So Bad It’s Good: Teenagers from Outer Space

Yes. This is a giant lobster from outer space. Image: Morbid Movies

Don’t laugh: We genuinely like the Z-Grade film, Teenagers from Outer Space (1959).

We immediately fell in love with it when our pal Debbi, from I Found it at the Movies, featured it as part of her Bad Film Series.

What? You’ve never heard of this film? Well, you’re in for a Treat.

Teenagers from Outer Space is a (very) low-budget horror/sci-fi flick about alien invaders who want to use earth as a breeding ground for their main source of food, Gargons. Gargons look like giant lobsters. (See photo, above.)

The alien scouting team is comprised of four members – a middle-aged captain and three teenage research technicians. They travel through the universe in this spaceship:

High-tech space travel. Image: IMDb

The aliens are visiting earth because the gargons have depleted the resources of other planets and they need a new home.

However, one of the teenagers, Derek (David Love), realizes earth has intelligent life and argues the gargons should not be harvested here. Because he is a principled space invader, Derek refuses to participate in the operation and runs away.

The captain is Greatly Annoyed by this – Grr! Teenagers! – and tasks another crew member, Thor (Bryan Grant), with capturing Derek and eliminating everyone with whom he comes in contact.

Thor is no fan of Derek, and he’s delighted with this Search-and-Destroy Mission.

Don’t mess with Thor. Image: Naturalistic! Uncanny! Marvelous!

Now, you’ve probably noticed these actors are too old to be teenagers. It doesn’t matter! In a film with gargons and murderous aliens, these are unimportant details.

Derek makes his way to a nearby town. We cringe every time he talks to someone, because we know Thor will Track Them Down.

Thor, incidentally, has a special Ray Gun that evaporates flesh. Here’s the Unfortunate Result:

What happened to the Professor?! Image: IMDb

As you’ve guessed from the above photo, Derek has changed out of his alien outfit and wears more suitable clothing thanks to Betty (Dawn Bender), the girl in the white dress.

This is rollicking fun, no?

Here’s the thing. We (yours truly) always get too involved in this film because of Betty’s Grandpa (Harvey B. Dunn). Grandpa is a kind-hearted, generous man who takes people at face value. Any friend of Betty’s is a friend of his.

Grandpa doesn’t tease Derek about his outfit. Image: Pink Flamingo Cinema

Dunn, who plays Grandpa, is about as bad an actor as everyone else in this film. Also: Nobody here uses contractions in their speech, which makes the bad acting seem worse.

But back to Dunn-as-Grandpa. His jovial nature gives the film heart, and we desperately hope Thor does not find him!

Thor finds Grandpa! Image: Sci-Fi Movie Page

Added to this are reports of a giant creature roaming outside of town. Turns out the gargon has grown to a colossal size, thanks to earth’s abundant resources.

Derek and Betty have a time of it, dodging Thor, searching for the gargon, and trying to disable the Focusing Disintegrator.

Poor Alice meets Thor. Image: gifopolis

This may be a Z-Grade film with bad acting and stilted speech, but there’s a lot of action. When you think about it, this is an ambitious work for a paltry $14,000 budget (approx. $148,000 today).

IMDb lists some of the production shortcuts in this film, such as trimming the alien costumes with masking tape and creating alien “boots” by wearing socks over men’s dress shoes.

Tom Graeff as Joe. Image: Listal

Teenagers from Outer Space was the brainchild of Tom Graeff, who plays a reporter named Joe. He wrote, directed and produced the film, but couldn’t get it distributed until he sold it to Warner Bros. – for less than what it cost to make. The film was released to drive-in theatres as the second half of a double bill, and was a box office dud.

Critics were not kind in their reviews, although the Los Angeles Times noted, “what a curious little film this is […] there are flashes of astonishing sensitivity half buried in the mass of tritisms.”¹

Meanwhile, two of Graeff’s investors sued him to recoup their $5,000 investment.² Graeff suffered a mental breakdown and committed suicide in 1970.

Fortunately, his odd, wonderful film is readily available online and on DVD, and we urge you to see it. You might be pleasantly surprised.


¹Wikipedia. (Retrieved February 20, 2019.) Teenagers from Outer Space.

This post is part of THE SO BAD IT’S GOOD BLOGATHON hosted by Taking Up Room.

Teenagers from Outer Space: starring David Love, Dawn Bender, Bryan Grant. Written & directed by Tom Graeff. Tom Graeff Productions, 1959, B&W, 86 mins.



  1. They used to run this movie at random times on a local college’s TV station, and I always had to watch at least a few minutes whenever I happened to come across it. It never ceased to entertain.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. All us Harvey B. Dunn fans know him well from his masterful portrayal of the Police Chief with a pet bird perpetually perched on his shoulder (for absolutely no reason!!) in the Ed Wood/Bela Lugosi classic “Bride of the Monster”!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I saw this movie! It takes itself way too seriously, but I found it watchable. And yeah, the alien lobsters are truly sad, but I found myself willing to forgive the cheapness of it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That ray gun reminds me of a clip they used from this film in “It Came From Hollywood”. Dan Aykroyd is doing the voice over and the scene where they use the gun on the dog is shown. And Aykroyd says “On Earth we throw a dog a bone. We don’t turn him IN TO bone…” I watched this several years ago BB (Before Blog). I need to dig it out and watch it again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Poor Mr. Graeff – this sounds too fabulous! Seriously, you had me with the screenshot of the Giant Exulting Lobster. Is there anything better than cheesy 50’s sci-fi? The Giant Claw, The Brain from Planet Arous…great, mindless, silly fun. I must see this one!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ah, I remember TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE from my youth! It’s not as good as THE SPIDER nor TEENAGE CAVEMAN (with Robert Vaughn no less)…but they would make a great triple-feature! Thanks for reminding me of this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m so sad about the director’s fate that I almost feel bad for laughing while reading your post. Well, at least we’ll always have lobsters from outer space.
    Thanks for the kind comment!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is sad to learn what happened to writer/director Tom Graeff. I think he could have done some interesting films if he had a real budget.

      But you’re right – we’ll always have the lobsters from outer space!


Start Singin', Mac!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.