I Married a Monster from Outer Space is a 1958 science fiction horror feature film, produced and directed by Gene Fowler Jr. (The Astral Factor; I Was a Teenage Werewolf) from a screenplay by Louis Vittes (The Eyes of Annie Jones; Monster from Green Hell). The Paramount movie stars Tom Tryon, Gloria Talbott, Chuck Wassil and Maxie Rosenbloom.
Newly-married Marge Farrell who finds her husband Bill strangely transformed soon after her marriage: He is losing his affection for his wife and other living beings and drops various earlier habits. Soon she finds out that Bill is not the only man in town changing into a completely different person.
Young newlywed Marge Farrell notices her new husband Bill is acting strangely. He doesn’t show any affection towards her or anything else, including his pet dogs, which he used to love. Marge is also concerned that she cannot seem to get pregnant.
She then notices that other husbands in her social circle are all acting the same way. One night she follows Bill while he goes for a walk. She discovers that he is not the man she knew but an alien impostor: An extraterrestrial life-form leaves his body and enters a hidden spaceship…
I imagine that most people’s natural instinct with a film like this is to make fun of the title and just go on from there but actually, I Married a Monster from Outer Space is an intelligent and well-made sci-fi movie. Gloria Talbott does a great job in the lead role and Tom Tryon’s rather stiff screen presence is perfectly suited for the role of Alien-Bill. Gene Fowler, Jr. directs the film as if it were a film noir where the usual gangsters and bank robbers have been replaced by humanoid aliens who don’t like dogs.
Since this movie is from 1958, there’s all sorts of subtext creeping around. The most obvious, of course, is that America is being invaded from within. You don’t think your husband could be an alien? Well, Alger Hiss’s mother probably didn’t think her son was a communist spy! You think it’s a silly idea that normal seeming humans would be working to conquer the world? Have you not heard of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg? When Bill and the other men turn cold and impersonal, it’s easy to see that they’ve embraced an ideology opposed to individual freedom and we all know what that means.
However, for me, this film works because it strikes at a very primal fear. How well do you really know the people who you love? Is he always going to be as perfect as he seems when you first start going out or is he going to totally change once he’s sure that you’re not going to leave him? Like many women who have tried to escape from abusive boyfriends and spouses, Marge discovers that no one believes her. She lives in a world controlled by men and all of the men have been taken over by the same thing that’s taken over Bill. Even if you’ve never married a monster from outer space, you know what Marge is going through.
So, don’t dismiss this film because of the melodramatic title. I Married a Monster from Outer Space is an intelligent sci-fi horror film, one that’s still very relevant today.
” …Talbott is genuinely appealing in these sorts of films, while Tyron is as wooden as his alien persona should be. The intergalactic creatures are pretty frightening, with extended arms, fish-like claws and mutated faces that sport trunk-like breathing apparatuses–some if which are ripped open by angry German Shepherds, allowing the ooze to flow in some of the more creepier scenes.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In
“Political implications, as well as feminist ones, can be read into the film, particularly as the title is similar to the earlier I Married a Communist, but the film succeeds purely on the level of a creepy sf/horror film with the emphasis on horror rather than sf.” John Brosnan, Future Tense: The Cinema of Science Fiction, St. Martin’s Press, 1978
“This generally well-acted and staged Science Fiction thriller, though novelettish in its personal story, has an intriguing situation and some effective, if rather sparse, trick camerawork.” Monthly Film Bulletin, 1958
“One of the most enjoyable titles in the genre. The film itself is well acted and directed, although the monster itself is more risible than credible.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982
“Fowler’s direction, while sometimes slow, latches onto mounting suspense as action moves to climax. He gets the benefit of outstanding special photographic effects from John P. Fulton, which aid in maintaining interest.” Variety, 1958
Cast and characters:
- Tom Tryon … Bill Farrell
- Gloria Talbott … Marge Bradley Farrell – The Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
- Peter Baldwin … Officer Frank Swanson
- Robert Ivers … Harry Phillips
- Chuck Wassil … Ted Hanks
- Ty Hardin [credited as Ty Hungerford] … Mac Brody
- Ken Lynch … Dr. Wayne
- John Eldredge … Police Captain H.B. Collins
- Alan Dexter … Sam Benson
- James Anderson … Weldon
- Jean Carson … Helen Alexander Benson
- Jack Orrison … Officer Schultz
- Steve London … Charles Mason
- Max “Slapsie Maxie” Rosenbloom … Max Grady, bartender
- Scherry Staiger … Blond in Bar
Production and release:
Principal photography for I Married a Monster from Outer Space began on April 21 and ended in early May 1958. The reported budget was $125,000.
On September 10, 1958, the film premiered in Los Angeles, followed by its US and Canadian theatrical release in October by Paramount as a double feature with The Blob.
In 2004 Paramount released a DVD of the film which, unlike the open matte, full frame (1.33:1) format of the 1998 VHS release, cropped the original 1:85:1 image to the modern 16:9 (1.78:1) TV aspect ratio. On September 2013, the film was released on DVD as part of the Warner Bros Archive Collection.
The film’s title inspired Mancunian poet John Cooper-Clarke’s 1977 poem of the same name.
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