I can count on one hand the number of times I've either walked out of a movie at the theater or turned one off on TV. I can endure almost anything. I came awfully close recently, though, when watching Invasion of the Star Creatures (1962). If not for my commitment to this website, I would never have gotten through it. And now that I did, I feel like I should be committed.
My instinct is to say that it's bad… one of the worst movies I've ever seen. But to be fair, I don't know if that's simply because I despise the type of slapstick humor that fills it. Make no mistake; it's a comedy. Rather, it's supposed to be a comedy. It focuses on the excruciating antics of two soldiers, not the danger that a crashed UFO and its inhabitants present to our planet Earth.
Abbott & Costello could do it, but Robert Ball and Frank Ray Perilli? Who? Perilli is Private Penn, the equivalent of Bud Abbott and Ball is Private Philbrick, the equivalent of Lou Costello. I thought maybe they were a lesser known comedy team, but not that I can tell. Ball has several acting credits, including some genre fare, but Perilli was mostly a writer.
Perilli can't be blamed for writing this; that would actually be another actor from a horror comedy "classic," The Little Shop of Horrors, Jonathan Haze. Haze was originally intended to star in Invasion of the Star Creatures, but, for some reason (I'd like to think of his own choosing), he did not. Bruno VeSota (The Brain Eaters, 1958) directed it.
This movie is odd… it's almost like a modern spoof of a late 1950s/early 1960s B-movie. I'm not aware of an actual late 1950s/early 1960s comedy with opening credits like these: "R.I. Diculous presents An Impossible Picture", "Committed by", and "This is a true story. Only the facts have been completely distorted." It doesn't feel like an authentic sensibility of the era.
Also, the dialogue and script are completely riddled with 1960s clichés. I wouldn't think people at the time would be so self-aware about them. For that matter, the film quality of the print I watched on Comet TV was so clean and clear that it didn't look like many movies they show that are nearly 60 years old.
I will say that I reached a point during the viewing where my senses were deadened and I finally grew accustomed to its nonsense. This could have been the point where I realized I was over the hump and it would soon be ending. I can in no way recommend that anyone watch it, but I would be interested in knowing what fans of poorly executed juvenile humor think about it.
Written by Jonathan Haze
Directed by Bruno VeSota
Starring Robert Ball, Frank Ray Perilli, Gloria Victor, Dolores Reed
Released May 20, 1962 (Alton, Illinois) RT 70 min.
Home Video MGM Home Entertainment
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