Bryan Grant in Teenagers from Outer Space
Actor Bryan Grant as "Thor"
in Teenagers from Outer Space

Teenagers from Outer Space

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ABOUT THE PROJECT - 2

One day, sitting captivated in front of the television, I saw Teenagers from Outer Space for the first time. I dont remember the exact circumstances of that viewing, but I do remember, with a clarity reserved for only a few moments in my childhood, the sheer terror and thrill I felt when one of the aliens pointed a ray gun at a girl in a swimming pool and turned her into a skeleton. All I could think about was the finality of what the alien did to her. Nothing was left. At that time I had not experienced the death of anyone close to me and although Id seen people getting killed in movies before, none of the deaths had affected me as strongly as that ray gun blast. It was as though I understood for the first time the total finality of death.

Over the next five or six years, I watched Teenagers from Outer Space whenever it came on TV, which was often. As I entered high school and then went on to college, my movie watching become more diverse, but I never forgot that strange little black and white science fiction film that had so affected me. Eventually, I bought it on video, not necessarily to watch, but to have it near me, like a beloved stuffed animal or faded newspaper clippings about the high school plays Id been in. I knew nothing of the man who made the film or the actors in it or how the film came to be.

Then one day, a few years ago, I happened across a brief mention of the films director on a Web site. It suggested that Tom had cast his boyfriend in the lead role of Derek, the rebellious alien who saves Earth from invasion. Searching the Internet, I uncovered a few more references and learned about an article in the journal Scarlet Street that purported to tell the story behind Tom Graeff and the making of Teenagers from Outer Space. That article, written by Richard Valley and Jessie Lilley in 1993, kicked off my journey to uncover who Tom Graeff was and how he managed almost single handedly to get his films made.

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The film Teenagers from Outer Space is in the public domain. All stills taken from the film are not subject to copyright restrictions.