Sunday, March 12, 2023

Invasion of the Saucer Men a light, fun horror parody


Invasion of the Saucer Men, 1957, B&W, 69 minutes, American International Pictures. Directed by Edward L. Cahn. Starring Steve Terrell as Johnny Carter, Gloria Castillo as Joan Hayden, Frank Gorshin as Joe Gruen, Raymond Hatton as Farmer Larkin, Lyn Osborn as Artie Burns, Douglas Henderson as Lt. Wilkins, USAF, and Don Shelton as City Attorney Hayden. Schlock-Meter rating: 6 and 1/2 stars out of 10.

Invasion of the Saucer Men is a light, well-made horror parody about weird, large-headed men from outer space who inject humans and animals with alcohol until they are foiled by teens upset that their favorite make-out spot has been invaded by the creatures.

You have a lot of disbelieving adults, a couple of goofy salesmen attacked by the Saucer Men, two teens in love who no one will believe their tales of Saucer Men, and even some military officers trying to hush up the whole outer space attack! There’s even one more plot staple in this witty, but dated parody: The crusty old farmer who hates those kids necking on his property and blames them for his bull coming home drunk with “the blind staggers.”

It’s a great plot. The filmmakers give us a lot of action for the film’s compact 69 minutes. However, since this AIP drive-in staple doesn’t take it seriously, it loses a couple of stars. A great cult film needs to (most of the time) to take itself seriously. However, it’s still a lot of fun watching this 1950s ancestor of today’s “Scream” parodies.

Oh yes, teen queen Castillo, who is the city attorney’s (Shelton) daughter, has a car named “Elvis,” which is a nice touch for the times. Funny man Frank Gorshin plays a down-on-his-luck salesman, who besides having a pretty lame line when it comes to picking up a tired waitress, also is the only one unlucky enough to be killed by the Saucer Men. 

The film moves briskly along and actors deliver lines in a slightly goofy manner that holds with the light fare of the film. The Saucer Men are sufficiently bizarre and there’s a crawling hand that manages to create mischief. (I wonder if that alien “hand” served as inspiration for the malicious hand in Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead 2.”
-- Doug Gibson

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