Thursday, 12 January 2017

B-Movie: I Married a Monster from Outer Space 1958

Fig 1:Theatrical Poster for "I Married a Monster from Outer Space"
I Married a Monster from Outer Space is a 1958 Sci-fi film, filmed in black and white and directed by Gene Fowler Jr. and published by Paramount Pictures.The plot centres around Marge and Bill, who at the beginning of the film are engaged to be married the following day. However on his way home from the pub, Bill almost runs over a body and upon getting out of the car is taken over by an alien entity that enters his body through black smoke. The impostor then takes his place, marrying Marge and living his life for over a year. Throughout this, Marge realises that there is something wrong about her husband, but that doubt comes into fruition due to his reactions to the puppy she bought for him on their anniversary, of which Bill was a massive dog lover, and how the impostor strangles the pup to death when it doesn't stop barking at him. When another one of the aliens rocks up in the body of one of Bill's friends, saying that he needs to report back to the Mothership, Marge follows him, discovering that her husband is actually an alien.

Fig 2: The Two Main Characters Marge and Bill

Being a B movie, I Married a Monster from Outer Space's budget seemed to be rather lackluster, the designs of the aliens, who were men in costumes not puppets or animatronics, while looking quite good have a certain cheapness to them, obvious eye holes hided by mesh and the fact that they wear trousers leads to a very bizarre and comical quality to them. The story is an elaborate one with male aliens taking over human male bodies for the sole reason to have sex with the females of the species comes across as a very basic plot device to give the exploit sexual themes.

However the acting, while sometimes silly in the dialogue and delivery, is generally quite good for the type of film it is, praise is especially due to Tom Tyron who plays Bill who can give a very good delivery of an alien trying to pass off as the human he's impersonating and fooling those around him, though he can be seen as 'wooden' at some points.

Fig 3: The facial splicing effect that overlays the alien face over the actors

The visual effects leave much to be desired, the smoke effects and the facial splicing onto the actors looks cheap and off. There were good ideas of how the director wanted the special effects to look but its sad that the end result with how the effects looked and the actors reactions to scenes like the smoke climbing up their bodies in such a jerky and bizarre way that there was a clear disconnect over the direction for the acting and the special effects for the smoke.

The script itself can be quite confusing and amateurish at times, the scene where Marge talks to a friend of hers who just got engaged and the friend laments on nearly having to become a business women instead of a house wife is written in such a way that the dialogue doesn't sound natural. Same with the line in the bar with two of Bill's friends where one of them is drunk and says to the bartender that he is a home wrecker, while the acting is mediocre the dialogue really hams up what the character is saying but because the writing for that dialogue isn't that good it becomes comical for being bad then being actually funny. Also the plot of the film, which is one of the more common plot line for a sci-fi B-movie isn't really that imaginative, the characters had potential to be better but because the writing could be such a joke at times, it doesn't give the actors time to shine for most of the scenes.

Fig 4: Alien emerging from the ship

The ending is so over the top that it can only be seen to be believed, it is so convoluted and full of plot holes, the most glaring one being why would Marge's doctor believe her without seeing evidence first. As well as the fact that apparently dogs just know to attack the aliens, which why it was a set up plot point earlier on with the puppy's weariness over alien Bill, it just happens with no build up leading to the climax feeling very rushed. The Alien Bill over acts his death to such a degree that its laughable and Marge's reaction to that scene is a mess as she goes from distressed to neutral too slightly pleased that Bill is alive. Overall it seems as tho the main focus that the director put towards the movie was in its first and second acts, the ending seemed rushed and just one giant cop out.

Fig 5: The ship explodes as the Aliens call off their invasion of Earth
In conclusion, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, is a charming little sci-fi film that ha some redeeming qualities for how limited it's budget was. While some aspects were interesting, such as the plot, while being somewhat generic, is stable and understandable despite its rushed ending, as well as the acting, although it really does depend on the scenes as it can bounce between being quite good or terrible. While the special effect looked cheap and some off the animations, the smoke and the way the aliens died in a bizarre frame by frame manner, is rather charming despite its silliness and as a little bit of potential if more work was done on it.

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