Sunday, 4 June 2017

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

A commendable sci-fi film with impressive camerawork, mature dialogue, effective special effects, and good acting - but one that deserves a much better title!

I Married a Monster from Outer Space is set in the fictional town of Norrisville, California where Bill Farrell is having his bachelor party on the eve of his marriage to Marge Bradley. After leaving the bachelor party, he is abducted by an alien that takes on his form. The alien “Bill” marries Marge the next day. It doesn’t take long, however, for Marge to feel that there is something different about Bill. After a year of marriage, Marge realises that Bill has become a completely different man!

How does Marge deal with this revelation?
What else is discovered about this impostor?
Who else has been affected?
What is the purpose of this strange alien invasion?

Directed by Gene Fowler Jr.
Produced by Gene Fowler Jr.
Written by Louis Vittes
Music by Daniele Amfitheatrof, Hugo Friedhofer, Leith Stevens, Franz Waxman, Victor Young
Cinematography: Haskell Boggs
Edited by George Tomasini
Production company: Paramount Pictures
Running time: 78 minutes
Budget: $125,000


Tom Tryon: Bill Farrell
Gloria Talbott: Marge Bradley Farrell
Peter Baldwin: Officer Hank Swanson
Robert Ivers: Harry Phillips
Chuck Wassil: Ted Hanks
Valerie Allen: Francine - Hooker
Ty Hardin: Mac Brody (as Ty Hungerford)
Ken Lynch: Dr. Wayne
John Eldredge: Police Capt. H.B. Collins
Alan Dexter : Sam Benson
James Anderson: Weldon
Jean Carson: Helen Rhodes
Jack Orrison: Officer Schultz
Steve London: Charles Mason
Maxie Rosenbloom: Max Grady (Bartender)


What It Means To Be A Man

Despite the corny-sounding title, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, the film has a lot more depth to it than its title might suggest. For one thing, it speaks volumes on what it means to be a “MAN” in the modern world.

At the time the film was made, there was a lot more certainty surrounding gender roles and expectations. It would have been expected that males would wind up being the bread-winner and head of the family while women would be expected to be largely subservient home-makers and mothers.

As far as conventional male and female relationships is concerned, I Married a Monster from Outer Space calls into question the then contemporary concept of maleness. It even continues to do so sixty years later when right now in the early 21st Century many males often find themselves grappling with trying to figure out what their role in society is supposed to be. This can be quite a daunting task particularly at a time of re-evaluation of gender roles; the push toward gender equality; the increasing feminisation of society and perceived social & political correctness in matters concerning expressions and manifestations of maleness.

Read on for more......

Spoilers follow below......

From the film’s opening title and credits, we are presented with a view of the Earth over a star-field background. We gradually zoom in on the Earth, before fading to a pleasant and tranquil scene of a park in the small town of Norrisville.

The impression we have is of something external coming IN to our world from elsewhere and encompassing the whole planet right down to your typical pleasant small-town America. This idea of something external to and influencing the individual is an important one when discussing what it means to be a man, for much of what is learned, whether good or bad, about being a male is derived at a very early age from outside modelling and other external influences which over time become internalised.

“Those guys aren’t even giving us a hard look!”

At a restaurant, we see Bill Ferrell at his bachelor party celebrating his last night as a single free man. His friends who include Sam Benson and Mac Brody don’t appear to be too thrilled about the idea of marriage and one of them in reference to Bill declares, “It’s a shame it had to happen to him.” Instead of viewing matrimony as being akin to a death-sentence, Bill seems quite happy at the prospect of his own wedding the next day and leaves early in order to drop in to see his bride-to-be, Marge.

As Bill drives off to see Marge, he spots a body in the middle of the road and stops, believing he has hit someone. He then gets out of the car only to discover that there is nothing there. He mumbles to himself, "I didn't think I had that much to drink" when suddenly a mysterious glowing arm reaches out and touches his shoulder. Bill turns around and is confronted by the sight of a strange glowing humanoid alien. Bill then collapses to the ground and is enveloped in a dark, billowing cloud. When the cloud recedes, there is no trace of Bill to be seen.

The enthusiastic, positive and yet-to-be jaded young man we have briefly been introduced to has now been taken over and taken away by something possibly menacingly and dangerously alien…….

Who or what will stand in his place? 

Next morning in the wedding chapel. Marge’s mother, Mrs. Bradley enters the room humming the Wedding March which annoys her already agitated daughter. Marge is fretting over the fact that Bill has not arrived for the wedding. Bill eventually does arrive apparently unscathed from his “last free night” and apologizes for being late.

