I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) is a lousy husband horror science fiction suburban film noir frightener which owes more to the scare of women and their assertive good sense beauty and civil morality, than it does to the Red Scare which may have inspired it.

The 1958 American horror science fiction film I Married a Monster from Outer Space produced and directed by Gene Fowler Jr. for Paramount Pictures, features Tom Tryon and Gloria Talbott.

It was released alongside The Blob (1958) as a double feature. What is the underlying narrative brought to bear upon the hopeful youth, now turned to horror and science and the sheer unknown as the new brand new metaphor for everything, from their bodies, to marriage and society, and to politics and gender.

The storyline revolves around Marge Farrell (played by Gloria Talbott), who becomes increasingly aware of her husband Bill's (played by Tom Tryon) changed behavior after their marriage.

Bill shows no affection towards Marge or their new pet dog, which she gifted him, because he is a man and a protestant man, and they do not understand emotion. Suspecting something amiss, Marge follows Bill one night and shockingly discovers that he is an alien humanoid.

Bill confesses that he is an alien humanoid and says how others of his kind who may or may not be protestant but fundamentally behave as if they are, these beings have inhabited human bodies to mate with Earth women and save their dying race. 

Horrified, Marge tries to warn others, but faces disbelief until her doctor and a group of unaffected men help her confront the aliens. The aliens are men and they cannot bear emotion nor communicate with earth women other than through blank staring or violence.

The film was well-received for its suspenseful direction and special effects. Despite its sensational title, it tackled themes of gender dynamics and societal anxieties prevalent during the Cold War era.

The analysis draws parallels between this film and others of its time, highlighting how female characters are often depicted as either threatening or submissive, with male characters exerting control over them.

In Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, the protagonist, Nancy, undergoes a transformation from a dependent wife to a giant seeking revenge on the community that oppressed her.

Analysis suggests that the film's narrative structure reflects a struggle for power between male and female characters, with economic dependence playing a significant role. The portrayal of Nancy's growth as a result of radiation exposure symbolizes her liberation from male control.

Additionally, the analysis critiques the film's campy elements and the marginalization of the alien presence, which serves as a metaphor for the socio-economic themes underlying the narrative. Despite the film's surface-level flaws, it is argued that deeper subtextual elements address issues of gender and power dynamics in a way that may not be immediately apparent to viewers.

Overall, constant analysis provides a nuanced understanding of Attack of the 50-Foot Woman as a reflection of the gender and power dynamics prevalent in 1950s science fiction cinema, despite its campy presentation and superficial portrayal of its central alien element.

In I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) there is a fantastic impotent male and lousy husband dynamic, best expressed when all the men are down the bar together and hilariously they do not drink, but just purchase drinks and then stare at them wondering what in the hell they are doing.

When a woman approaches the men are negative and nasty because all they want to do is stare at their drinks and they hate women, and really hate mating with them too, despite it being necessary for the prolongation of their species.

Even the bartender gets involved, reminding the men to look at women, and finding it hard to accept that just cause they bought their drinks, what is it to ya if we just want to sit and stare at them what is it to ya if we jes stare at our drinks, huh.

Attack of the 50-Foot Woman makes a good double bill here, as it is another gender-based clueless round up of the world in a classic science fiction film from the 1950s format, offers a lens through which to examine gender dynamics and societal norms of the time. In this essay, we will explore the film's portrayal of gender inequality, economic dependence, and female empowerment, drawing parallels between its themes and the broader cultural context of the era.

The film presents a protagonist, Nancy, who grapples with male oppression and societal expectations. Through Nancy's character arc, we witness themes of economic dependence on men, symbolized by her wealth and the power dynamics within her marriage to Harry. The alien in the film serves as a metaphor for Nancy's fears and societal pressures, highlighting the struggles women faced in asserting their independence during the 1950s.

The alien in Attack of the 50-Foot Woman represents a displacement process, wherein energy passes from important ideas to seemingly unimportant ones. Its giant hand reaching for Nancy's diamond symbolizes male dominance and control, echoing the societal expectations placed upon women to adhere to traditional gender roles. 

Nancy's transformation into a 50-foot woman serves as a visual metaphor for her liberation from societal constraints, as she breaks free from her previous neurotic state to assert her dominance and independence.

