Sunday, December 11, 2016

Invisible Invaders

Hooboy, is this a turkey! Nuclear scientist Karol Noymann (John Carradine, who has very little screen time) blows himself up in his laboratory. His collegue Dr. Penner (Phillip Tonge, who died days after completing shooting) is stunned when Noymann comes a-knockin’ at the door the night of his funeral, a bit pasty-faced, but able to walk and talk.

Only he ain’t really Noymann. He’s actually an emissary for a group of aliens who have been spying on Earth from their hidden base on our moon. Oh yeah, and he’s really invisible and just using Noymann’s corpse as a vessel. And he has arrived in an invisible spaceship, which is a pathetic concept, but great on penny-pinching producer Robert E. Kent’s special effects budget. INVISIBLE INVADERS was produced in six days for $118,000.

Noymann gives Penner a message: the governments of Earth have 24 hours to surrender, or else his people will destroy us. Of course, Penner becomes a laughing stock—his own daughter Phyllis (Jean Byron, later on THE PATTY DUKE SHOW) and her sort-of boyfriend Dr. Lamont (Robert Hutton) barely believe him, and Earth’s leaders merely mock him.

Hopefully, Penner remembered to say “I told you so” when the invisible aliens begin reanimating the corpses of Earthlings and sending them shambling out to wreak all kinds of havoc, like crashing cars and planes and blowing lots of stuff up. Teaming up with no-nonsense Army Major Jay (John Agar, who else?), the Penners and Lamont barricade themselves in a bunker located in Bronson Caverns, while working against time to develop a method for stopping the invasion.

Carradine really got off easy, since he got to shoot all his scenes in a day and go home. Everyone else had to stick around for the seven or eight days it must have taken to film this dreck. Filled with somnabulent performances, mucho stock footage (some of which does contain nice miniature work—and the rolling car crash from THUNDER ROAD), non-existent special effects, and static direction by good ol’ Edward L. Cahn (CURSE OF THE FACELESS MAN), INVISIBLE INVADERS fails to work on any level.

Although the fate of the whole world is in danger, we never see anything outside of Griffith Park, and the four protagonists have barely any contact with other living beings. Screenwriter Samuel Newman also penned THE GIANT CLAW — even worse than INVISIBLE INVADERS — and several Jungle Jim movies. Cahn and producer Robert E. Kent made 31 movies together, including THE FOUR SKULLS OF JONATHAN DRAKE, which played with INVISIBLE INVADERS on a United Artists double bill.


Tex said...

This is another of those movies with a poster that looks like more effort was put into it than the work it's promoting.

Makes me wish someone would write/film stories based on the posters from these movies.

Yet another GREAT review! Keep 'em coming!

(and don't forget to do more Star Trek reviews before the Anniversary year is gone)

Grant said...

One funny moment is the way one of the aliens possessing a human body announces that they've arrived on Earth. He goes to a hockey game, kills the sports reporter, and takes over his microphone to make the announcement. No matter what else is wrong with this movie, that has to be a one of a kind scene.