After the wedding ceremony, the couple leave the Wee Kirk Wedding Chapel. 

As Bill drives with his bride asleep on his shoulder next to him, they narrowly miss hitting another car on the road. The driver of the other car angrily yells out, “why don’t you turn your light on, you dummy?” These days that would all too often be a trigger for a bout of single-brained celled, testosterone and adrenalin-fuelled road rage! Bill admits that he "forgot" to turn on his headlights and aggressively snaps at Marge when she asks him about it. The signs of something being wrong are already beginning to emerge early in the relationship but are too easily ignored. There’s probably an expectation that a man would likely react in such ways from time to time and it would be better if the woman would just bite her tongue and keep her mouth shut.

When the newlyweds arrive at their honeymoon hotel, Bill forgets to open the door of the car for his new wife. Marge reacts by telling Bill, "I know you've been absent-minded lately, but you can't have a honeymoon without a bride." An onlooker may well wonder at his lack of consideration and regard for his new wife. Sadly, these days of warped political correctness, he would be accused of being a sexist chauvinist pig for even daring to open a door for a lady! Strange days indeed!

Later at dinner, Marge natters away while Bill sits there silently staring at the reflection in a window of another couple actually being a couple. Suddenly Marge tells him, “I’m running out of small talk” to which he replies, “Why do we have to talk?” A disturbing development to find that a husband and wife have run out of meaningful things to say to one another so early in a relationship. These days we have a solution to that – the mobile phone! Strange days indeed!

As a harbinger of things to come, a storm begins to brew outside as the newly-weds prepare for bed. On the balcony outside the bedroom, Marge asks Bill to tell her he loves her. His response is somewhat unemotional as he awkwardly holds her. Marge, probably feeling bewildered and confused, tells her husband, “I’ve never been on a honeymoon before.” Bill simply replies, “Neither have I.”

As Marge goes inside, Bill stays outside to watch the storm. Suddenly a flash of lightning reveals his true form. Bill, is definitely not the man Marge knew him to be before their marriage. How often has this turned out to be the case for so many in real life!

"Bill isn't the man I fell in love with. He's almost a stranger."

It is one year later and Marge writes a letter to her mother in which she conveys her bewilderment and despondency that her husband Bill is cold and not acting toward her the way he did before they were married. However, she decides not to send the letter.

In the next scene, we find Sam and Ted Hanks in a bar discussing how they have not seen Bill Farrell for so long. Suddenly, Bill is spotted walking past the bar and one of the men observes cynically, “there goes a ruined man.” How hard it must be for some men to realize that life and times change and that eventually for most people there’s more to life outside the jaded contents of a shot glass.

An inebriated Sam tells his pal, “I’m worried about Caroline.” Ted asks him, “Who’s Caroline?” to which Sam replies, “Your wife.” Yes Siree Sam, what makes a man are the kind of priorities he sets for himself, his life and those closest to him!

As Sam leaves the bar he tells the bartender, Max Grady that he is a home-wrecker. No Sam, Max isn’t the one making choices for his male customers! Sam starts to stagger home, but begins to succumb to his excessive intake of alcohol and pops into an alley to chunder (non-aussies = to vomit, “puke” or “throw up”). Suddenly, he hears a strange noise and turns to investigate its source, only to fall backwards in horror before being enveloped in the same kind of black billowing cloud that swallowed Bill. The cloud soon disappears and, you guessed it, so does Sam.

"That doesn't look like me at all."

Later Marge meets with Dr. Wayne for a medical exam to discover why she hasn't been able to get pregnant. She is worried that she and Bill have been married a year now but still have no children. The doctor assures her that nothing's wrong with her and that “there is no reason why you and Bill can’t have a half dozen kids.” He also admits that it took five years for he and his wife to have their first child. As Marge begins to leave, Dr. Wayne asks, "Why don't you have Bill come in and see me."

For some couples these days, having children is not essential to having a meaningful marriage or partnership. I suspect that in the 1950s, parenthood would have been an expected essential fulfilling component for any marriage. It would have been more than likely that the woman would have been blamed for the failure to produce children even though the male (heaven forbid!) might have been shooting blanks!

As a way of compensating and filling the void in the relationship, Marge has stopped off at a pet store to buy a dog as a surprise present which she places in a covered cage.

