“Invasion of the Saucer Men” (1957)
A flying saucer lands in a deserted field and wreaks havoc in the lives of an alcoholic drifter, a pair of teen lovers and a misanthropic farmer.
It only takes a moment for “Invasion of the Saucer Men” to reveal its intention to be taken as a less than dramatic SF outing, with a merry display of humorous title card drawings and a Ronald Stein score more reminiscent of Spike Jones than the usual ominous orchestral stings for which similar 1950’s B-movie horror/SF scores were noted. This lightness of tone results in a somewhat paradoxical final product in which an adherence to the formula genre tropes of nocturnal menace are presented with a cavalier pie-in-the-eye tone that is amusing to a point.
The film follows the typical generational denial of credibility in getting the thick-headed authorities to notice what is going on right under their very trooper hats (a considerably new but surprisingly predictable trope considering that at the time the prominence of teens within the genre was in it’s relative infancy), and, most importantly, the usual body count of disposable human victims. Oddly, the lighter tone works to nudge the obvious absurdities inherent in the genre, though the lightness of tone is at the mercy of the inventiveness of screenwriter, whose idea of fun is often indecipherable from the strait faced target of his parody. Is this a symptom of a genre which has already sunk to trivial depths and boxed itself into an unapologetic repetition of unchallenging tropes, or is absurdity of the formula resistant to a dramatic presentation bereft of any camp value?
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