And now it is time for the Movie Mondays to begin.
In these articles I will be delving into the b grade movie archives looking for hidden gems and moments of brilliance In a sea of barely adequate muck. I will be reviewing these films for how fun (or painful) they are, and also how useful they are to mine for games or writing purposes.
Ratings are in dice. From D4 to D20… Because that is how I roll! (I have lost my old icons so there won’t be any yet. Just text. I’ll fix that later if I feel like it.)
This week: I Married a Monster From Outer Space
Although the stand alone DVD seems to be out of print it is unlikely that you will have much difficulty finding a copy. In fact, if you are in the habit of buying those “20 sci-fi blockbusters” sets that can usually be found in the bargain bin by the register for $10 or less, you probably already own at least one copy of this film. I am pretty sure I have at least three.
I Married a Monster From Outer Space was not well received in 1958 and has been largely ignored ever since, which is a shame as it turns out to be a surprisingly good film.
The story features newly married Marge Farrell who, soon after her marriage, finds that her husband Bill is not at all himself. He is losing his affection for his wife and seems to have taken up cruelty to animals as a side hobby. Soon she finds out that Bill is not the only man in town who has changed and must figure out who she can trust to fight this menace from space.
A lurid title as well as its posters and other promotional materials point to this movie as the love child of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Mars Needs Women! And this is actually pretty much where the movie starts.
Surprisingly good cinematography and well above average special effects are balanced by solid B grade dialogue and one dimensional stereotypes… But about a third of the way to halfway through the movie it shifts a bit and becomes something a bit more than its parts would suggest.
Hidden inside of well worn tropes and off the shelf characters is an actual science fiction story and a take on the body snatchers concept with more bite than most.
I enjoyed this movie on a level I was not expecting to and while I would not recommend it as an entry into the classic sci-fi genre… I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Oh yeah, and the cars are gorgeous!
Characters: D6 : mostly cookie cutter, but fun for bit parts. The strong female lead for the time is remarkable, as is a particularly creepy policeman.
Soundtrack: D8 : Good solid classic sci-fi mood music. The soundtrack is available in a limited edition cd http://www.kritzerland.com/monster_atomic.htm and if anyone wants to send me a copy I will do a happy dance. I might film said happy dance.
Plot: D8 : a very well worn path, but with some twists to the story worth paying attention to.
Tech/magic/maguffins: D6 : Not much. Ray guns, a space ship you don’t see a lot of and a few bits of alien gear with antennas. It’s saving grace in this category is a somewhat creepy take on the tech behind body snatching.
Settings: D4 : A poorly defined small town USA with not a lot to look at or think about.
Suggested system: gurps atomic horror, call of Cthulhu, or Cthulhu dark.
Overall: D10 : A fun movie a bit of a step outside its place and time. Well worth watching.
Fiancé summary: “Fish egg goo is gross.”