I Married a Monster From Outer Space

I Married a Monster From Outer Space

Written by Louis Vittes
Directed by Gene Fowler Jr.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
All this fuss over Cabbage Patch Kids??

Holy cats, it’s Commander USA! And a chick who married a monster from outer space! Thus, this is a hybrid review because it is a Horror Host review! Not only are we watching I Married a Monster From Outer Space, a movie far far better than its ridiculous title suggests, but we’re watching it with the one and only Commander USA! Yes, that’s right, someone taped this episode of Commander USA’s Groovy Movies and now I possess a copy thanks to a world where people trade tapes of horror hosts like baseball cards. I do not own this film on the recent remastered DVD super mega collectors BluRay HD 3D edition, so don’t expect the film screencaps to look like DVD screenshots. In fact, don’t expect them to look pretty good at all. If you don’t like it, break out your own BluRay Commander USA rips. You can still tell what is going on with the screencaps and that is what counts.

In the grand tradition of TarsTarkas.NET over explaining everything, we’ll over-explain the film, but especially over-explain the Commander USA bumpers, because those are the flavor of this version. Before that, we’re going to do some analysis of I Married a Monster From Outer Space, because it just flows better that way, and lets the Commander USA parts stand on their own. Everyone should love Commander USA like he is their own father. In fact, this DNA test I have says Commander USA is your father. So you should pay attention to what goes on here.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Our skits have something to do with the film, huzzah!

Commander USA’s Groovy Movies premiered on January 5, 1985, and ran through 1989. Jim Hendricks is Commander USA (Soaring super hero! Legion of Decency – Retired) and the Commander lead us through a whole host of films over the years. Usually, wacky characters would wander in, tangentially related to the film. We also got regular features of Commander USA cooking some ridiculous snack or chatting with Lefty, who is a face drawn with cigar ash on Commander USA’s right hand. Commander USA would also read mail from his viewers, usually children, as well as crack jokes and complain about his ex-wife. It was all good fun. Commander USA details will be in BLUE FONT.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space is a thinking man’s scifi movie. Sure, there are monsters and possessions and people being blasted and people turning into goo, but it all means something. It is bigger than the box it is put in. The video box! Ha! Seriously, there are some underlying themes at work, some things that aren’t easily said in a straight-forward film, especially in the 1950s.

I’ll try to cover some of those themes. This is the type of film you could write a long dissertation about, and still not cover 1/10th of what was going on. Buried just beneath the surface in plain sight are so many things. Science Fiction has a long history of being used to make statements that go above the heads of whatever censors are causing problems at the time, both before this and afterwards (this concept was probably best used on The Twilight Zone and on Star Trek), and I Married a Monster From Outer Space is a wonderful addition to that history.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space is a gauntlet commentary of manhood. Rather, of those that don’t have the traditional stoic father manly 1950s manhood. There are issues of impotency and homosexuality, and a constant theme of marriage is death. The aliens are not just aliens from Earth, but aliens from that 1950s masculinity. The classic Father Knows Best archetypes, patriarchs of the family and emblems of unequaled respect. The father wears a shirt and tie at all hours, mom stays home, the children aren’t unruly, and no problems ever exist. But that reality was just as fictional in the 1950s as it is now.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
We come from a planet that’s evolved beyond sharp images!

Most of the male characters of I Married a Monster From Outer Space treat marriage as equal to death. This would later gain more traction with darker comedies like Married With Children, but in the 1950s it seemed more fresher, a staple not done to death. From the opening sequence in the bar where the impending marriage of Bill is treated as a death sentence from his fellow married buddies, there is little joy in the film at all with regards to spouses, especially by the characters who are replaced by aliens. It is especially interesting that one of the few instanced of actual happiness – the birth of a child – is what exposes the real men from the impostors.

The women are contrasted as more emotional, Marge so blinded by love for her man she doesn’t immediately recognize that he’s acting off. On the wedding day itself, when the alien kidnapped Bill is late to his own nuptials. Marge is there, panicking, enduring the snipes of her mother and the useless bumbling of Bill’s friends, who got far drunker than good ol’ Bill ever did but managed to show up hours before Bill does. Bill arrives as the imposter Bill, slightly off and seemingly confused. Marge doesn’t even notice, relieved that he showed, young love blinding her to the danger brewing.

The best descriptive scene in the film for the aliens is when the alien is gazing longingly at the child’s doll in the store window. He then murders a human woman who witnesses him. The longing to save their species, the loss of what they can’t have and what the humans they are among seemingly hold over their heads.

