Here’s two movies I watched that have huge selling points in their titles and that’s 100 % it.
Invasion Of The Saucer Men (1957) – See, it’s the 1950s, so filmgoers like monster movies and aliens and they’ll drive their cars to drive-in theaters and, the second it’s obvious that the movie doesn’t have the budget to show a monster like on a poster or a 50’s dame wearing a revealing outfit like on the same poster, they tune out and start making out with each other. Invasion Of The Saucer Men is exactly one of those disappointments whose only landmark feature is that it stars The Riddler from the Batman TV show, and it’s not worth looking up the rest. And The Riddler’s not even a main character. He’s a narrator at the beginning and a reluctant side character throughout. 30 year old teenagers are in lovers’ lane in small town USA and one couple drives off and runs over an alien. They’re like “ooh we ran over a creature” and then the alien’s fellow invaders, not kidding, FRAME the “teens” by removing the dead alien’s body and putting the body of someone who had an alcohol related heart attack in its place. That victim is one of two guys who have get rich schemes, the other being The Riddler, and the “teens” go to him to help them find the real killer(s) or whatever. Dude, if you are suspected by the police of killing my friend, I’m not taking you around the crime scene to help clear your name. I’m calling the cops. Anyway, the military shows up and talks about making first contact and pretends to engage in comedy by failing to open a fallen flying saucer. All attempts at comedy are delivered and met with weariness and disdain. Maybe there’s a parody going on here and uptight 50’s characters have more snark than what we assume from a gee-whiz sorta national innocence and optimism, but the movie poster demands action and danger and like the aliens and sexy girls, it does not deliver.
How do I know about this movie, and why did I watch it? It was remade nearly scene for scene, for some reason, as “Attack Of The (The) Eye Creatures,” which I’ve seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It also doesn’t star anyone I recognize or bothered to look up, sorry. It’s also played for wry laughs and fails. The Eye Creatures was producted by Larry Buchanan, who enjoyed being recognized for the crap he was belting out. He would later produce:
Mars Needs Women (1967) – One of the women that Mars needs is Yvonne Craig, aka Batgirl. Five Martians show up in America, pretend to be American males, and court with hypnotism several sexy 1960’s ladies including an exotic dancer (who gets a LOT of continuous shot screentime, which must have been one hellava selling point for the TV stations this debuted on) and Craig who is a scientist or something. Like Invasion Of The Saucer whatever, this was clearly something thought up and snowballed from the title, and little remaining thought went into it. Because it was by Buchanan, it showed up on my suggestions after watching Invasion, so I watched…most of it. The title would be more provocative if something, anything, of note happened. You get to watch all five aliens slowly climb out of their spaceship, and that’s not the scene that grinds this movie to a halt. It can’t come to a halt if it never leaves the station. I admit I did not finish this movie, so if Mars actually got women in the last 10 minutes and it was the best 10 minutes on film ever, I don’t know about it.
This should encourage you to write that screenplay and get a camera and some action figures and make movie magic. You will likely not do worse.
That said, I live in and grew up in a large metropolitan area, with public transportation that can take me a hundred miles, even to another state, if I planned properly. Plenty of movie theaters. I’m ‘coming of age’ in the late 80’s & 90’s and there were (and might still be) drive ins. A lot of tv & movies in the 70s & 80’s reference these years as pinnacle socializing via automobiles: drive in diners, drive in movie theaters, drive up makeout areas, all from the comfort from your car. Is that INSANE to anyone else? I still can’t fathom this. I live in too populated an area to drive and park a car with a date and get cozy enough to start making out without everyone in the neighborhood seeing what was going on. Also I have to get a date. I’ve been to one drive in, outside of Phoenix Arizona, a state known for wide open spaces to have enough cars to fill a parking lot and then never leave the parking lot to watch the movie. Ladies, I have plenty of space to make out at my place, is what I’m saying. We don’t even need to watch these movies.