When Marge gets home with the dog, the surprise is spoiled somewhat by the unexpected presence of Bill. She pulls the cover off the cage and the dog, “Junior” growls and snaps at Bill. Bill says to Marge, “maybe dogs don’t like me.” This comment strikes Marge as being odd and she reminds him he's had dogs all his life.

In a strikingly cruel scene, Bill goes into the basement later that evening. The dog has been placed there and reacts just as aggressively as before toward Bill. Bill considers pummelling the dog to death but instead reaches out with his hand to kill the dog. In response to the poor dog’s death-throes, Marge runs down into the basement. Bill tells Marge the puppy is dead and callously lies to her when he states almost dispassionately that the dog "must have strangled himself” because “his collar was too tight."

"I never know how you are going to react to anything anymore."

In the lounge room scene after the dog incident, the use of body language and tone of voice sums up the prevailing mood and tension surrounding the relationship between Marge and Bill. In fact, it is something we can all relate to and identify with. Bill and Marge begin to discuss the outcome of her visit to the doctor and about her desire to have children. Bill obviously isn’t keen to pursue this topic and they both wind up sitting on opposite ends of the sofa, with Bill engaged in an act of avoidance by pretending to be reading the newspaper. Marge is at a loss as to how to continue the conversation and it seems to her that it is as if Bill has a twin. She asks him if he will go to the doctor and he replies rather unconvincingly, “sure I will.” His true feelings of pent-up frustration are revealed by his act of crushing the cigarette lighter with his hand.

The above scene reminds us of the fact that it is women who are often the ones who feel more comfortable communicating their feelings and concerns, while men have been encouraged to be far more reticent about doing so. When faced with problems, it is felt that a man should simply “man-up” and suppress his feelings. While not advocating that men should turn into touchy-feely, Kumbaya-singing, snaggy craft beer and latte-sipping, avocado-munching, skinny-pants wearing, man-bunned manicured beardy-faced little bitches, it should be acknowledged that societal expectations of men as described above can lead to unhealthy mental states, aberrant behaviours and destructive relationships. A relationship cannot function effectively without true affection, communication and empathy between spouses / partners.

Alien Sam shows up at the house but Bill is not yet aware of his having been taken over. He soon learns the truth from Sam and Bill asks him,“Did you make any mistakes at first?” Bill tells him that at least humans, despite the bad design of their bodies and short life span, “do know how to enjoy themselves” and that despite not being able to drink alcohol they've,"improved the methane reservoirs in these bodies." Well, they’ve just ruined it for us males! No alcohol and interfering with our capacity for expelling copious quantities of methane gas from our bodies! Doesn’t leave us much!

Later that night, Bill sneaks out of the house and Marge still awake hears him leave. Feeling fretful and suspicious, she follows him out of the house dressed in only her nightgown and slippers.

Marge proceeds to follow Bill down the street until her attention is drawn by the sound of a screeching cat. Marge then continues past the terrible sight of a murdered cat, following Bill across park land and into the woods. Suddenly, she sees Bill standing motionless and is horrified to see a black vapor being emitted from his body which then resolves itself into a glowing alien. The alien being then enters a nearby concealed spaceship.

Marge runs up to Bill to get him to leave with her, but his unresponsive vessel of a body being devoid of any human life-force falls over onto the ground.

At her wits end, Marge runs back to town and drawn by some noise, enters the only place still open at two in the morning, the bar. She tells Max Grady the Bartender she just saw a monster. Sitting at the bar is Weldon who leers at her thinking she is drunk. He says to her, “could be you came to the right place, sister.” After Marge leaves in frustration, he comments to Max, "Funny thing. She didn't look like a lush." As if on cue, Francine, the local hooker sashays over and talks to Weldon, who shows no interest at all.

“I bet my pension on your sanity….. (but) that doesn’t mean I believe everything you told me…..Marge, you gotta trust me”

Marge manages to get two police officers to take her to Chief Collins who as he listens to her story appears to be sympathetic and considers her to be sane. However, he is sceptical about aliens invading the Earth and convinces Marge to go home and be assured that everything is fine. After Marge leaves Collins, he walks over to the window where a flash of lightning reveals his true inner self. It is that inner self that knows no social, economic or professional barrier. It can be present even within those we are taught to respect and look to for our protection and trust.

