I Married a Monster from Outer Space (Gene Fowler Jr. / U.S., 1958):

I’m guessing those who mock the title are unfamiliar with William Carlos Williams’ poem The Monstrous Marriage. The acerbic satire of matrimony begins with a bachelor party cheerless enough to rival Paddy Chayefsky’s, the groom (Tom Tryon) leaves the saloon and is engulfed by an inky cloud, an extraterrestrial doppelganger takes over his place next to the bride (Gloria Talbott). The preamble to an invasion: Earth’s women are to replace the aliens' extinct mates, the tentacle-faced voyagers wear human bodies like ill-fitting suits and develop a distaste for hooch and oxygen. When Talbott’s pert homemaker learns that her husband is a humanoid replica, the fear of a barren womb turns into the horror of a womb filled with interplanetary sperm. The impostor has by then come to long for human emotion, he gazes at the smooching couple next door and sighs. "You’re learning how to love?" "I’m learning what love is." Much of the groundwork was done two years earlier by Don Siegel, all Gene Fowler Jr. has to do is point to the space creature’s view of Ike-era domesticity (divided between bedroom and barroom) with the utmost matter-of-factness. Honeymoon duties are a mystery, an alien can’t even shop for children’s dolls without being hit on by the town floozy; Tryon and the other camouflaged invaders sit around grumbling about their hosts, only the human-bachelor-turned-hitched-monster (Alan Dexter) enjoys the masquerade: "You celebrating 'Be Kind to Humans' week?" The mockery of small-town Americana has squid-men running insurance offices and a castrating posse recruited from the maternity ward waiting room. Do married couples ever really know each other? Queer and feminist implications remain mostly buried under Red-infiltration anxiety, nevertheless this watch-the-skies saga is closer to the Sirk of There’s Always Tomorrow than to Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. With Peter Baldwin, Robert Ivers, Ken Lynch, John Eldredge, Jean Carson, and James Anderson. In black and white.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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