The film utilizes the science fiction genre to address real-world issues of gender inequality and female empowerment. By depicting Nancy's struggle against male oppression through the lens of a fantastical narrative, "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman" offers a critique of 1950s societal norms and expectations. The alien's dependence on Nancy's wealth to power its spacecraft mirrors the societal dependence on women for economic stability, further highlighting the film's social commentary.

Despite pop crap thrown upon it by critics, Attack of the 50-Foot Woman has of course bien sur gained recognition for its portrayal of gender dynamics and societal reflections. Its themes of female empowerment and resistance to male oppression resonate with contemporary audiences and have led to revaluations of the film's significance in the context of both science fiction cinema and feminist discourse.

Attack of the 50-Foot Woman" stands as a poignant reflection of gender dynamics and societal norms in 1950s America. Through its use of science fiction elements and symbolism, the film offers a critical commentary on issues of female empowerment, economic dependence, and societal expectations. Its legacy continues to be felt in contemporary discussions surrounding gender inequality and women's liberation.

The Symbolism and Significance of Aliens in Science Fiction: Exploring Otherness and Existential Predicaments

In the realm of science fiction, aliens serve as powerful symbols that reflect humanity's deepest fears, desires, and existential quandaries. Through the lens of speculative narratives, writers explore the complexities of otherness, the limitations of human understanding, and the struggle for meaning in an unfathomable universe. This essay delves into the multifaceted role of aliens in science fiction, examining their representation as both external threats and metaphysical enigmas.

The portrayal of aliens in science fiction often grapples with questions of intelligence and self-awareness. While many extra-terrestrial beings are depicted as highly evolved and sentient, their consciousness remains a subject of speculation. Authors like A.E. Van Vogt in "The Voyage of the Space Beagle" blur the lines between instinctual behaviour and conscious reflection, leaving readers to ponder the true nature of alien sentience.

Aliens in science fiction serve as catalysts for existential encounters, challenging human perceptions of reality and identity. The Xenomorph in the Alien series undergoes a metamorphosis from a primal instinct-driven creature to a complex being capable of communication and introspection. This evolution mirrors humanity's own quest for self-understanding and purpose in the vastness of space.

Once again, the subtle subtext in 1950s sci-fi films deserves a round of applause. Beneath the surface of the cheesy, low-budget exterior lies a layer of political commentary that adds depth to the narrative. It's the same reason why horror films are so captivating—the genre thrives on subversion and bold messaging, and the metaphor at the core of "I Married a Monster from Outer Space" is downright chilling.

Enemy earth-cats in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

The film takes the age-old concept of men changing after marriage and amplifies it to an extreme degree. Instead of merely settling into domestic life and taking their spouses for granted, the husbands in this tale undergo a radical transformation, becoming cold, emotionless beings that their wives struggle to comprehend or connect with. There's even a hint of an abuse allegory, though the movie doesn't fully explore this interpretation.

However, despite the intriguing subtext, the film suffers from a severe case of boredom. The plot is as thin as tissue paper, with only a handful of events unfolding throughout its runtime. Marge frantically runs around, Bill broods by the window, and aliens slowly take over people's bodies—a tired trope that feels overused.

The lack of real conflict and the underwhelming revelation of the aliens' motives contribute to the film's dullness. While the aliens aren't exactly evil, they're certainly not compelling antagonists either, easily defeated when the time comes. And can we talk about the tired trope of body-snatching? It may be a cost-effective way to create suspense, but not every alien invasion story needs to rely on human meat puppets.

Overall, "I Married a Monster from Outer Space" has its moments of brilliance, particularly in its thematic depth, but it ultimately struggles to hold the viewer's interest due to its lackluster execution and repetitive plot devices.

When extraterrestrial beings infiltrate a small town, they initiate a sinister plan to possess the bodies of the local men, rendering them emotionally distant and detached. Marge (played by Gloria Talbott) becomes increasingly alarmed when she observes the sudden change in her husband, Bill (portrayed by Tom Tryon), approximately a year into their marriage. She notices a similar demeanor in the husbands of her friends, all of whom exhibit a dispassionate attitude towards their wives.

Whom did you marry? I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

Suspicious of their husbands' behavior, Marge and her friends discover that the men frequently embark on long walks in the woods, seemingly to rendezvous with one another. Is this part of an extraterrestrial scheme to exploit Earth women's wombs for the purpose of repopulating their own species? Or could it be clandestine activities born from the frustrations of sexually deprived men? Perhaps the truth encompasses both possibilities, blurring the lines between alien invasion and earthly desires.

