Teenagers from Outer Space

Director: Tom Graeff

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Teenagers from Outer Space (1859) starts off with a flying saucer landing. The cap of the tin ship opens up, & a guy in a motorcycle helmet looks out & uses his blast-o-ray to turn a harmless puppy into a pile of bones.

Teenagers from Outer SpaceFour aliens who look & speak just like Americans (in the infinite universe, anything is possible) get out of the tin ship & remove their motorcycle helmets.

The two youngest are Good Teenager From Outer Space (David Love) who disapproves of killing puppies, & Bad Teenager From Outer Space (Bryan Grant) who not only zappified the dog but is eager to turn loose baby Gargons on the planet which will grow to humongous proportions in a matter of hours then begin feeding on humans.

One of the aliens brings a vintage suitcase with him out of the tin saucer, opens it, & reveals a bit of amazing technology for assessing the atmospheric vernoms & marten content & other nonsensical measurements. Even on the cheap grainy worn out old film stock, the "alien" gizmo has clearly printed upside down under its dials "Multichannel Mixer."

The measurements achieved with the multichannel mixer prove that Gargons can live on Earth. The aliens eat Gargons as their primary diet, & why wouldn't they, they're nothing but crawdads. However, Gargon brand crawdads grow to be such dangerous giants that the aliens prefer to have them grow up on other races' planets.

Good Teen, Derek, insists it's a bad thing to turn Gargons loose on a populated world that will be destroyed by them. For his rebellious opinion plus his desire to have a family though his race is reproduced only in laboratory settings, he is arrested on the spot. Punishment for rebellion when he returns to his planet would be death, so he decides to escape & remain on Earth. What he doesn't know is he's actually the son of the tyrant of his horrible planet & could easily get amnesty.

Bad Teen, the bully Thor, remains behind to find Derek while the little tin flying saucer goes back to its planet to fetch more crawdaddies. They leave the test crawdad on earth & it is growing mighty fast. Derek spends the day getting to know what family life on earth is like, falls in love with a teenager earthgirl (Dawn Bender), & tries to evade Bad Teen Thor who is storming around town with his blast-o-ray turning people into tidy skeletons already strung together & ready to hang on hooks.

Teenagers from Outer SpaceEarth's enviable nuclear family, interestingly enough, is represented by a non-traditional family consisting of one teenage girl & one grampa, the latter played by Harvey B. Dunn who in real life was a party clown with a trained parrot.

What self-respecting teen wouldn't want to stay on Earth if he could adopt a party clown as his grampa? (Harvey also appears, with his bird, in Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster). I wonder if Harvey might not have provided the tin saucer, which others have speculated might have been a clown prop.

[SPOILER ALERT!] Good Teen gets the blast-o-ray away from Bad Teen, for it's the only weapon in the universe that can kill the giant crawdaddy which is on its way to eat up the whole town. Alas the ray gun just got broken.

Worse yet, an invasion of aliens with baby Gargons on board just appeared in the sky (we never see them but we do see some teenagers look up in the air & assure us they're there). So after a few small complications, Derek gives his life to save Earth, & his earthling girlfriend is sad for about two seconds. [END SPOILER ALERT]

Now this certainly is a bad movie both in concept & execution, but I kinda liked it. It's hard to believe teenagers could ever have been so innocent as to fall for this kind of film, but indeed there was a time when carloads of teens would line up to get into drive-in theaters to watch just this kind of exploitation turd, & be perfectly satisfied.

There's just enough teen angst & familial expression to strike a few naive youth-buttons, & bullying Thor with his death-ray fulfills many a kid's fantasy of all-powerful son of a bitch. Then again Derek all by himself saves the Earth & likely causes a revolution back on his own planet, & what kiddo even today doesn't think it would only take one smarter-than-everyone-else teenager to change the universe.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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