“I expected to be frightened on my wedding night, but nothing like this!” With a quote like that, you might be expecting a body-horror film. Come to think of it, with retractable needles in fingers and eyeballs on hands, you might be right. Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Joseph Perry, Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they sing a chorus of “Old Man Larkin had a Phone” and laugh until the cows come home in Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957).
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 48 – Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957)
Directed by B-movie legend Edward Cahn and written by Al Martin and Robert J. Gurney Jr., Invasion of the Saucer Men is all about some Brussels sprout-headed aliens with eyeballs in their hands and hypodermic needles filled with 100%-pure alcohol, which extend from and retract into their fingers. The Saucer Men use their finger needles to inebriate a couple young hoodlums and Farmer Larkin’s bull, Walt. They also manage to kill Joe-the-alcoholic by increasing his already high blood-alcohol-content to a lethal level. Between these injection events, there’s a lot of driving back and forth by young “hoodlums” while encountering Farmer Larkin (Raymond Hatton) repeatedly uttering “consarn,” a pair of small-minded opportunists (Frank Gorshin and Lyn Osborn), an amazing collection of incompetent military and law enforcement personnel, and an assortment of clueless, adult townspeople. There’s even a couple (Gloria Castillo and Steven Terrell) whose plan is to elope amidst all this chaos. Now that’s what you call fun!
Invasion of the Saucer Men is as much a comedy as it is science fiction/horror and the Grue Crew had a lot of fun with it. Though the laughs are plentiful, they all agree there are some genuine scenes of horror. Whitney gets a kick out of Farmer Larkin’s dialect and wonders about the construction of Paul Blaisdell’s alien design, all the while cringing at Walt-the-bull’s injection event. Chad loved the creature design and has his own theory of why the Saucer Men landed. A lifelong fear of disembodied hands was the film’s gift to Joseph, but he’s glad the alien hand had an eyeball so it could see where it was going. Jeff takes a short jaunt into Raymond Hatton’s filmography and thinks he might have figured out the significance of the title of the short story that served as the screenplay source material.
If you want a fun time combined with a few icky parts and innovative creature design, the Grue Crew recommends Invasion of the Saucer Men. It’s a hoot!
[Note: Jeff is looking for any information that might confirm that the Helen Martin that co-wrote Invisible Ghost (1941) with Al Martin is the same Helen Martin that co-starred in the TV-series 227. IMDb and TCM think they are the same person, but Jeff is looking for another source to back it up. If you know of such a source or additional information, contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule will be another Edward Cahn extravaganza, Invisible Invaders (1959)!
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