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Invasion of the Saucer-Men

1957

By Tom BakerPublished about a month ago 3 min read
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The curious thing about Invasion of the Saucer Men is that there are no actual flying saucers in it. Instead, the BEMs (Bug-Eyed Monsters, a coin termed by Stephen King in Danse Macabre, when he was discussing this very film) arrive in a crescent-shaped affair with fins or something on the side and flashing lights that employs a meter or two of fishing line as a propulsion system. At any rate, the Army turns out (all four of 'em) to shoot at it, which is highly advisable I might add, when trying to establish friendly contact with just-landed extraterrestrials. (Just ask Klaatu.)

A bunch of good-looking Baby Boom brats (hellions in suits with perfect hair, teeth, and exemplary grooming, Wally Cleaver), are out nekkin' on a lover's lane. Two guys that are living together (hint, hint) and both of whom are alcoholics, and one of which has a real fetching Butch Patrick Eddie Munster buzz cut, see a flying saucer. Or one of them.

The BEMs go out and about the studio which has been decorated to look like the woods, and one of them gets run down by a car, but has a claw with needle-like fingernails and lets the air out of the tires, while the two teens who are probably twenty-eight or twenty-nine, go looking for help and get busted by the police for killing one of the alcoholic dudes; and I'm all confused about the plot, but I don't guess it matters much.

Anyway, the monsters pulverize the bumper of the car to frame the kids who are now under arrest (are you getting all this?), and they are some grotesque, bulb-headed, big, bleeding-eyed alien baddies. But there is a cool alien hand that has been lopped off, and it has those same needle-like fingernails, too.

Now, the crazy thing about these flying saucer hep cats is that they inject pure grade-a wood alcohol into their victims veins (some aliens have acid blood, but we won't go into that because, you know, envy), and so they manage to kill a guy this way, and then Eddie Munster buzzcut, gets sloshed and rides off with a couple of girls who are alleged (by the filmmakers themselves) to be underage, which should interest not only the MIBs and Project Blue Book, but the local prosecutor; and at the end, I have no idea what happens except strong lights make bad bad alien go "blammo"!

It's a hootenanny and a humdinger, and a zany heapin' helpin' of 1950s shlock-o-rama, when toy saucers (but not here) were, "like all the good things comin' out of the sky," as the immortal Sheb Wooley laid on us with his heavy galactic trip, dad. (I got just one thing to say: PURPLE PEOPLE EATERS.)

Sure there are absurd moments here (I'll give you a hint: they start right after the openng credits), and those kids out on lovers lane neck the night away, and I started wondering at the halfway mark whether or not this was something Ed Wood directed under an alias. But, similarities to Plan Nine aside, there's no solid, concete evidence or whistleblower testimony that director Edward L. Cahn ever dressed in drag, angora or otherwise.

There's really not much to say here, and I have around seventy-five words to go. I can tell you that the severed, gnarled alien hand with the alcohol-dispensing needle fingers crawling up the heroine's neck was...kinda cool. Likewise a big, bloody, alien eye. The aliens, and you never get a clear look at them here, are big, big-headed, bug-eyed, extraterrestrials with mummified skin with eyeballs or something on their wrists.

Produced by James H. Nicholson. Starring (ahem): Stephen Terrell, Gloria Castillo, Raymond Hatton and Frank Gorshin. Frank, of course, went on to fame and fortune playing The Riddler on the old "Batman" TV series starring Adam West. Also, Frank took a turn with half of his face painted black, the other white, aboard the Enterprise. (The episode was called "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," and it aired January 10th, 1969.) Invasion was directed by Edward L. Cahn, as previously mentioned. Stephen King, besides denoting them as "Bug-Eyed Monsters" in the pages of Danse Macabre, also said they resembled, "incredibly old and gnarled living trees." Or something along those lines.

Based on a short story, "The Cosmic Frame,' by Paul W. Fairman, published in 1955.

Now I'm gonna go wrestle a razor-fingered alien alcohol dispenser for my breakfast. Flying flapjacks.

vintagescifi moviescience fictionmovie reviewextraterrestrial
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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knockabout a month ago

    Why do so many B movies (or below) from the 1950s have titles that sound like they were written by grade school children? (Or was it that grade school children when I was growing up wrote titles like that because they were the movies they had gotten to sea?) At any rate, sounds like a hoot 'n a holler for sometime when there's nothing else to do, lol.

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