Derek, a teenaged alien guy, among a small crew of extraterrestrials in a little silver flying saucer, has come to Earth on a "seeding" expedition where "Gargons" (the alien world's food source animal) are to be exposed to the atmosphere in order to note their reaction to the new world's air. If they are able to thrive, millions more of the creatures will be brought to the planet to grow, and eventually be harvested for their flesh. (The cheap special effects department thought that 1959 audiences for this flick probably had no idea what a lobster looked like, and used a black painted one as the "monster" Gargon).
The crew are from a totalitarian world where children are raised without parents by the state, where freedom of thought is supressed, and empathy mocked. The killer instinct is paramount. A wandering pet dog ("Sparky" as we later discover) hears the landing saucer and, as the crew disembarks, a stern associate of Derek, is startled by the barking critter, and draws his silver ray gun and disintegrates the flesh from the dog, leaving a falling mass of bones. The rest of the crew exit the ship and test the small "seed" Gargon for its reaction to Earth's air. Derek, meanwhile, examines the bones of "Sparky", and notices a metal tag with his name and address stamped on it. He brings this detail to the attention of the ship commander, saying that it signals intelligent life on this world. Meanwhile, the Gargon first seems to fail the test, having a negative response to Earth's atmosphere, but the creature then revives, and its cells divide even faster than expected. Earth will be a perfect place to breed these fast-growing, flesh-eating monsters.
Derek, who has turned against the authoritarian beliefs of his home world through contact with a forbidden book (which he brandishes at the crew to explain his baffling change of heart), rebels against unleashing the killer Gargons on Earth, since they will attack higher beings, but the crew members all scoff at his weakness. Derek escapes to try to warn Earth, and the adventure begins, and he is hunted by a killer crew member left behind.
Derek tracks down the owner of "Sparky", and the rest of the story is one of the more humane and even inspiring examples of the low-budget sci-fi genre of the period.
With a moral and a ending that may even bring a tear, (after many laughs and a few chills ...the fate of the teasing girl in the swimming pool) along the way.
Running Time: 86 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: PG
“Teenagers From Outer Space” ranks right up there with Ed Wood’s work. With thirty-year-old teenagers who look more like they’re from swing choir than outer space, this movie also features a giant lobster shadow, a cap gun that’s supposed to be a “focusing disintegrator ray,” and enough unintentionally hilarious dialogue to keep Freud busy for years.
The title characters are played by David Love (good guy, Derek) and Bryan Grant (bad guy, Thor). There are other supposed teenagers in the movie, but those two are probably the closest to teenagers this movie gets. Also pseudo-starring in this picture is former radio actress, Dawn Anderson as Betty, who basically drops her current boyfriend (Joe Rogers, played by Tom Graeff himself) when Derek shows up and then goes running back to him when Derek leaves. Speaking of Joe and Derek, an interesting piece of trivia I discovered while researching this film (I know, I’m pathetic) is David Love and Tom Graeff were actually gay lovers in real life. Very brave in 1950s America (and now that I think about it, very brave today with the very fifties G.W. Bush in the oval office).
In the opening scene, we see a couple of astronomers, one of which has a taped-on beard and mustache. The younger of the two thinks he sees “some kind of drill-shaped object … rotating.” He quickly decides he didn’t and then gets all depressed about some creature gobbling up the earth at some point in the future. The most interesting thing in this scene is a couple of bugs flying around.
Oh, during this little scene, there’s some plot exposition as well. The aliens are scoping out Earth to see if it will be a suitable habitat for their food supply, known as the Gargons, which are pretty much land lobsters that grow really really big.
Now then, back to the teens having their little spat. The reason Derek is different than everyone else is because he has some life-enlightening book, probably like “The Dilbert Principle.” The commander asks to see the book and puts an arm lock on Derek instead, getting the gun. So much for the revolution. Another member of the crew brings a young Gargon up to test whether it will be able to survive on Earth and it starts out great, but then looks like it dies. I think a character in the movie sums it up best: “It suddenly fell limp and now does not move.”
This film is a prime example of the low budget 1950s B movie sci-fi. This movie is the 50s and that's the best reason of why you should see it. Anyone who is interested in 50s sci-fi, has to see Teenagers From Outer Space. The flaws are so numerous they can't be counted, and the acting is as bad as the script. The only monsters in the movie are the Gargons, which are lobsters. Apart from these flaws, Teenagers From Outer Space is a fun movie. I've watched it several times and find it very entertaining. The alien's death ray gun is quite impressive, as are the scenes in which it is used. View this movie remembering it is 1959. I would think this film would have been quite popular and very scary back then. Sit down, relax and get a bowl of popcorn. Pop in the DVD or VCR and have a good time watching this fun, exciting 1950s sci-fi thriller. written by Chuck Straub
Harvey B. Dunn
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