Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957)Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) by #EdwardLCahn
w/
#StevenTerrell #GloriaCastillo #FrankGorshin

Diminutive alien invaders run into teenage opposition when they land in a rural lovers’ lane.

“CREEPING HORROR…from the depths of time and space!”

“SEE teenagers vs. the saucer men!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Another in the long list of late 1950s sci-fi horror films that I may have seen as a kid on Not Quite Classic Theatre – but probably didn’t – is Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957). It would have fit in nicely with many of the other films, except for one thing: its tone is more deliberately comical. The basic joke at the heart of it seems to be that the alien invasion is foiled by unassuming teenagers – not the military, who are more or less fumbling around in the dark and unable to do anything.

As I may have mentioned before, the appeal of certain old B-movies is the fact that they are campy – or funny – to modern viewers. In other words, they were intended to be serious when they were made – and maybe they worked on that level at the time – or maybe they didn’t – but when modern eyes look at them they seem unintentionally humorous. This could be due to many different factors, including a clunky script,  over-wrought performances, or inept low-budget special effects.

Unfortunately, when a movie is intended to be funny – even if it also contains elements like a clunky script, over-wrought performances, and inept low-budget special effects – it may somehow wind up NOT being funny to modern audiences (or anyone else).

Invasion of the Saucer Men is somewhere in-between these two things. 

Apparently, at least according to Paul Blaisdell who did make up and special effects for the movie, Invasion of the Saucer Men was originally intended to be a serious story. But at some point during the production, it turned into a comedy. I suspect that it would have been funnier if they had simply played it straight. But still, it’s not a complete failure in the comedy department.

At the same time, it somehow manages to seem fairly serious (or at least non-comical) at certain points. I don’t mean that it feels like high drama, but rather that it feels more like a regular sci-fi horror film at times. And that’s a good thing, I think. I prefer straight ahead earnestness to failed slapstick.

Director Edward L. Cahn made well over a hundred movies between 1931 and 1962. And that is something to be admired, even if most of them are forgotten. I’ve enjoyed many of his films, and have written about at least five of them on the blog. Invasion of the Saucer Men may be my least favourite so far, but perhaps I was expecting too much from it. And truth be told, I was pretty tired by the time this movie flickered across the home drive-in screen, so maybe it deserves another chance some day.

Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) is the mind of #NotQuiteClassicCinema that tries a little too hard to funny, and a result is less funny that it should be. It does have cool looking aliens, and a crawling hand subplot, so it’s not a complete waste of time. I feel like I need to see it again before passing final judgment on it, so I will look forward to revisiting it on some future #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

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