At home, Marge slowly enters the living room and is surprised by Bill who is there, in the dark. He turns the lamp on and in an unsettling moment, knowing full well where she's been, simply asks her if she's alright. Bill then accompanies Marge upstairs to bed. Notice that there is no real substantial menacing threat being posed to Marge. There is only the suggestion of an atmosphere of menace that is being conveyed. If anything, it seems as if the alien entity within Bill's body, while experiencing unfamiliar human emotions, is growing accustomed to his life as a human married to someone like Marge.

On the day of Sam and Helen's wedding, during the rehearsal, Marge draws Helen aside and says to her, “Helen, I’ve got to talk to you alone” and tries to convince her to postpone the wedding. She asks if she’s noticed Sam acting strange lately. But this only serves to upset Helen and she refuses the suggestion. As Helen leaves, a suspicious Bill enters and firmly ushers Marge away.

“I think I’m beginning to understand”


Back at home, we find Marge pacing around the living room and is looking for a lighter. Bill enters and offers Marge a drink but instead, seeking to provoke him, she asks him why he isn't drinking. Bill, however, says to her, “that wedding today, it meant something to me.” Bill acts like a man undergoing some kind of emotional epiphany but one that he will not be able to realize in real life. Marge avoids any kind of advance or physical contact with Bill and goes upstairs to bed, leaving behind an almost palpable sensation of sexual tension and frustration.

As Bill struggles to deal with the new emotions generated within him as a result of Marge’s rejection, he catches sight of a man wearing a dark shirt and a white tie loitering outside. He looks like some kind of a pimp or gangster or at least is dressed in attire that he thinks will impress. Oh yes, it’s our sleaze-bucket, Weldon from the bar!

Bill closes his eyes while his face reveals his alien form. He is communicating telepathically with the two alien-possessed cops.

The cops quickly arrive on the scene and begin to put our loitering friend in the cruiser. He informs them as to what he’s doing there and that he had previously tried to pick up Marge in the bar when she ran in asking for help. He also tells them that he was aware that she was unhappily married and had assumed she was a tramp seeing that she entered the bar alone, wearing only a nightgown. Hardly an unusual assumption since men often from conclusions about females based solely on superficialities like attire. By the same token, some women may form conclusions about what men are like, are after or want in a woman and conduct themselves  accordingly.

It turns out that our friend has been hanging around in the hope that Marge might require some of his much needed “consolation.” When the cops suddenly ask him if he’s got a permit for the gun he’s carrying, he pulls out his gat and shoves it into the cop's side. He's quickly worked out that these cops should not have been able to know he had a gun, and is beginning to believe in the veracity of Marge’s claims in the bar the other night.

Weldon’s gun proves to be useless against the aliens and they overpower him by knocking him out. After deciding that he’s of no use to them, they callously shoot him dead on the spot. 

Marge is awakened by the sound of gunfire. Bill then goes upstairs to assure her it was only a car backfiring. It is obvious what is going through Bill’s mind and emotions in the presence of Marge but he senses her feelings of repugnance and bitterly retreats to the guest room, stating before he leaves, “it’s a nice idea….making guests comfortable.” Notice that no real physical force is used on Marge despite Bill having such immense power at his disposal. However, what is just as frightening is the power he is able to exercise that is inherent in their relationship which makes his wife feel powerless and isolated.

The next scene shifts to the bar where we find Bill sitting at a table with Sam and Harry. Francine is also there and is quick off the mark as she slinks and up to the table and asks if anyone knows what time it is. The men take no notice of her though and are obviously not interested in her type of a woman.

Speaking of women, the alien men begin a discussion about the gender in question. One of them says that he finds human women to be disgusting, while Sam says that he likes them. Bill’s attitude is that no matter what they think of them, they have to live with them. Sam tells Harry that eventually their alien scientists will discover a way to “mutate human female chromosomes” so they will be able to have children with them. A bit like “Devil Girl from Mars” in reverse but with the added dimension of one gender trying to figure out its relationship with the opposite gender: sexual gratification & objectification as represented by Francine? Mating & reproduction as suggested by the alien’s purpose for being on Earth? Something more important and meaningful which Bill is beginning to gain a sense of from his being with Marge?

A crushing blow is given to Max the bartender’s ego and pride when he fails to pound Bill into pulp for ordering drinks and uncharacteristically not drinking any. Francine, full of admiration for Bill and his 'manly' mates, leaves the bar soon after the alien men do.

The next scene involves Francine outside of the bar in the street and is quite a freaky one. Once outside, Francine notices a man standing across the street wearing a hoodie-like outfit with the hood pulled up over his head. He has his back turned to her and is engaged in looking in a shop window. Francine of course decides to move in for the “kill” after a somewhat ironic moment when she stops to adjust her stockings outside a shop bearing a sign that reads: “Church Supplies.”

