johnlink ranks INVISIBLE INVADERS (1959)

I’ve had an annoying cough the last few days which has me kept awake at night until I’m completely exhausted. Rather than cough horizontally for 67 minutes tonight, I decided to do something far more useful: watch the 1959 sci-fi film INVISIBLE INVADERS. Which activity would be more entertaining was a toss-up going in…

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I watched INVISIBLE INVADERS (1959) on 1.6.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

“The dead will kill the living and the people of Earth will cease to exist. That is the message you will bring to your people.” An invisible alien inhabiting the body of a dead scientist (who was blown up in an ‘atom bomb’ experiment, but he looks fine) tells our the peace loving Dr. Adam Penner (Philip Tonge). Apparently this invisible alien race wiped all life off the moon 20,000 years ago and has been living there… invisibly… ever since. They laughed at the puny human species for awhile. But since the lowly Earthlings were contemporaneously (in 1959) starting to engage in the space race, those aliens couldn’t sit idly by and watch it happen. So that single alien gave that single human 24 hours to get the entire human race to surrender to the aliens. Suffice it to say, the human race doesn’t believe Dr. Penner.

Watching the invisible aliens move in this film is not particularly scary. They drag their feet slowly and because they are, you know – invisible, the effect is mounds of dirt slowly moving across the ground. These scenes, wether the aliens end up in the body of a dead man or as a disembodied voice, come across as a terribly written ghost of Jacob Marley. Eventually, they make their way to a hockey game where they choke a play-by-play announcer and then make a warning over the PA system. I’m not sure why they aliens had to ruin a perfectly good hockey game, but this time the humans believe the aliens rather than thinking some crazy dude stumbled into an announcer’s booth.

Soon some buildings are blown up and the aliens become zombie like things that wander around and threaten the existence of humans. It all escalates real quickly as we learn that Holland, Finland, and Russia are blown up. Because if you are taking out the Earth, make sure you eliminate the Finnish first and everyone else later.

After all of this happens, and as the movie gets moving, the choice is made to stash the four main characters in a bunker while they watch the zombie aliens wander around on a new fangled closed circuit TV (and a CCTV with the ability to make edits and do close ups just like the rest of the movie, no less). Then they all talk and the army guy hits on the standard sci-fi girl. This goes on for awhile longer than should be allowed in a 67 minute movie before the sciency people tell us all of the things they are about to do before doing them. They eventually move outside and fight the things. But, sadly, it never really gets to be anything resembling an interesting or intense movie. Just to make sure that can’t happen, though, they go back to the bunker for most of the rest of the movie. In that bunker they try and figure out how to stop the aliens using some kid’s chemistry set:

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Science fiction in this era was often used as a thinly veiled shot at Communism. There might be an assumption that this is one such movie. The idea of good Americans being taken over by an unseen force that wants to ruin our way of life is sort of the standard plot of such a film. But INVISIBLE INVADERS is not this kind of movie. Russia gets eliminated pretty early, in fact. The movie, instead, seems to be a sort of anti-science movie which warns that we shouldn’t be too quick to explore space lest we awaken the ire of these aliens. It masks this somewhat in the idea that we shouldn’t be  using science in the pursuit of building bombs to annihilate each other and I suppose you won’t get any argument from me on that point.

The acting in this movie is what you’d expect from a second-tier sic-fi movie of the 50s. Some actors are passable, others barely seem able to deliver coherent lines. A narrator stoically tells us this story in a past tense, taking much of the immediacy out of the film. Often times this narrator tells us exactly what is happening as it is happening as if we, as an audience, are too dense to comprehend what we are seeing. Really, there is no one of note to compliment in the entirety of this film.

So, I suppose what I am getting at here is that INVISIBLE INVADERS is pretty terrible. There are numerous fun or interesting or scary sic-fi flicks from this era of filmmaking. But this movie is definitely none of those things.

SCORES

FILM: 3; MOVIE: 4; ACTING: 3; WRITING: 2

3+4+3+2+0=12

FINAL SCORE: 3 out of 10

 

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~ by johnlink00 on January 6, 2015.

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