the place.

As for the cast, the stone-faced Tom Tryon was born to play the assimilated Bill, and Gloria Talbott brings a certain grit and realness to Marge. Ms. Talbott is striking in her appearance but doesn’t have that cover girl look. The everyman appearance of both actors works to the film’s betterment.

Now, the film barely has time to test the waters as to whether alien Bill has fully succumbed to Ro-Man’s Syndrome. And by the time he mentions that he’s learning about what we hu-mans call love, the cavalry storms the ship. But I wonder sometimes if the film were scripted by, say, Rod Serling, or William Gaines, that we’d have an epilogue, perhaps one year later, where we find out that Bill is an abusive, raging alcoholic and Marge was really better off with the alien Bill.

Aside from all the potshots I’ve taken at this film (-- real and imagined), I really do enjoy I Married A Monster From Outer Space. It’s a solid sci-fi potboiler that delivers the goods on all fronts, so track down a copy and enjoy.

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) Paramount Pictures / P: Gene Fowler Jr. / D: Gene Fowler Jr. / W: Louis Vittes / C: Haskell Boggs / E: George Tomasini / S: Tom Tryon, Gloria Talbott, Peter Baldwin, John Eldredge, Ty Hardin
Originally Posted: 10/21/01 :: Rehashed: 04/24/09

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.

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