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Paramount Studios presents
I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

"I'll say one thing for humans, they may not be very bright, and their bodies fall apart in a ridiculously short time, but they do manage to enjoy themselves."
- Sam Benson (Alan Dexter)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: September 12, 2004

Stars: Tom Tryon, Gloria Talbott, Peter Baldwin, Robert Ivers
Other Stars: Chuck Wassil, Valerie Allen, Ty Hungerford, Ken Lynch
Director: Gene Fowler Jr.

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence, violence to animals)
Run Time: 01h:17m:50s
Release Date: September 14, 2004
UPC: 097360580242
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B+B+B+ D-

DVD Review

There are few sci-fi titles that manage to inspire quite the laughs that this one does. Despite some ridiculous moments and some technical deficiencies, it does, however, have some significant merits.

Bill Farrell (Tom Tryon) is to be married to Marge Bradley (Gloria Talbott) the next day. But on the way home from his bachelor party, he runs into some creatures from outer space, which envelope him in a black inky cloud. When he shows up late the next morning for the wedding, he seems slightly disoriented and not himself. Of course, he isn't quite himself, as the title broadly hints. After being married for a year without children, Marge starts to get concerned. When she follows Bill out of the house one night, she is alarmed to discover the truth about her "husband." But will anyone believe her? And if they do, can she trust that they themselves are not aliens?

Tryon is pretty creepy-looking to begin with, so he makes for a good marital menace. Talbott plays Marge as being somewhat dense, but that's not entirely inconsistent with the 1950s mindset. The supporting cast is decent as well, especially Francine (Valerie Allen), a woman out for a good time who gets herself a bit more than she asked for.

The cast is let down somewhat by the special effects. John P. Fulton had been doing effects work back to the original Universal horrors and while his inky cloud is memorable and well-executed the shimmering of the aliens is not. The alien costumes, while striking designs with their cthulhoid tentacle-faces, are poorly executed as well, giving them a stocky look that seems incongruous. They're not helped by iffy day-for-night photography that ends up lighting them much more strongly than advisable. The script also tends to telegraph its punches too far ahead of time, so that what should be revelations are taken in stride. Some scene shifts are accomplished in a clever manner, going from the couple's honeymoon dinner scene to the skyline to their hotel room, in what appears to be an uninterrupted shot.

Where the picture is strongest is in its exploitation of 1950s paranoia. The sequence where Marge attempts to get help is tense, framed by montages of disturbing imagery as she first seeks help at a local tavern and then from the police. But no one seems to be interested in helping her, and the authorities actually discourage her from leaving town or attempting to call out. This short segment is quite nightmarish and gives a brisk flavor to the otherwise often-silly proceedings.

As befits a picture with this title, the institution of marriage is taken apart and put back together again in a somewhat cockeyed fashion. The aliens, seeking mates, readily adapt to the institution, whereas their male human counterparts did nothing but complain about it and try to avoid it. The women, on the other hand, seem obsessive about marriage, to the point of not looking too hard at who or what they are marrying. Childbearing is also a major theme, since the aliens are desperately seeking a method of adjusting chromosomes to permit successful breeding experiments. This warped version of domesticity is at heart a subversion of the Fifties mandate of woman in the home and raising the kids. With or without tentacles.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture is generally quite attractive. A few reels have significant specling. Detail and texture are quite acceptable. The black-and-white photography is a little soft.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono English track is reasonably clean. The jazz music in the tavern has a good presence, with acceptable bass for the period. The electronic sounds featured whenever the aliens are taking action sound first-rate on this disc.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no extras. Chaptering is a shade thin but acceptable in a pinch.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

This late-night and drive-in staple is a welcome addition to the sci-fi fan's library, but it's a shame there are no extras.

 


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