aka Invasion of the Hell Creatures
Director – Edward L. Cahn, Screenplay – Robert J. Gurney Jr & Al Martin, Based on the Short Story The Cosmic Frame by Paul W. Fairman, Producers – Gurney & James H. Nicholson, Photography (b&w) – Fred West, Music – Ronald Stein, Special Effects – Howard Anderson, Technical Effects – Paul Blaisdell, Makeup – Carlie Taylor, Art Direction – Don Ament. Production Company – Malibu.
Steve Terrell (Johnny Carter), Gloria Castillo (Jean Hayden), Frank Gorshin (Joe Gruen), Lyn Osborn (Art Burns), Raymond Hatton (Larkin), Sam Buffington (Colonel Armbruce), Douglas Henderson (Lieutenant Wilkins), Jason Johnson (Detective)
Pint-size aliens emerge from a saucer outside the town of Hicksburg and start killing people using their hypodermic fingernails. The only witnesses are a group of teenagers hanging out at the nearby Lover’s Lane but the authorities disbelieve the teens’ story. The only hope is for the teenagers to band together to defeat the menace themselves.
Invasion of the Saucer Men was one of the 1950s mini-genre of teen monster movies, a fad that also included the likes of I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957), The Blob (1958) and Teenage Zombies (1960), among others.
As with most of these films, the plot centres around a group of teenagers encountering the creature where the principle problem is not so much how to defeat the creature(s) but how to have their knowledge of the menace taken seriously by adults and authorities. “I guess we better hope that the next person who meets one of these is a 100% certified adult,” comments one of the doubted teens at one point.
Unlike most of the other teen monster films, Invasion of the Saucer Men takes itself reasonably tongue-in-cheek – at least that is what the jaunty comedy score would seem to indicate. It is never entirely successful at this. There is some weak comedy with the teens attempting to feed beer to Larkin’s cow. It is uncertain whether the scene with the disembodied hand threatening Gloria Castillo in the car and sneaking up to tap her on the shoulder is meant to be funny or scary. The alien frame-up job and the way the attempts to prove the story keep folding back on the hero have their slight amusements.
The aliens themselves are the best thing about the film, an amazingly evil looking bunch of goblins, as created by famous 1950s monster maker Paul Blasidell. They are only briefly shown, which adds to their nastiness. The disembodied hand with its attached eyeball and the images of evilly dripping hypodermic fingernails are rather neat too. On the whole though, Invasion of the Saucer Men is dreary.
There was a terrible remake conducted by Larry Buchanan with The Eye Creatures (1965).
Invasion of the Saucer Men was directed by the prolific Edward L. Cahn who made numerous low-budget films from the 1930s through to the 1960s and is probably most well known for various Our Gang comedies. In the 1950s, Cahn made a number of B-budget genre films including Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), The She-Creature (1956), Voodoo Woman (1957), Zombies of Mora Tau (1957), The Curse of the Faceless Man (1958), It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959), Invisible Invaders (1959) and Beauty and the Beast (1961).
Full film available online here:-