The aliens and their emotionless ways, their killing of those who get in their way, threaten them, or who are defenseless animals (who can detect the aliens and attack) contrasts with what happens to their human hosts. The aliens begin to display enhanced versions of some of the feelings of their human hosts. Thus they act even more bizarre, instead of stoic, they become almost emotionally disturbed. Enhanced versions of emotions, which makes them stand out more as they have no real experience in quelling them and covering as humans. Fake Bill develops feelings for Marge. Fake Sam becomes almost a hedonist. The aliens’ inability to procreate is their entire reason for coming to Earth, to save their species. But they’re losing their own alienness in order to save what they were. The aliens are becoming aliens to themselves, as human emotions and failed reproductive attempts swirl in their heads.

It doesn’t matter, because the Earthlings want their humans back, want their men back. Marge wants her husband back, the husband the aliens took from her, the married life with a husband and kids in the suburbs she was robbed of. She’s not about to put up with an alien doppelganger no matter what feelings he may or may not be developing for her. It’s not her Bill.

The humans counter by gathering up men who have produced children, the doctor realizing this is the key fact distinguishing friend from foe. Together, these dads assault the alien ship. The scenes where the real men take down the aliens is graphic and brutal. Real men who fathered babies take down the fake men who can’t reproduce, hack it as 1950s men, or even have sex properly. This version of masculinity destroying the unmasculine. Even more odd, the humans would have failed, except when dogs are released and the aliens can’t deal with them. Man’s best friend saves real men. Lassie’s greatest legacy. Soon the real men are rescued and restored, and will soon get back to making human babies with their wives, assuming none of those wives die young from constantly being inseminated by radiated alien sperm.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Help! The Last Dragon’s here, and he’s got the glow!

There is an extra layer of confusion and identity crisis, though that’s more on my end. Many of the characters look similar, complete to the same style of dress and hair color. Add that the film is black and white and it becomes hard to distinguish which bland side character is which at times. Luckily there is enough flavor

Director Gene Fowler Jr. also directed I Was a Teenage Werewolf, was an editor on the classic Skatetown, U.S.A. and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (which got him an Oscar nomination) among many other films. He won an Emmy for editing on The Blue Knight TV show, which I think was about Smurf Batman.

Marge Bradley Farrell (Gloria Talbott) – Just your normal 1950s housewife who discovers the man she married isn’t the man she thought she married, and thus the plot is set in motion. Gloria Talbott had a long career as an actress, but is probably best known now for being a scream queen with roles in films like The Leech Woman, The Cyclops, and Daughter of Dr. Jekyll.
Bill Farrell (Tom Tryon) – Man…or replaced Space Man? You make the call! Of course he’s replaced for most of the film, otherwise it wouldn’t live up to its title, the greatest sin of all… Tom Tryon later quit acting and became a novelist.
Sam Benson (Alan Dexter) – Bill’s friend who enjoys being replaced by an alien, having sex with his non-alien wife, falling off of boats, and drowning in pure oxygen.
Harry Phillips (Robert Ivers) – Bill’s friend who is replaced by aliens and somehow gets even more angry. He’s very very angry.
Ted Hanks (Chuck Wassil) – This stud is 100% human man, and we know that because he can have a baby, proof he had sex…with a girl! Take that, aliens who are metaphors for all sorts of things. Besides that, Ted is a blank slate of uninteresting.
Aliens (man in suit) – These dastardly aliens, coming here and sexing up our women with their alien alienness! It’s so alien! Go back to the Andromeda Constellation!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Wait a minute…Lefty is his right hand!

I Married a Monster From Outer Space

Commander USA comes in the video vault to introduce the film and who is starring in it. He turns on the radio for some mood music, and then in comes Sally McBride the famous wedding consultant. With a name like McBride, you have to be a wedding consultant. She brings him a present – a copy of her book The Easy But Elegant Wedding. Sally McBride tries to hawk the book on the show, and she brought it over because Commander USA is getting married! This is news to him! It turns out McBride thinks he’s marrying someone from outer space because she misheard the title of the film. (Commander USA mentions he is dating a Plutonian woman at this time, FYI.)

Commander USA shows her clips from the upcoming movie, and also mentions his first wife during the scenes… McBride then tries to pimp her first wedding guide, Just Because He Says I Do Doesn’t Mean He Will. Yes, there will be more books. But it is movie time, so let’s get it started!

