They sure make kids old these days… (Teenagers from Outer Space; 7-16-1959)

I know I promised the dope on the latest Astounding, but it took me several sittings to get through the Garrett.  Like children at a Passover, I kept falling asleep.  Had I known there would be another Chandler Rim story after the Garrett, I might have persevered more strenuously.  Ah well.

Instead, I took my daughter to the flicks yesterday to watch the newest science fiction film.  Well, if there are “B” movies, this one was a “C” movie.

In brief, aliens land in the suburbs of Los Angeles planning to use our planet as pasturage for the ferocious but edible Gargons.  The youngest of the crew, “Derek,” discovers that the planet is inhabited when he stumbles upon the disintegrated corpse of a dog, reduced to a skeleton by the bloodthirsty crewman, Thor.  As the boney puppy had a collar, it was clear it had been owned by a sentient being.  Derek rebels at the thought of condemning an innocent race to death at the hands of the Gargons and flees.  The alien ship leaves to summon a fleet of hundreds.


And already my daughter has decided this is the worst of the recent films.  Dog-killing doesn’t sit with her.


Derek is horrified.  I think.  This is his only expression throughout the film.

Derek arrives in town to find a room to rent being let by the quite beautiful (if worryingly thin) Betty and her doddering grandfather.  Romance flares, but evil Thor is on his trail.  There ensues a wild chase with Thor hot on the trail of Derek and Betty, a trail of skeletal corpses lining his path.  Thor is wounded in a shootout at City Hall, but he coerces a doctor into saving him.  Luckily, Thor is incapacitated in a car accident (he is not the most skilled of drivers), but the Gargon left behind in a cave kills a man and breaks loose.


A wag in the audience says, “Must be from one of those parochial schools…”


“Zap!”


“It’s 2:30!  I should be out on the golf course,” I said, joining in the fun.

Derek frees Thor from a hospital and brings him back to the site of the first landing.  There, he convinces all that he has seen the error of his ways and asks to have the honor of guiding the alien fleet to a safe landing.  Predictably, he instead orders them to home in on his ship and accelerate.  Derek and the invaders are destroyed in a fiery blast, to the horror of the onlooking Betty.


Obligatory young love.


“Everyone gets to be a hostage in this film,” comments another.


“I’m a lobster!  I like hugs!” says my daughter.


“You are clear for landing!”


“Ewww.  There’s tiny bits of Derek everywhere!” says one of the attendees.

The end.

I think this movie would have been completely intolerable had not several of the attendees begun making pointed commentary throughout the film.  I usually hate it when people do that, but in this case, they added tremendously.  I caught up with them afterward and thanked them.  Their names were Joel, Tom, and… Crow, I think it was.  Anyway, I hope we’ll meet again in the not too distant future.

To be fair, if I think of the movie as a college student’s project, which it very much feels like, there is much to commend.  The acting is generally terrible, the plot silly, and the special effects quite bad (though the ray gun effect is clever in its simplicity), but there is a plot, and the editing is actually quite inspired.  The movie never drags.  It’s just ludicrous.  But I could see Tom Graeffe (writer, director, and producer) helming a decent movie some day.  Maybe.

See you in two.  Promise.



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