Format: Internet video on Fire!
One of the great science fiction movies of all time is the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. When a simple little B-movie like that generates some talk, there are bound to be copycats and wannabees. That’s exactly the case with a movie like I Married a Monster from Outers Space. It was as if a group of executives sat around a table and asked, “What if we did Body Snatchers, but with sex?”
Oh, not sex for real. Not in Eisenhower’s America, anyway. Even the married couple implied in the title have separate beds. But calling it “Invasion of the Body Snatchers with sex” isn’t that far off. It’s clearly influenced by the previous film and to some extent by Jack Finney’s original novel. But this has some Mars Needs Women in it to make it different from its obvious inspiration. Oh, there’s going to be a form of body snatching here, but it’s all with the intent to make little alien babies.
That’s the general story here. The specifics of the story are that we’re going to be concerned with Marge Farrell, nee Bradley (Gloria Talbott), who gets married a few minutes after the start of the movie to Bill Farrell (Tom Tryon). What Marge doesn’t know is the night before the wedding, Bill is abducted by aliens and has been substituted by an alien inside his body. The wedding happens, a bit coldly, as does the honeymoon. We doodley-doop forward a year to Marge and Bill’s first anniversary, and Marge is mortified that they don’t have a child yet and she’s not even pregnant.
Of course, a great deal of this is because Bill has been uncharacteristically cold toward Marge for the last year. Because he’s a monster from outer space and doesn’t understand the concept of love. Looking to fix things, Marge buys him a puppy for their anniversary, but it seems like dogs can sense that Bill isn’t what he seems to be, and he kills the dog at his first opportunity.
Eventually, Marge catches wind of exactly what is happening. She tells the police and tries to call Washington D.C., but everyone she tells seems to be an alien as well and the outgoing phone lines don’t seem to work. Too much seems to be unexplained around town, or at least only explainable by the reality that aliens have invaded and are taking over the bodies and minds of the local men. But why the men? Could it be as simple as the fact that our alien creatures have an unholy desire to procreate with the fertile women of Earth?
Here's the thing—with a title like I Married a Monster from Outer Space, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to be mixed up in. The fact that this is actually a lot more serious than the frivolous title would indicate is a bit surprising. For all of the lascivious and prurient ideas the title evokes (one imagines the animated version of this being akin to hentai), the movie and the whole cast play things pretty straight.
The biggest hurdle this has to overcome, honestly, is just how much it really is peeking over the shoulder of Body Snatchers and cribbing notes from it. There are too many similarities to be a coincidence, and I seriously doubt anyone would try to claim anything but this being a direct riff on the same idea.
That said, it’s a pretty good riff on that idea. It has some trouble figuring out a good way to end, opting for something a lot happier than the downbeat ending of its progenitor and not quite finding a way to pull it off well. Not everything works in terms of the overall plot, so there is a bit of a cobbled-together feel to the proceedings. But even with those limitations, it manages to be pretty entertaining. We never get a very good look at the aliens themselves—budget constraints, one imagines—and the film works around this well. There’s a nice bit of suspense built up across the movie, and so while there aren’t any real surprises here, there is a good bit of tension.
Bluntly, this is the store-brand version of a name brand soda. It’s close, it has hints of the costlier brand, and for the people who aren’t too particular, it’s fine. For the snobs, though, it’s going to feel a little second-rate.
Why to watch I Married a Monster from Outer Space : Could you honestly resist this title?
Why not to watch: You’ve seen this story done better.