DirectorGene Fowler Jr.
Release Date(s)1958 (May 27, 2020)
Studio(s)Paramount Pictures (Via Vision/Imprint Films)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: C+
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: C+
[Editor’s Note: This is an Australian import Blu-ray release but is coded for ALL REGIONS so it will work on US Blu-ray players.]
Inspired by other cold war paranoia-driven sci-fi films of the era (Invasion of the Body Snatchers being the most notable example), I Married a Monster from Outer Space explores the same territory, but with an obviously less sophisticated title. Released on the bottom half of a double bill with The Blob, it’s mostly been forgotten or ignored by modern audiences.
On the eve of his wedding, Bill (Tom Tryon) and his friends go out for a few drinks. On his way home, he is taken over by an alien entity. “Bill” manages to show up the next day for his wedding to Marge (Gloria Talbot), but in a decidedly odd state. During their first year of marriage, Marge begins to feel that Bill isn’t the man she fell in love with, particularly since they seem to be unable to have children. As Marge’s distrust of Bill grows, so does the alien race’s strength, taking over several key figures in the neighborhood. Soon Marge will have to face the truth that Bill is not her husband at all, but who she will turn to for help in a town secretly inhabited by beings from another planet?
Though the title of the film is laughable (a more appropriate title would have been something like The Enemy Within or Outsider from Beyond), it’s actually an intelligent and well-executed sci-fi drama with a touch of horror. Pushing the boundaries of sex in an era when that sort of thing wasn’t discussed in movies, it even brings up the idea of aliens procreating with human beings. In fact, Marge and Bill’s first night alone together fully insinuates what they’re about to do without actually saying it out loud, though it’s obvious.
The monsters themselves are tentacle-laden creatures with a glowing sheen, courtesy of post-optical effects. The way they ensnare their victims with a stream of smoke is disturbing, as is their disregard for life when, as we come to learn, they’re fighting to survive themselves. Two dogs are killed, one offscreen and the other on the wrong end of a disintegration ray, and anybody who gets in the way of their plans or who they deem unnecessary in carrying them out. Even when Marge confronts Bill about what she knows, nobody will make a move on her as she is the key to their survival. Add to that an alien who has inherited emotions through its human host and is attempting to understand them, even delivering a soliloquy in the film’s finale, and I Married a Monster from Outer Space winds up as a far more interesting and entertaining film than many of the low budget science fiction and horror films that it’s often unfairly lumped in with.
Via Vision’s Imprint line brings I Married a Monster from Outer Space to Blu-ray for the first time with an older HD transfer of the film. The main element utilized appears to be an interpositive, but certain sections of the film seem to have come from another source as the quality tends to dip. The main source is in good shape aside from scratches, speckling, very slight flicker, and mild instability. Grain levels are uneven but delineation is good most of the time. Blacks are deep, though crushed at times, and the presentation could use a brightness adjustment. It’s very watchable, but lacks the edge of a modern HD transfer with carefully attenuated grain.
The audio is presented in English 2.0 mono LPCM with optional subtitles in English SDH. It’s a predictably narrow presentation, though the score and sound effects tend to have the most muscle. Dialogue exchanges are clear and discernible. It’s also a clean track, free of any leftover hiss, crackle, distortion, or dropouts.
The following extras are also included:
- Audio Commentary with Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman
- Theatrical Trailer (SD – 1:52)
- Photo Gallery (HD – 2:15)
- Imprint Trailer (HD – 0:26)
The audio commentary with authors and film historians Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman is an active one as the two often struggle for speaking dominance, but in a respectful way. They watch the film while analyzing its finer points, comparing it to other films made during the same time period, but also highlighting the careers of the cast and crew. The animated photo gallery contains 27 images of promotional shots, on-set photography, posters, and lobby cards.
Though light on the extras, Imprint’s Blu-ray release of I Married a Monster from Outer Space is certain to please long-time fans of B movies from the 1950s, though some will discover it to be better than its title would suggest.
– Tim Salmons