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Movies Kelly Parks Review by
Kelly Parks
Invisible Invaders
SHOULD YOU?
TIP JAR
INVISIBLE INVADERS - 1959
Columbia Pictures
Rated: USA: N/A

Inviso-phobia. That's probably not the correct Greek name for it but I've been afraid of invisible monsters since a particularly scary episode of Johnny Quest long, long ago. Which must be why I seek them out.

INVISIBLE INVADERS was written by Samuel Newman (GROUND ZERO, THE GIANT CLAW) and directed by Edward L. Cahn (IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE, INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN, ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU, THE SHE-CREATURE, CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN). It begins with narration telling us that the world is engaged in an "atom race" to produce ever more powerful weapons. Sometimes this race is dangerous, as we see when atomic scientist Karol Noymann (John Carradine: HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HOUSE OF DRACULA, THE HOWLING, THE BOGEYMAN, SHOCKWAVES, and many more) blows himself up.

Dr. Adam Penner (Philip Tonge), Noymann's friend and colleague, notifies the government that he doesn't want to work on weapons anymore and that all atomic research should be for peace. He points out that the explosion that killed Dr. Noymann sent radioactive particles out into space, with who knows what results?

Penner provides the eulogy at Noymann's funeral. Since stuff got blasted into space by the explosion you wouldn't think there'd be much left of him to bury but somehow his corpse is intact. Unnoticed by all, a heavy breathing, shuffling invisible creature watches from the bushes.

Later that night, after Penner's daughter Phyllis (Jean Bryon: THE MAGNETIC MONSTER) and Penner's associate (and Phyllis' "friend") John (Robert Hutton: TROG, THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE, THE SLIME PEOPLE), have left, there's a knock on the door. To Penner's stunned surprise, it's the animated corpse of his dead friend Noymann.

The invisible alien that has taken control of Noymann tells Penner the Earth has 24 hours to surrender. After that, the aliens, who have had bases on our moon for 20,000 years, will attack. They will animate millions of corpses all over the world and we will be overrun by our own dead.

Predictably (ha!), no one believes Penner. The aliens decide to provide another warning by causing a car crash and a plane crash and then animating the dead from both. This results in Penner being put back in charge of things and the military assigning hunky soldier Major Bruce Jay (John Agar: THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS, REVENGE OF THE CREATURE, NIGHTBREED) to assist.

Oh, very scary, kids!

Sorry, that slipped out. Anyway, the invasion begins and the dead attack the living which usually is pretty cool. But this time? First, let's pause for a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
If you're any kind of a science geek then you know that materials scientists have actually developed unusual "metamaterials"* that cause light to follow their surface such that anything they enclose is invisible (and not just Predator-good-camouflage invisible but actually invisible). So that part works.

What doesn't work is absolutely everything else. I'm a fan of the 50's black and white sci-fi/horror flicks but this is truly a bad one. Narration throughout not only breaks the most basic rule of movie making – "show, don't tell" – it slices it into chunks and uses them for fertilizer. Plot holes big enough to comfortably fit a family of six made me laugh out loud quite a few times. This is a truly low budget movie even for its kind and consisted largely of stock footage.

Which is why I give INVISIBLE INVADERS negative three shriek girls. But hold on a minute! There's something more we need to discuss. Not only is this plot idea vaguely similar to the much more so-bad-it's-good PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, it also seems to me like a good "explanation" for zombie plagues in general. Viruses and parasites are difficult to justify as explanations given the fact that zombies can have their hearts destroyed by gun fire and still keep going. Some "invisible" animating principle works much better.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2005 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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