Bill Farrell is out with the boys getting hammered because he’s getting married tomorrow. As the movie progresses, we see it has a very odd position on marriage – almost every male character treats it like it is death. In fact, the gang is getting so drunk they don’t even bother to check out the profession female bar patrons (aka 1950s movie identification for hookers) that are sitting at the bar. Bill staggers off to drive home (no one tell MADD!) but on the way he runs over a body in the road. A body that isn’t there when he stops to look at it. Suddenly….glowing Man-Thing Attack! Bad Man-Thing! Man-Thing glows all over Bill Farrell and then absorbs his body in some smoke.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
We demand more Twilight Zone reruns!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Commander USA: Subway Flasher

The next morning Bill is late for the wedding! Marge is worried and scolds Bill’s buddies until Bill finally shows up. The wedding goes off without a hitch (except the fact he’s a Monster From Outer Space) and Bill and Marge drive off, Bill not using the lights on the car despite it being nighttime. He then yells at his wife when she points out this fact. Ah, wedded bliss! They make it to the honeymoon hotel and Bill leaves her in the car, and shortly after she wants him to get her plowed with liquor. Wow. This movie makes getting married in the 1950s look as tempting as some potato salad that’s been sitting out all day in the sun. Some lightning later shows Bill’s alien face beneath his real face, luckily Marge doesn’t notice. Now it is time for wedding night bliss, or at least as much as can be shown in 1958, which is none.

Sorry, pervs!

It’s now a year later, his wife doesn’t think he’s the man she fell in love with, and Bill’s identical buddies (who also both look like Dean Martin) complain that Bill doesn’t spend time getting drunk with them, either. The only way I can tell these guys apart is one is drunker than the other. One of the dudes who is named Sam Benson gets alien smoke absorbed as he staggers home from the bar. So we got an alien who likes to eat drunk people. Nice.

Commander USA talks about the handwriting of Marge and how his handwriting is terrible, and that he refuses to pay a handwriting expert $23 to get it analyzed. Letter reading time! Holly Fisher from Washington sends a child drawing and says Commander USA should make a movie himself. oh, and write commander USA! I’m sure he’ll totally write back despite this show being off the air for years.

After the commercials Commander USA goes to the doctor, who tells him that he has no spine! Now back to the flick!

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Scare-Glow attacks!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Hey, I got this flag poster free when I ordered an issue of Hot Dog!

Marge is upset she hasn’t been pregnant after a year and is at the doctor, who says there is nothing wrong with her and to bring Bill in. Probably to explain to Bill how this whole sex thing works. Now, this is the 1950s, and all women did back then was get married and pregnant, or so movies and TV shows of the time tell me. Good thing there wasn’t committees across the country setting up fantasy “standards of decency” or “Codes made out of plural hay” that forced the hands of studios.

Helen puts off talking to Bill, because husbands and wives just don’t talk about sex, and instead gets them a dog as an anniversary present. The dog takes an instant dislike to Bill, to the point where they have to keep it in the basement. As we will see later, all animals hate Monsters From Outer Space and react to them like dogs react to Terminators in The Terminator. Bill eventually kills the dog and blames it on the dog strangling himself on its leash. Happy anniversary! Dog murder is enough to get Marge to finally talk to Bill about going to the doctor, something Bill says he’ll do but doesn’t do.

The Monster-From-Outer-Spacified Sam Benson will be marrying his girl Helen, who is the first blonde person to show up in the film. I am shocked, shocked I tell you that I will be able to distinguish this character from the others, which would probably come in handy if she did much in the film, which she doesn’t. Sam stops by the house to chat with Bill about Monster From Outer Space stuff, though Bill takes a bit to to catch on that Sam is also Monster-From-Outer-Spacified.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
We Wuv Aliens!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
The aliens have come to win our dog dancing competitions!

Commander USA and Lefty – a face drawn with cigar ash on Commander’s palm – lead us into the commercial break.

When we return from commercials and it is snack time! Commander USA teaches us how to make the Groovy Man Head Cheese Milkshake! You need a blender, milk, groovyman ice cream in a can, chocolate syrup, mix, then add head cheese and some sugar. Yummy. Make one right now!

Bill takes to sneaking off at night because he needs to get his human suit refueled or something. Marge spots him leaving and follows, as Bill kills pets left and right on his way to the alien ship, which is invisible. Though Bill does leave his human suit outside the ship, and when Marge goes up to it to check it out, it just falls over backward and has bugs walk over it, freaking Marge out. Marge runs and falls, as all women fall when they run in movies.

