Horror Half-Week, Day 1: Invasion of the Saucer-Men (1957)

It’s aliiiive! TMP’s Halloween series Horror Half-Week returns for a seventh year. I didn’t choose any themes this year — just did some mood-watching of spooky and strange things. There will be reviews today through Tuesday, with a special “Favorite Things About…” post on Halloween itself. Happy Horror Half-Week!

Joan Hayden (Gloria Castillo) and Johnny Carter (Steve Terrell) are a small-town couple getting ready to elope. Before getting married, they decide to head to the romantic hot spot Lovers’ Point one more time.

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(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

As they leave Lovers’ Point, Joan and Johnny nearly have an accident with a military Jeep. In they chaos, they run over what they think is a child — but is actually an alien! When the alien’s severed hand stops Joan and Johnny by slicing their tires, the couple knows they’re in for trouble.

The greater trouble is, when the two tell their story to police, it’s written off as a silly teenage prank. Will they be able to save the town from these saucer-men before it’s too late?

Invasion of the Saucer-Men was directed by Edward L. Cahn. The screenplay was written by Robert J. Gurney, Jr. and Al Martin from a story by Paul Fairman.

This film definitely wants to be a horror-comedy, but it isn’t always successful as a horror film or as a comedy. Give me full corn or give me death! — not this lightly-cheesy, half-chuckle business. It didn’t help at all that the narration, for some reason, reminded me of Burl Ives’ narration in Rudolph (which I love, but is not necessarily appropriate for a spooky film, haha).

There are some decent moments of spookiness, but I wish the film had gone for full suspense. (It does take place, in part, on a dark and stormy night, after all.)

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(Image via Kim Newman)

Invasion of the Saucer-Men has its highlights, though, and gets more fun as it moves along, as the saucer-men actually invade the Earth. The design of the saucer-men is great, with their enormous heads and veiny claw-hands. There are also some scene-stealing disembodied hands — probably the most horror-esque element of the film.

I also quite liked the central couple. Their performances are fairly sincere, and they react pretty level-headedly for people stuck in such an odd situation.

I guess we’re saving the true spooks for later in this Horror Half-Week. You won’t find any chills or thrills from Invasion of the Saucer-Men. Still, it’s worth a watch if you like the sillier side of sci-fi.

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