The postwar era was a challenging time for those who didn't fit into the narrow definition of what it meant to be a true American. The 1950s can be seen as a dark decade for both monsters and marginalized groups, including homosexuals, who found themselves outside the dominant norms of society. The aftermath of a global war left people wary of outsiders, leading to a proliferation of sci-fi horror films that depicted the American "Us" in conflict with a foreign "Them," as seen in movies like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "It Came From Outer Space," and "Not of This Earth."

Atomic fears further fueled the proliferation of strange invaders and scientific oddities in films like "Teenage Caveman," "Teenage Monster," "Teenage Zombie," and "Them!" However, amidst these themes of fear and paranoia, the 1950s also set the stage for the post-code era, characterized by a shift in societal attitudes and the beginnings of organized civil rights movements.

During this time, the McCarthy era and heightened social conformity intensified the persecution of homosexuals, leading to a socially oppressive atmosphere. This environment also gave rise to thinly veiled queer horror in cinema, where themes of difference and otherness were explored through allegorical storytelling.

One notable example is "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" (1954), which, on the surface, follows a group of scientists on an expedition to South America. However, upon closer examination, the film can be interpreted as a homo-social excursion, with the discovery of the Gill-man serving as a phallic symbol. The presence of a woman in the narrative creates tension as she becomes a foil for the men's interactions, highlighting the underlying subtext of masculinity and desire.

Cops from outer space in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

The anger displayed by female characters in films like "I Married A Monster from Outer Space" (1958) and "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman" (1958) can be interpreted through Freud's concept of paranoia, wherein the female subject displaces her love for the pre-Oedipal mother. While the connection between the pre-Oedipal mother and the atomic age may seem obscure, it can be inferred that postwar ideologies of motherhood imbue her with relevance in these films. However, this aspect is not explored in depth by Hendershot.

Hendershot adopts a broad interpretation of paranoia, viewing it as a fantasy about a totalized universe. This approach allows her to effectively argue that many science fiction films of the 1950s reflect profound anxiety about surviving the atomic era, while simultaneously portraying science as the savior capable of remedying the dangers it introduced. In essence, these films grapple with the existential threat posed by atomic technology, portraying science as both the cause of and solution to the crisis.

By invoking psychoanalytic theory, Hendershot sheds light on the underlying anxieties and tensions present in 1950s science fiction cinema. The portrayal of female anger and paranoia in these films serves as a reflection of broader societal fears and uncertainties surrounding the atomic age and the role of science in shaping the future.

The script draws inspiration from classics like Invaders Of Mars and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, incorporating themes of paranoia reminiscent of the "Reds under the bed" era. However, it also delves into unique themes, particularly a critical examination of marriage with a feminist perspective, intertwined with a significant exploration of sexuality, albeit indirectly. Surprisingly, despite its low budget, the film managed to secure John P. Fulton, an Academy Award-winning special effects artist, resulting in commendable visual effects given the film's constraints.

While the screenplay has its moments of absurdity and the acting, particularly by Tom Tryon, may come across as wooden, it oddly works well as Tryon portrays an alien for much of the film. Director Fowler, following his success with I Was a Teenage Werewolf, aimed to surpass the film's title, originally titled IMAMFOS, ultimately opting for a more straightforward title.

Despite creative freedom granted to writer Louis Vittes, resistance to changes in dialogue caused tension among the cast. An interesting mistake by creature designer Charles Gemora added to the film's eerie atmosphere, with the aliens appearing more unsettling than intended. Production took just over two weeks, utilizing various locations in Los Angeles and Paramount Studios.

The film's popularity, often shown alongside The Blob, speaks to its appeal, further enhanced by its engaging opening sequence set against outer space. As the narrative unfolds, exploring themes of marriage, sexuality, and alien encounters, the film captivates audiences with its blend of sci-fi and intimate drama.

"I Married a Monster From Outer Space," released during the height of the 1950s sci-fi frenzy, offers a fresh perspective by exploring the effects of marriage from a female standpoint. At its core, the film revolves around Bill's transformation after marriage, a change that occurs before the wedding but remains concealed from Marge until after they exchange vows. Prior to the nuptials, a group of men gathers at a bar for a pre-wedding celebration, lamenting the perceived imprisonment and misery that marriage entails. Conversely, single women discuss their willingness to pursue married men, viewing marriage as inconsequential. The narrative presents a world where marriage is either cursed or trivialized, portraying men as automatons programmed for procreation post-marriage.