Jaws-like, Francine heads toward the mysterious figure and tries to engage in a conversation but he pays her no attention. In anger, Francine yells at him to look at her when she's talking to him. She is about to find out that with some men you don’t really know what you’re about to get and what they might be concealing. When the figure turns to her, she sees what is under the hood, causing her to scream and run away. The hooded figure casually pulls out a weapon and disintegrates Francine. In confirmation of what the figure is, we see its features clearly as it turns toward us, and then turns back to viewing the contents of the shop window: dolls and toy animals! A complete contrast to its wanton destruction of a human life.

“It was the oxygen that killed him.”

Note the distance between Bill and Marge at the back of the group.

We now move to a picnic in the park scene. Helen and Sam are out on the lake in a row boat when suddenly Sam falls overboard. Ted observes, "Oh, he can swim like a fish." But when it is noted that he is in trouble, Ted dives in to rescue Sam.

Back on shore, Doctor Wayne administers oxygen to Sam, but instead of reviving him, it causes his death. The doctor is at a loss to explain why, but Marge thinks she knows.

While Helen spends the night with the Farrells, Marge decides to go to see Capt. Collins, but he merely suggests that she is experiencing delusions. She then tries to call Washington, but the operator informs her that all the lines are busy. Marge next tries to send a telegram to the FBI via the Western Union office, but as she walks out of the office she notices the man behind the desk tearing her message up and discarding it.

Marge finally attempts to drive out of town but she is prevented from going any further by a road block ostensibly set up due to the road having been washed out. This is an obvious lie seeing there hasn’t been any rain for a long while.

"How about some light?"
"You don't need any."

With all avenues of communication and escape cut off, Marge is back at home sitting on the couch in the dark. She is probably feeling the same way as any woman would in such a dire situation, not being able to be believed or get their plight communicated to and understood by the rest of the world.

Marge finally confronts the alien imposter Bill and tells him point-blank, "I know you're not Bill. You're something that crept into Bill's body. Something that can't even breathe the same air we do." She also asks him, “Does frightening women make you proud?” Bill replies by saying, “we understand pride but we can’t afford it.”

Bill then informs Marge that he comes from a planet in the Andromeda system. Their sun became unstable and their women died as their sun’s rays became more intense, so they built a fleet of space ships to escape extinction. Their intention was to come to the earth to breed with our planet’s females and that back on his home planet the sexes came together “for breeding purposes only.”   

“I’m learning what love is.”

Such a rationale or imperative for union between the sexes is insufficient as far as this planet is concerned, which Bill is beginning to realize as he gradually succumbs to human emotions that are part and parcel of the real Bill’s existence.

Bill goes on to explain that eventually his people and the Earth-women will have children, which prompts Marge to ask, “What kind of children?" Bill replies, "Our kind."

This scene leaves Marge and us with the thought of what could be passed on to the next generation: an anathema to all that is good and positive in life for humanity. Such a generational spreading of inhuman thought and existence has to be stopped……but how?

Marge goes to Dr. Wayne to appeal for his help and reveals the truth to him. Fortunately, he believes Marge and informs her, “I know where to get our men – human men!” After Ted announces that his wife has delivered twins, Dr. Wayne decides to recruit such “men” who are waiting in the maternity ward.

Soon enough, a posse of men armed with guns arrive on the road to the field where the alien spaceship is situated. One man has also brought along his hunting dogs – a pair of ninja German shepherds!

While  back at his home, 
Bill calls Chief Collins to inquire about his wife and then goes to confront Marge in the bedroom, the posse advances toward the ship. Their presence is soon detected however by means of a scanning device.

Meanwhile, after effortlessly breaking down the door, Bill advances on Marge, grabs her and shakes her, demanding to know who she spoke to. Sensing the approaching danger to the ship, Bill then tells Marge, "So your friends are attacking our ship?"

The ship itself opens and a couple of glowing aliens emerge. Dr. Wayne and Mason open fire at the aliens, but straight after their bullets enter the alien bodies, the wounds instantly seal up. The posse is soon on the back foot and begin to retreat with some alacrity.

It is now time to release the ninja hounds! One of the dogs performs a stealthy belly crawl and then launches itself at one of the advancing aliens, managing to pull its breathing tube off. The creature bleeds profusely from the wound, and falls to the ground. The second ninja pooch attacks another one of the aliens, also killing it. One of dogs however, has been disintegrated during the course of the battle.

