“Is pride something monsters don’t understand?”
A newlywed (Gloria Talbott) whose husband (Tom Tryon) suddenly acts emotionless learns that he has been possessed by an alien whose dying species hopes to propagate by marrying women on Earth — but no one will believe her story.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “intelligent, atmospheric, subtly made, deliberately paced sci-fi thriller” is one “of the best of the fifties ‘paranoia’ films”. He points out that director Gene Fowler, Jr.’s history as “an editor [for] Fritz Lang” is shown through “his use of shadows and bizarre camera angles to heighten tension” as well as “his ‘invisible’ editing (time passes on the screen, although it appears that the camera never shuts down).” He notes that Talbott — “an excellent heroine for sci-fi and horror films” — “gives a solid performance, exhibiting intelligence and a rare combination of strength and vulnerability”, but argues that “Tryon, years before becoming a best-selling author, is better as the alien than as the human counterpart”. (The fact that Tryon was gay in real life, thus truly lacking a desire for sexual intimacy with women, adds an interesting spin to this assertion.) To that end, some viewers have pointed out the subtle “gay undertones” to the film, given that Talbott is continuously sexually frustrated (she can’t get Tryon interested in sex or reproduction) and the men are more eager to spend time with each other than with their wives. Finally, I agree with Peary that this film’s “outrageous title is unsuited” for it: Tryon and his fellow aliens are devious and determined, but not particularly monstrous in their actions; why not call it I Married an Alien From Outer Space instead?
Note: The final shot in the film (of Tryon) seems inexplicable, but I suppose it was a necessary if illogical concession for a happy ending.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Effectively atmospheric cinematography
Yes, as a well-made entry in a specific genre and era. Discussed at length in Peary’s Cult Movies book.