In the torrent of celluloid turned out by hard-driving B director Edward L. Cahn, a handful of his genre efforts stand out as remarkable in one regard or another. For instance, beyond its frayed edges, one senses a great deal of tension woven into the visual fabric of It! The Terror From Beyond Space. Likewise, rapid-fire grade B outings, such as She Creature and Girls in Prison, are invested with an intrinsic energy that's hard to miss.

All the above qualities are extant in what is arguably both Cahn's most industrious and laughable film, Invasion of the Saucer Men (1958). Its elements of humor are heavy-handed and cringe-worthy, its horror ingredients are, more often than not, clumsily drawn. But its crapshoot combination of bad vaudeville, fatuous sci fi and hot-rodding teens is stitched onto a hokily fast-moving script that Cahn lensed in his typical breakneck fashion.

Most of those involved were well-versed in the J.D. genre. Cahn had recently wrapped Dragstrip Girl and Motorcycle Gang. Steve Terrell, fresh from the set of Hot Rod Girl, was on hand, as was Gloria Castillo, no doubt pooped from fighting off the advances of the Teenage Monster that same year.

The plot, basically one more 'cry wolf' story, conveys the vain pleadings of these torpid teens whose ignorant adult overseers simply won't buy their terror-filled tale of an alien invasion.

Enlisting the one adult who reluctantly agrees to aid them -- a seedy salesman, played by Space Patrol's Lynn Osborn -- it's up to our rockin' protagonists to save the world, employing their chopped and channeled street rods to this very end.

Hardly helping matters is Frank Gorshin as Osborne's unbearably annoying partner. This obnoxious character has "victim" written all over him and it isn't long before he's done in by alcohol poisoning. It seems the alien's scaly mitts are pronged with booze-injecting needles, and the scene containing Gorshin's demise provides the film with its few spooky seconds.

The bulb-headed invaders were once again the creation of rubber-suit sultan Paul Blaisdell. Their veined craniums and sinewy claws are certainly one of the more indelible sci fi cinema images to emerge from a decade already crowded with cheap creatures. Filling out the saucer threads were a team of short-statured thespians, genre veteran Angelo Rossito prominent among them. Also noteworthy is western character stalwart Raymond Hatton as the gun-totin' curmudgeon who lives near the steaming teens' favorite make-out spot.

One of the more promising teens stars, Gloria Castillo, stood out in the typically thankless role of the squeamish heroine. She'd made her debut in an impeccable film, Charles Laughton's lyrical Night of the Hunter (1955). As Rose, an affection-starved orphan nearly tempted from the steadying hand of mothering Lillian Gish, she held her own in a film clearly dominated by Robert Mitchum's fierce performance. She made only a handful of films in an unjustly brief career. Those profiled below are bona fide cult gems:

Teenage Monster (1958)
Castillo is the conniving bad girl in his truly offbeat flick, qualifying as the only J.D.-horror-sci fi-western. Charlie, the aforementioned monster teen is struck by a meteor as a child, maturing into the hirsuted, growling man-child whom Gloria woos in order to get within glomming distance of his momma's gold.

Acting: B-
Atmosphere: D
Fun: A

Reform School Girl (1958)
Another good bad-girl role for Ms. Castillo, as one of several reform dorm femmes manipulated by sleazy, smarmy Edd "Kooky" Byrnes. Gloria's noteworthy cellmates include Sally Kellerman and saucy Yvette Vickers. For hardcore trivia hounds, the flick also features Ed BURNS and was directed by Ed BERNDS.

Acting: B-
Atmosphere: B-
Fun: A-

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