All trace of the aliens is gone with the rapid dissolving of their bodies and the destruction of their weapons via a small explosion.

The posse warily enter the ship where they find a line of human men hanging from wires above small machines with glowing lights. These are "real" humans, whereas the ones who have been replacing them seem to have been mere copies or facsimiles created by the aliens to serve as vessels for their alien forms. As Dr. Wayne theorizes: "Electrical impulses from the real human bodies must give the monsters form and shape, even memories."

Dr. Wayne sets about disconnecting the humans from the machines, resulting in more and more of the aliens being stopped in their tracks and dissolving into goo. It appears that if power is cut off to the "broadcasting circuits" on the machines that are hooked up to the real humans, then the facsimiles will die, thereby also killing the alien invaders. This development seems to have a rather made-up-as-you-go tacked-on feel to it!

"Earth mission has failed. They're alerted and dangerous. Suggest continuing on to another galaxy. Total personnel lost."

With the failure of the mission at hand, alien Capt. Collins’ final report just before his demise is a command to, "Destroy scout ship." 

“Bill” has managed to arrive on the scene after the destruction of his alien comrades. When Marge approaches him he tells her, "Your people have won. That makes you happy, doesn't it?" “Bill” meets the same fate as the other aliens after he has pointed out to Marge that he had “just begun to learn” about such important things as “love,” “happiness,” and human emotions.

The real human Bill calls out to Marge and they embrace. The ship then explodes, while we finally close with a scene of the Earth in space and a fleet of flying saucers traveling away from it.

Before he died, the alien Bill had come to learn what it is to be a MAN and Marge has managed to get back the MAN she knew and loved.


Hey man!
How’d ya’ get to be the way you are?
By means of mean genes that scar and mar?
By watching what dad did or didn’t do?
Or by copying fools without a clue?

Hey man!
You struggle finding your place these days,
So you search around for means and ways
To get yourself some power and control
So in your self you feel strong and whole.

Hey man!
Don’t ya’ know that times have changed?
Roles have been shuffled and rearranged,
It’s a time of minding “P’s” and “Q’s”
Of tip-toeing round eggshells with P.C. shoes!

Hey man!
A shame it had to happen to a man like you:
Once a lover, now jaded through and through,
Once kind and considerate, now uncaring,
Once with open heart and mind, now silently brooding.

Hey man!
You aren’t the man she fell in love with at first;
You’re almost a stranger, a ruined man with a thirst
For making selfish choices and filling your life’s void
With anger, blame and violence but of love devoid.

Hey man!
It’s no use sitting on opposite sides of a sofa
Silently pretending to read a newspaper
In your shared room of suburban avoidance,
Furnished with a cocktail of menace and poison.

Hey man!
She’s more than just a prisoner of your mood
To be whittled into shape like a piece of wood,
An object with shape but without expression,
A thing with form cut off from affection.

Hey man!
It’s time you began to learn and understand:
She’ll always stand with you to help you withstand
The alien creature that invaded your soul
And help you find the once loving man it stole.

Hey Man!
It’s up to YOU!

Some Points of Interest

I Married a Monster from Outer Space was intended to be the ‘A’ film in a double feature with The Blob (1958). It was then shifted to the bottom of the playbill due to audience preference for a full-colour feature film over the more modest black and white offering.

This thoughtful well-made science fiction movie has a somewhat glaringly misleading title when one takes into account its quality story which serves as an allegory about love, relationships and redemption within the context of a Cold War style alien invasion plotline.

The alien creatures are not your usual evil stereotypical and one-dimensional characters. As the film progresses, we tend to view them with both empathy and revulsion. They seem to be here with evil intent but are also desperate enough to do what it takes to survive. At the end of the film, you can’t help but feel sorry for the impostor Bill as he is beginning to experience emotions that he never had.

The special effects were quite good for the time: effects artist John P.Fulton managed to create very creepy glowing aliens and effective ray gun effects. Fulton’s career extended back to the era of silent cinema.

Tom Tryon as Bill Farrell gave a good performance when attempting to convey the emotional and mental state and development of his character while maintaining an unemotional almost dead-pan facial mask. Co-star Gloria Talbott as Marge Farrell effectively conveyed the full range of emotions being experienced by her character as she had to deal with the realization of what was happening to her husband and their marriage.

©Chris Christopoulos 2017