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Film / Teenagers from Outer Space

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Spaceship Captain: The High Court may sentence you to TORTURE!
Mystery Science Theater 3000 in unison: TOR-CHAA!!!

Teenagers from Outer Space is a 1959 SF Cult Classic B-Movie written, directed and produced by Tom Graeff. A pair of men from outer space land their spaceship on Earth, and they decide that this is the perfect planet to begin 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. Then 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) and flees to a small town nearby. There he meets Betty — the most Fifties girl in that Fifties world. 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 the homeworld anymore. Meanwhile, the gargons have grown huge and have to be destroyed.


Shot for $14,000, which in technical film terms is no money at all even by '50s standards. It shows. Even so, the film has serious science fiction writing even for now, exploring themes that are still relevant today. Their ideas outstripped their ability to afford to depict them credibly on screen.

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

The movie is considered 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.


Teenagers From Outer Space contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Cool Old Lady: The nurse! Defies Thor at risk to her own life, then leaps out of a moving car to escape.
  • 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 plant. "Our Leader" himself ends up hatching a scheme to convince Derek to return to their planet after he learns he's his son.
  • Expy: Derek is clearly based on Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), an alien invader who gains sympathy for the 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?"
  • 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 the posters, nothing in the film even suggests the aliens are supposed to be teenagers—even though Derek is the obviously youngest one, he's assumed by humans to be old enough to rent his own room.
  • No Name Given: King Moody (better known as Ronald McDonald) as "Space Captain".
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: the film's 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".
  • 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 of the music used in the film 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.
  • 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.


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