Commander USA worries about Marge’s health with all of her running through the woods at night with an open coat an relates a story of his youth when he went to school while sick and sneezed himself into the coat closet. Yet the story sounds sort of like he was visiting a strip joint and disgusting it as a story about school…

After the commercials, some lady runs in screaming for help, then runs out after giving a sarcastic comment to Commander USA. Commander USA makes a reference to wanting to get with that, and the movie continues.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Once we’re not replaced by aliens with actual problems, life will be fake 1950s perfect!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Picture-in-picture: The Early Years!

Marge manages to make it back to town and heads to the bar, but she gets nothing except sarcastic comments. Marge’s godfather is the police chief Collins, she sees him at the middle of the night. Despite being her godfather, he calls her Mrs. Farrell at times, and Marge at others. Are you suspicious yet? Chief Collins sends her home, otherwise Bill will be suspicious and “they” will be warned. Oh, and Chief Collins is an alien as are the rest of the cops in town. See, told you about being suspicious.

Commander USA talks about the stair railings in the house while Sally McBride hawks her book Raising Children for Fun and Profit.

Back from commercials Commander USA is sentencing a guy for crimes while being a judge. I guess you gotta have a side job when you run a video vault.

It is the wedding rehearsal for Helen and Sam, and Marge tries to tell Helen that something is up. But she never bothers to actually say what is wrong before Helen is called back. Bill continues to act creepy, really creepy because he doesn’t drink!! OMG!! Drink alcohol 24/7 or you are an alien slime monster! Bill tries to tell Marge about how he is all sentimental now about marriage and stuff, but it comes out hollows and Marge continues to be distant as she is aware he is an alien slime monster.

Outside, it looks like Marge did pick up something besides sarcasm at the local bar, she got a stalker! He’s creeping around the house, so Bill uses his alien powers to call the alien cops over, who arrest the guy for creeping without a license. The creeper admits he’s hanging outside the house in case she runs off again so he can score, thus making his extra pervy. No wonder the women in this town are so desperate to get married, they all got creepers hanging out outside their house! The creeper tries to shoot the aliens cops to no effect, so the alien cops waste him as he is useless.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
When you’re an alien Jet, you’re an alien Jet all the way…
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
If all these books were real, I would spend hundreds of $$$ tracking them down!

Commander USA jokes about Bill being in the doghouse, while after the break he discusses the upcoming picnic scenes while not noticing the woman dancing behind him. I guess that happens every day if you are Commander USA.

Bill and his two alien buddies hang out at the bar and don’t drink their drinks, ticking off the bartender. The Monsters From Outer Space discuss Monster From Outer Space matters and how soon their scientists will figure out how to knock up the human women with alien babies. The bartender gets so annoyed at their not drinking of his drinks that he punches Bill repeatedly to no effect as a woman of loose morals watches on and smiles. We’ll call her Bombshell McGee for lack of a real name. Outside, she tries to hit on an alien who is obsessed with dolls (basically longing for the babies they can’t have…see…this movie is smart!) So the alien blasts her and disintegrates her! Take that, Bombshell McGee! And thanks for showing how a movie can be smart and still have issues with women!

As an aside, the bartender is played by a guy named Max “Slapsie Maxie” Rosenbloom. He was a former boxer, even being the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1932 until 1934. He was called “Slapsie Maxie” because of his open gloved style of boxing.

At the picnic where everyone in town is, Sam the alien falls into the water. When Dr. Wayne the local gynecologist comes by to help and gives Sam oxygen, Sam dies. From the oxygen! Because aliens breathe non-oxygen. Why is the local gynecologist also working for the EMT paramedics? This must be a small town, where the doctor figured out the best scam was to be a gynecologist. Too bad he didn’t bone up on Monster From Outer Space studies.

Bumper – Commander USA gives oxygen to a blowup doll. Yeah.

After the break, Commander USA gives the recipe for Pork Tartar, which allows him to grind some meat and then shape it into any shape he wants. At the end, you dump an egg in the center, because the goal is to instantly clog every artery in your body at the same time.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
The best drinks are made when you blend random meat
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
No one knows what is going on in this skit, not even the people who wrote it!

New widow Helen is staying with Marge and Bill, even though that goes nowhere and doesn’t even need to be mentioned. Marge gets blown off by the police chief again, and she can’t call Washington to warn them because the operator says all lines are busy. Marge tries Western Union but the guy just rips up her telegram. Nowadays Western Union is just used by internet scammers to commit wire fraud. Remember the good old days when they were an actual company you depended on for telegrams? Me neither, because I am not old.