Disintegrating woman in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

The film introduces a unique angle within the science fiction genre, prompting intriguing reflections on the impact of marriage on men's identity and masculinity. It raises questions about the perceived changes men undergo upon entering matrimony, potentially losing their autonomy to satisfy their partners. A pivotal character, Marge's obstetrician, subtly implies his extraterrestrial nature, as Marge's desire for children unveils the underlying theme of sexuality within marriage. The film boldly tackles taboo subjects, hinting at issues of potency and virility as reflections of masculinity.

Amidst the conflict between science and law depicted in typical sci-fi narratives, "I Married a Monster From Outer Space" subtly suggests a cautionary message about the institution of marriage. Throughout the film, characters interchange "women" with "human beings," suggesting a fear of female dominance within marital relationships. Ultimately, the film invites viewers to ponder the complexities of marriage and its potential consequences on individual identity and societal norms.

Stanislaw Lem's Solaris (1972) presents a profound philosophical dilemma through the sentient planet Solaris, which defies human comprehension. The inability to fully understand Solaris reflects the limitations of human cognition and the inherent arrogance of assuming superiority over other forms of intelligence. The Solarists' struggle to comprehend Solaris highlights the existential tension between curiosity and humility in the face of the unknown.

Stairway to danger in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

Rene Girard's concept of triangulated desire provides a framework for understanding humanity's relationship with aliens in science fiction. Just as human characters in novels seek fulfilment through external mediators, such as angels or mentors, so too do readers project their desires onto alien beings. However, aliens remain elusive and inscrutable, challenging humanity's aspirations for transcendence and completeness.

Dr. Wayne: Don't you worry Marge. I know where to get our men. Human men!

Marge Bradley Farrell: Your race has no women, it can't have children. It will die out.

Bill Farrell: Eventually we'll have children with you.

Marge Bradley Farrell: What kind of children?

Bill Farrell: Our kind.

That is to say then that whereas crime in film noir represents the basis of the other, aliens in science fiction embody the complexities of otherness, existential uncertainty, and the quest for meaning in a vast and mysterious universe. Through their portrayal, authors confront readers with fundamental questions about consciousness, identity, and the nature of reality. By exploring the symbolic significance of aliens, science fiction invites us to ponder our place in the cosmos and the mysteries that lie beyond our comprehension.

That is in fact your husband through and through: complexities of otherness, existential uncertainty, and the quest for meaning in a vast and mysterious universe. It's all in him, circa 1958.

Husbands emerge on Earth in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

From the eerie children of the Village of the Damned, adapted from John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos, to the endearing luminous beings of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, alien entities replace the innocence, playfulness, and curiosity inherent in human children, along with their ability to perceive the world with awe. 

Throughout science fiction literature, female aliens challenge the patriarchal order, ranging from warrior women in Mack Reynolds's Amazon Planet to monstrous sirens like C. L. Moore's Shambleau, and culminating in the cosmic representation of female seduction in James Tiptree Jr.'s A Momentary Taste of Being. 

This challenges the notion of female sexuality as inherently subservient to male dominance. However, masculinity itself is also easily portrayed as alien. Apart from the typical portrayal of patriarchal dominance projected onto non-Western cultures or spacefaring civilizations like Klingons or space Nazis, there is a deeper exploration of the grotesque and alien nature of phallic power. This extends to portrayals of machines and artificial intelligence, which, although constructed by humans, can acquire a sense of alienness due to their complexity and autonomy.

Dogs versus Aliens in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

In the realm of alien biology, animals serve as the most common inspiration. Insects, hive beings, primates, felines, and various other creatures populate the speculative landscapes of science fiction. Additionally, there is a smaller category of plant-based aliens, such as the Plant Men from John Norman's works or the pod invaders from Invasion of the Body Snatchers

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

While aliens themselves cannot be machines, they can inspire the creation of machine-like organisms or artificial life forms, blurring the lines between biology and technology.

Historically, marginalized cultures have often served as the template for alien societies, reflecting imperialistic attitudes and prejudices. However, as societal norms evolve, so do portrayals of aliens, with an increasing emphasis on diversity and inclusivity. 

Husbands aplenty in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

Aliens, by their very nature, challenge the normative perspective of human protagonists, embodying excessiveness and non-functionality in their differences. This often extends to their sexual characteristics, with depictions ranging from shape-shifting entities to queer representations in popular culture.

