Teenagers from Outer Space

Tagged: Film

US film (1959; vt Invasion of the Gargon; vt The Gargon Terror; vt The Ray Gun Terror UK). Tom Graeff Productions/Warner Brothers Pictures. Directed and produced by Tom Graeff. Written by Graeff. Cast includes Dawn Bender (credited as Dawn Anderson), Harvey B Dunn (Gramps Morgan), Tom Graeff (credited as Tom Lockyear – Joe Rogers), Bryan Grant, David Love, King Moody (spacecraft captain) and Gene Sterling. 86 minutes cut to 72 minutes for home video release. Black and white.

Derek (Love) and his humanoid Alien compatriots come to Earth in a silver flying saucer (see UFOs). They seek a world upon which to raise their primary food animal the gargon, a lobster-like land-dwelling creature (actually a lobster's image in negative), despite the fact that these flesh-eating creatures will destroy all native life. Thor (Grant) almost immediately shows his cruelty by killing a dog which has wandered near their landed Spaceship, reducing it to a skeleton with his Ray Gun (in reality a contemporary store-bought toy). Derek is secretly a member of an underground movement which opposes his world's government, and slips away to find the owner of the dog, who proves to be Betty Morgan (Bender). Soon falling in love with Betty as Thor searches for him with orders to kill if necessary, Derek grows to love Earth as well as her. Learning near the conclusion that he is actually the son of the alien leader (Sterling), Derek sacrifices himself when the full space fleet appears (after slaying the now-huge gargon his own ship brought along) by somehow disabling their guidance system, causing all to crash into the earth and killing himself along with the other aliens.

This is easily one of the worst films ever made, sf or otherwise, and is now quite well known, having been a public domain title for some years. The ill-fated producer/director Graeff suffered a total breakdown after the film's failure, thinking himself to be the returned Christ. He vanished from Hollywood until the mid-1960s and committed suicide in 1970. [GFi]

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