Marge she tries to leave town but the road is blocked. She’s either trapped in a town run by aliens or trapped in a TV show town like on The Truman Show. The lesson is to never live in a town with only one road out. Marge confronts her hubby that night about his Monster From Outer Spaceness. He admits they come from a planet in the Andromeda Constellation. A planet without basic astronomy, apparently. The Monsters From Outer Space built ships to escape their freaky sun as it was dying, but the sun’s rays killed all their women. It seems all the Female Monsters From Outer Space were beach nuts who kept getting too much fun in the sun.

Monsters From Outer Space have no love, they only get together for breeding purposes. Bill says he is learning what love is, and soon the Earth women will be knocked up with alien babies.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Why did I ever agree to go on House Hunters with an alien husband???
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
The twist at the end is she marries a monster, but he’s only from the upper atmosphere and not true outer space.

In this bumper Sally McBride pimps her Homemaking Guide book.

Marge then goes to chat with the gynecologist Dr. Wayne. Dr. Wayne figures out that the only way to find human men are to find fathers who have knocked up their wives! Including Ted, the guy in Bill’s group who hasn’t been taken over by aliens! At last I know the name of Ted, a guy I don’t remember that much because he was boring. He even has a boring name. Marge goes home for more awkward conversations with her alien husband, while a group of men wander around the park looking for aliens. You have to think that drunken groups of dudes looking for aliens happened all the time in the 1950s. After all, it is not like anyone was having sex, which was invented by hippies in the 1960s. The humans stumble across the alien vessel and attack, the aliens calling all the Monster-From-Outer-Spaced guys in town to hurry back.

Sally McBride pimps her Guide to Competent Carpetry book. McBride has more books than Barnes & Nobles. After the break, even with her mouth taped shut Sally still tries to pimp her book

At the alien craft, two aliens pop out of the ship and are shot at, but bullets just do nothing. But one guy brought two German shepherds, one of which attacks an alien by biting it’s brain tube. This kills the alien, and then both alien and the dog are shot by the other alien – who is then killed by dog #2. Man’s best friend…too bad there isn’t a Monster From Outer Space’s best friend. The dead alien fades away and its gun explodes. Self-cleaning Monsters From Outer Space!

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
The fun never starts with the Andromeda Crew!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
I’ll teach them to have fun…if it’s the last thing I do!

Inside the alien ship they find the taken over humans are wired into a control panel. They start yanking out wires and the corresponding alien-possessed humans turn into goo when their human is yanked out of the machine. The Chief manages to report in to base that everything failed before he turns into goo in an awesome effect. But I just love it when people turn into goo. Bill the alien tells Marge that the humans won and he knew nothing of love until Earth then he dies as well, Marge sort of feeling pity but not really, while Alien Bill tries to hide his gooification from her eyes to protect her.

Marge finds human Bill and he is alive. I guess I should be happy, but I don’t really know who human Bill is except that he is a drunk driver so I feel ambivalent, I guess. Then the spaceship explodes, because, they always explode. The final shot is like dozens of UFOs leaving earth in disgrace. What, were they taking over lots of tiny towns, then everyone gives up because they fail once? No wonder they’re dying out. The end!!!!

Sally McBride pimps her Sally McBride’s Housecleaning Guide.

Next week is Ship of Zombies! Except not here, as I don’t got that episode. Sorry, suckers! I do got other Commander USA episodes, so there will be something in the Commanding and USA variety coming soon.

“Keep your nose in the wind… and your tail to yourself…”

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
This mysterious masked figure has bad intentions towards me???
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
It WAS the last thing I did!

That’s enough monster marrying for now, but we didn’t even scratch the surface with the Cold War paranoia, the protofeminism, or the many minor characters who get offed by the alien police force. Seek this film out, and be amazed at what you see.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Okay, let’s trash this place!

Rated 8/10 (doomed doggy, yummy meat, the bug is all right, he’s a fighter!, the chief, dolls started this mess!, ants are yet another metaphor!, alien control device or Centipede rollerball?)

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I Married a Monster From Outer Space
OMG, my husband comes from an advance civilization and still can’t help with the dishes!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
This book would make $932,000 on Kickstarter
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
A character who exists only to hawk books.
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Don’t tell me what to do with my tail, Commander USA!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
More on-topic than it deserves!
I Married a Monster From Outer Space
VCRs 4 Life!

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