The very real taglines with which this monster alien masterwork of marital and suburban exploitation shipped with are as follows:

The bride wore terror!

Is it possible? Is it true? Can humans mate with MONSTERS?

Shuddery things from beyond the stars, here to breed with human women!

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

In scientific theory-based aliens, authors explore concepts such as intelligent nebulae, energy-based life forms, and telepathic planetary organisms, although these often still reflect terrestrial origins once their purposes are understood. Despite this diversity, humanoid aliens remain prevalent in visual media, reflecting a tendency to anthropomorphize the extraterrestrial.

The portrayal of aliens in literature reflects broader social and historical experiences, often manifesting in two opposing archetypes: the Abject Threat and the Beautiful Benefactor. These archetypes, rooted in familiar societal dynamics, serve to confront human biases and prejudices, sometimes leading to a reevaluation of the self and the other.

Male dissolve in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

Overall, the depiction of aliens in science fiction is a reflection of human imagination, exploring themes of identity, difference, and societal norms through the lens of the extraterrestrial other.

Aliens have the potential to assume godlike roles, as depicted in Lem's Great Players in 'The New Cosmogony,' where they communicate by altering natural laws. They may even feign godhood to influence cosmic evolution. For instance, Ravana, a childlike alien with the ability to shape-shift, embodies both regal dignity and destructive evil. This ambiguity challenges the universe, requiring unambiguous heroic figures like Rama to combat him.

The dynamic between imperialists and their subjects often involves abjection through bestialization, where technoscientific advantages allow for domination and extermination of perceived threats.

In the realm of science fiction, aliens are portrayed in various forms, from the grotesque Xenomorph in Alien to invading beings with superior technology as seen in Independence Day. 

Xenomorph embodies grotesque qualities like gender chaos and radical metamorphosis, challenging human superiority in space. Conversely, invading aliens with advanced technology evoke hysterical fear rather than disgust, reflecting societal anxieties about morally depraved but technically advanced others.

Religions and cults have also incorporated extraterrestrial themes, from established religions integrating alien sentience into their cosmologies to new movements like the Raelians claiming direct physical contact with alien benefactors. These beliefs often intersect with technological and spiritual concepts, reflecting a diverse range of human responses to the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

In Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the fear of alien infiltration reflects broader anxieties of the Cold War era, where secrecy and mistrust pervaded society. The narrative explores themes of identity, authenticity, and the threat of conformity, resonating with contemporary concerns about the erosion of individuality and the insidious nature of societal control.

used to describe the structuring of narratives, the delineation of spaces, and the navigation of textual landscapes. In this context, "cartographies" refers to the ways in which authors and filmmakers construct and represent spaces within their works, whether real or imaginary.

Tortured husband in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

Jarvis's exploration of postmodern cartographies delves into how contemporary American culture, as reflected in literature and film, grapples with the complexities of space and place. He examines how authors and filmmakers navigate the terrain of the postmodern condition, where traditional notions of space, identity, and reality are destabilized and fragmented. Through close readings of texts and films, Jarvis reveals how these artists employ cartographic strategies to map out the shifting landscapes of postmodernity.

Lousy husband in I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

While Jarvis's book may not directly engage with science fiction as a genre, its examination of postmodern cartographies offers insights that are relevant to the study of speculative fiction. Science fiction often explores alternative worlds and futuristic landscapes, challenging conventional understandings of space and time. 

By analyzing how authors and filmmakers negotiate the complexities of spatial representation, Jarvis's work sheds light on how science fiction constructs its own unique cartographies.

What husbands are made of . . . I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

Aliens might covet our water, our orgasms, our diamonds, but regardless, when they arrive, they do so on equal footing. And those who are equal to the weak are just as weak. Two weeks after the Bikini incident, the United States introduced an atomic control plan to the United Nations. The Americans believed that their inspection proposal would have placed

Overall, Postmodern Cartographies provides a valuable framework for understanding the ways in which contemporary literature and film grapple with the intricacies of spatiality in the postmodern era. While its focus may not be explicitly on science fiction, its insights into cartographic strategies are applicable to a wide range of cultural texts, including speculative fiction.

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

Directed by Gene Fowler Jr.

Genres - Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Alien Film  |   Release Date - Oct 1, 1958 (USA - Unknown), Oct 1, 1958 (USA)  |   Run Time - 78 min

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