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Film / Teenagers from Outer Space

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Spaceship Captain: The High Court may sentence you to TORTURE!

Teenagers from Outer Space is a 1959 Cult Classic Sci-Fi Horror B-Movie written, directed, and produced by Tom Graeff.

A crew of humanoid aliens from outer space land their spaceship on Earth, and decide that this is the perfect planet on which to establish a ranch for Gargons (i.e. giant lobsters). The idealistic young crew member Derek makes a moral and legal objection when he sees there is already intelligent life on the planet, meaning that by their own laws they can't use this world. When that fails to dissuade the others, he makes an armed objection, attempting mutiny; he fails, and has to escape the wrath of his crew (after all, the high court might have sentenced him to... never mind) by fleeing to a nearby small town. There, Derek meets Betty – the most Fifties girl in that Fifties world – and she and her grandfather take him in as a boarder. Meanwhile, the brash dog kicker Thor is sent to capture him – alive; it turns out that Derek's secretly the son of "Our Leader", even though family relationships don't really count on their home world anymore. Meanwhile, the Gargon specimen brought by the aliens grows huge after devouring a cop and soon threatens the town – and more are on the way.

Shot for $14,000, which in terms of a movie budget was no money at all even by '50s standards. It shows. And, yes, much of the acting is wooden enough to make even Ed Wood blush. Even so, the film boasts some fairly ambitious science fiction writing which explores themes that are still relevant even now, even if the creators' ideas outstripped their ability to depict them credibly on screen.

Played on a double-bill with Gigantis, the Fire Monster during its theatrical run.

It is now in the public domain and can also be unlocked in the game Destroy All Humans!.

No relation to the Animesque role playing game of the same name.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

Tropes from Outer Space:

  • Agri World: The aliens want to turn Earth into a breeding ground for giant lobsters.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: They are blatant alien Nazis.
  • Aliens Speaking English: They can read it, too.
  • Arch-Enemy: Thor is this to Derek. They didn't like each other even before the latter defected, and the former enthusiastically volunteers to pursue him.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Gargons, which are definitely not just lobsters
  • Ax-Crazy: Thor seems to like violence for its own sake. The very first thing he does is kill a puppy simply because it was there.
  • Beard of Evil: "Our Leader" sports some serious whiskers.
  • Big Bad: "Our Leader", The Emperor of Derek's people.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The invasion is thwarted and Earth is saved, but at the cost of Derek's life.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Derek is wholly good, refusing to participate in the genocide and going rogue on his first mission. Thor is a sadistic madman willing to defy orders to kill even more people. The rest of the aliens are actively genocidal, with "Our Leader" being the only one with any redeeming qualities, namely caring about his son.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Thor, when he's shot.
  • Bronson Canyon and Caves: Used as the filming location for where the alien spaceship lands.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Gargons, as you can guess.
  • Cool Old Lady: The nurse! Defies Thor at risk to her own life, then leaps out of a moving car to escape.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • Did a bunch of ordinary human police officers take out a homicidal alien with just regular guns?
    • Did Derek and Betty just take out a giant alien lobster with just a raygun pistol plugged up to a power line?
  • Disintegrator Ray: That darn Atomic Disintegrator.
  • Dull Surprise: Just about everyone in this film acts like they're permanently doped up on Novocaine.
  • Evil Plan: The Spaceship Captain, on orders from "Our Leader", seeks to set up Gargons on Earth to slaughter everybody and become a farming planet. "Our Leader" himself ends up hatching a scheme to convince Derek to return to their planet after learning he's his son.
  • Expy: Derek seems to be based on Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still, an alien visitor who gains sympathy for Earth.
  • Fake Defector: Derek fakes a Face–Heel Turn near the end when he learns of his heritage.
  • Flying Saucer: A very unique variation. The alien ship is basically a massive screw with a standard flying saucer as its head; when it lands, it drills into the ground until only the saucer part on top is visible.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Gargon is a giant alien lobster. It starts the film as a baby the size of a regular lobster, but quickly grows when exposed to Earth's biosphere, and doesn't stop growing. In its second appearance it's the size of a whale, and by the beginning of the climax it's grown to Kaiju sizes.
  • The Hero Dies: Derek is killed in the fleet crash.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Derek tricks the fleet bringing the Gargons to Earth into crashing to end the threat once and for all — while he's at ground zero.
  • Hostage Situation: Hoo boy. Thor alone probably takes over half a dozen people hostage over the course of the movie.
  • Human Aliens: Derek's people are pretty much indistinguishable from humans.
  • Jerkass: Thor's entire existence seems to revolve around being as much of an ass as possible.
  • Kaiju: The gargon in it's final appearance, almost the size of the mountain it's climbing over.
  • Keystone Army: The Supreme Leader, Derek's father, is noted as this in dialogue with the crew. his leaving their homeworld to visit his son on Earth is noted as risking their people's whole regime being overthrown. and since he and the other aliens die in the fleet crash at the end, the aliens are most likely now a Decapitated Army.
  • Kick the Dog: The first thing Thor does is disintegrate a little puppy that was passing by. Then he kicks everyone else in the cast.
  • Large Ham: King Moody was way into his role as Spaceship Captain!
  • Mr. Exposition:
    Spaceship Captain: "You have concern for foreign beings over our mission to locate grazing land for our Gargan herds?"
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Derek is the only member of his species who has any concern for the native species of Earth.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The aliens see themselves as the supreme race, and the weak are seen as a threat to the gene pool.
  • Never Trust a Title: Despite the title and posters, nothing in the film even suggests the aliens are supposed to be teenagers—even though Derek is obviously the youngest, he's assumed by humans to be old enough to rent his own room.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Dr. Brandt's nurse, Mrs. Morse, fixes up Thor's wounds when he who probably have died from blood loss, only for Thor to take her hostage, beat her, and coerce her into aiding him in his escape.
  • No Name Given: King Moody (better known as Ronald McDonald) as "Space Captain".
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The climax contains a massive invasion fleet of hundred upon hundreds of spaceships menacingly hovering over the town, descending and crashing simultaneously in a massive, cataclysmic fireball... offscreen. It's obvious that they only built one prop UFO and had no way of depicting an explosion, so we just get characters talking about the fleet and hiding from the blast.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX:
    • Again, that darn Atomic Disintegrator, which was a plastic toy with sometimes-visible label.
    • Also, one piece of equipment is an audio mixing board, with (yes) the label clearly visible. Dialogue tries to cover this up by calling it a "Tri-Dex Mixer".
  • Oh, Crap!: Multiple times, usually involving Thor or the Gargon.
    • People that Thor ends up pointing his raygun at usually have this moment for a few seconds before being Stripped to the Bone.
    • Betty calls her grandfather to warn him that Thor is dangerous. And then Thor shows up almost as soon as he hangs up.
    • Derek and Thor both have this reaction when the gargon breaks out of the cave and goes on a rampage.
  • Parental Abandonment: Despite Derek's romantic idealism of family, he's not yet been told that he is the son of "Our Leader".
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Virtually all the music used is actually stock music from the Capitol production library, much of it composed by Spencer Moore.
  • Putting on the Reich: "We are the supreme race! We have the supreme weapons!" ("We have the supreme pizzas!")
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Derek's people are blatant Space Nazis.
  • Seemingly-Wholesome '50s Girl: Betty
  • Shiny-Looking Spaceships: The alien ships.
  • Sky Face: Derek, after his sacrifice.
  • The Sociopath: Thor, a fanatical soldier willing to commit genocide to prove his species' superiority. Despite his fanaticism, he's not actually loyal to his commanders, willing to defy orders to take a deserter alive.
  • Space Clothes: The alien uniforms.
  • Spinning Paper: Played straight, although the paper doesn't actually spin. The Gargon's silhouette is also superimposed on the paper.
  • Spock Speak: "Let us implement contractions."
  • Stripped to the Bone: What the alien rayguns do to people.
  • Terminator Twosome: A rare space-travel example rather than a time-travel example, with Derek leaving to Earth society and Thor going after him.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Unlike the others, Derek cares for other species.