Invisible Invaders (1959)

InvisibleInvadersPosterThere’s really no way to overstate how feeble Invisible Invaders is. Even genre stalwart John Carradine is smart enough to get blown up in the opening frames, reappear briefly as a zombie (he’s very convincing as a dead guy), then disappear entirely from things.

Dr. Adam Penner is a man who believes that the governments of the world shouldn’t be working on nuclear weapons and should instead be working together in an effort to bring peace to the planet. I’m sure your invisible masters from outer space will appreciate that, you traitor! You know, when we outlaw radioactive weapons of mass destruction, only invisible invaders will have radioactive weapons of mass destruction!

Penner is visited by a zombiefied John Carradine. Carradine announces that he is really an invisible invader who is inhabiting this dead Earth man’s body and that his race of aliens who live on the moon have determined that since we have entered the nuclear age, we will be destroyed unless we surrender in twenty-four hours.

If you were trying to generate some buzz for your pending alien invasion, would you really leave it all in the hands of a guy who just quit his job because he disagreed with this great country’s policy of peace through strength and deterrence? Wouldn’t this guy just be regarded as a laughingstock or crank? Yes, as a matter of fact he would just as the faux newspaper headlines point out in the next scene.

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The aliens quickly realize the error of their ways when their alien invasion is laughed off. Figuring that if you want an alien invasion to start off right, you need to do it yourself, they begin taking over the bodies of people and using them to announce the alien invasion.

And where do they decide to make this big announcement? At the United Nations? On all the cable news channels? At the Golden Globes? Nope. They take over the press box at a hockey game and in between calls of icing and announcing that someone left the lights on in his Ford Fairlane out in the parking lot, they declare the invasion is officially on! My God! There must have been seventy people in the crowd! And you know that at least half of them were wasted on Molson or LaBatt’s!

Eventually, they just decide to begin the invasion even though its beginning was only carried on ESPN2. There’s some scary blather about how the dead are going to wipe out the living and the next thing you know, zombies are stumbling around and apparently burning down buildings and blowing up dams. I say apparently because all you really see is a bunch of stock footage of stuff burning up, buildings collapsing, and firefighters pouring water on raging infernos. I thought I was just watching my local news during sweeps or something.

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Is there no man who will stand up to these living dead firebugs? Though he’s undercover as Major Bruce Jay, there’s no mistaking John Agar’s (Tarantula) ability to quickly learn lines and concoct wild schemes that see him going toe to toe against a zombie in a radiation suit with a fire extinguisher strapped to his back!

Major Bruce is assigned to help Dr. Penner and Dr. John Lamont find a way to defeat the aliens. Major Bruce decides that what they need to do is capture an alien so they can figure out how to defeat it. This involves the creation of a special acrylic spray that will harden into plastic and seal the alien in the corpse it’s inhabiting because the aliens must be absorbed through the pores of the dead bodies. Well duh! Like they had to explain that to me!

Once they get the plastified corpse with the alien inside hauled back to the lab, the boys have to try and figure out what to do next. Luckily it isn’t long before Dr. Lamont’s yellow streak rears its cowardly head and he attempts to let the alien loose so that he can cut a deal with it.

Major Bruce gets into a physical altercation with Lamont and in the course of the brawling he-man action something gets thrown against a bunch of electrical equipment and everything starts blowing up. This hurts the alien and everyone quickly determines that their weak spot must be sound waves!

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I have no problem ignoring the total lack of logic to any of this since it means that Major Bruce is going to invent a big sound gun and have Dr. Lamont drive him around in a van while Major Bruce lies on top of it shooting aliens with the supersonic weapon they cobbled together from parts lying around their underground bunker.

You don’t need me to tell you that this movie didn’t make any sense. That fact pretty much lumbers around stiffly for its sixty-seven minutes like the corpse of John Carradine. If you were a race of invisible beings bent on taking over the world, why choose to achieve that goal by possessing the bodies of dead people so that you can wreck buildings and public utilities? Why not just stay invisible and do whatever you wanted? No one would even know the destruction was intentional that way.

And if you think you can be dictator of the universe, why bother with Earth at all? And why would you be stupid enough to wait until we had nuclear weapons to take us out?

Director Edward L. Cahn was capable of some decent science fiction movies like It! The Terror From Beyond Space and fun ones like Invasion Of The Saucer-Men, but Invisible Invaders is just moronic nonsense that feels even more dashed off than is usually the case with these types of things. Maybe that’s because it was. Cahn’s filmography lists this as one of seven movies he directed in 1959. (He made around 20 more movies in the next two years, too!)

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