By now, my fondness for indie distributor Cheezy Movies is well known. For years, the distributor formerly known as Cheezy Flicks has offered new life to old flicks and even occasionally dips its cinematic tentacles into the world of distributing more contemporary films.
Just about every month I hear from the fine folks at Cheezy Movies. To be honest, if I'm particularly swamped in a month I have to set that e-mail aside in favor of more pressing projects. Other times, I open that e-mail with glee to see just what films they're offering up next.
1957's Invasion of the Saucer Men is just such a film.
A B-movie in every sense of the term, Invasion of the Saucer Men is an Edward L. Cahn production in which the cinematic highlight is an alien/bovine encounter that's not to be missed. Set in the sleepy town of Hicksburg, Invasion of the Saucer Men introduces us first to Joe (Frank Gorshin, Riddler on television's Batman) and Artie, two scammers who are about to ditch the town after a month of strike-outs. Across town, the local teens are getting ready to head out to Lover's Lane, a hick field in a hick town on the private land of one Farmer Larkin (Raymond Hatton), who has zero tolerance for the young whippersnappers and their gettin' his prized cow drunk for the laughs. An unexplained light in the sky is witnessed by Joe and a few other townsfolk, though local police are skeptical and life goes on.
Back at Lover's Lane, lovers Johnny (Steven Terrell) and Joan (Gloria Castillo) are set on eloping the next night since Joan's dad sees Johnny as beneath Joan. When they decide to call it quit for the nights, they turn off their lights on the winding road out so as not to get Farmer Larkin's attention and accidentally run over one of those aforementioned alien types.
With their car incapacitated, they head off for help while Joe runs across their car and gets visions of dollar signs in his head at the sight of a seemingly dead alien.
More about that later.
Or maybe not.
Invasion of the Saucer Men is an undeniably cheezy movie, a B-movie with goofy charm and horrid effects including a pretty godawful alien space ship. It's a film you know darn well isn't really any good. You can't stop watching anyway.
Gloria Castillo is basically wasted here, though she's pretty much elevated every B-movie she was ever in.
Frank Gorshin hinted at the charisma that he would later display in abundance in Batman.
There's little denying that Cahn was having fun here as the goings on are lighthearted and silly for the most part. The aliens are kind of a joy - a distant cousin to Tim Burton's creations and reportedly the inspiration for Futurama.
One of the aliens is played by dwarf actor Angelo Rossitto and the special effects by Howard Anderson and Alex Weldon are understandably simplistic yet cheezy in an endearing way.
Yes, I know I'm spelling cheezy incorrectly. That's how the distributor spells it.
Relax. Go with it.
Invasion of the Saucer Men was originally released by American International Pictures in 1957 on a double-bill with I Was a Teenage Werewolf. It was given a Columbia TriStar release on VHS in the early 2000s, though Cheezy Movies is now giving it a DVDR release at an incredibly great value that would be hard to pass up for true B-movie lovers. Click on "Buy This Movie" to check it out for yourself.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic