Invisible Invaders (1959)

“Unless Earth surrenders within 24 hours, we will begin a massive invasion.”

Invisible Invaders Poster

Synopsis:
When invisible aliens from the moon embody corpses as part of a plan to take over the Earth, it’s up to scientists Dr. Penner (Philip Tonge) and Dr. Lamont (Robert Hutton) to discover an effective weapon against them.

Genres:

Review:
This low budget sci-fi thriller features many classic tropes of 1950s cinema, including a mysterious invasion by aliens, threat of world domination, nuclear experimentation gone awry, and a beautiful young woman (Jean Byron) whose only real function in the film is to serve as a supportive love interest. Interestingly, an initial subplot about a scientist (John Carradine) who blows himself up while conducting research on atomic energy turns out to be little more than the narrative catalyst which brings the aliens down to Earth; atomic research is thus posited as a defining frontier which finally marks humankind as a threat to its more advanced intergalactic neighbors.

As to be expected for a B-budget film of this caliber, the special effects in Invisible Invaders are lame, and the acting is mostly sub-par. Fortunately, B-regular John Agar (who sounds uncannily like John Wayne) is suitably cast as the no-nonsense major, and British Philip Tonge (in one of his final roles) somehow manages to make campy lines such as “We need time… They must give it to us! They must!” and “Cyclic pulsations? It doesn’t make any sense at all!” sound semi-natural. It should also be noted that Invisible Invaders is a clear thematic precursor to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and will probably be of interest to sci fi/horror fans for this reason alone.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Philip Tonge as Dr. Penner
    Invisible Invaders Tonge
  • John Agar as no-nonsense Major Jay
    Invisible Invaders Agar
  • A laughably hokey voiceover narration: “The walking dead were everywhere now — a vast army of destruction that could not be killed!”

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended for those who enjoy campy, ultra-low-budget sci-fi flicks. It’s listed in the back of Peary’s book as a Camp Classic.

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One Response to “Invisible Invaders (1959)”

  1. A very enjoyable must! I imagine one thing genuine ffs have in common is a healthy sense of humor. And here’s a proper feeding for it!

    This isn’t really a spoiler, cause the movie’s point is laid out early on: what if the nations on Earth really did unite for the purpose of achieving world peace?; if only out of fear that, if they didn’t – and if they didn’t maintain peace, aliens would be on the alert to destroy Earth?

    It’s one thing to deal with the silence of an invisible God, who allows the use of free will to be played out to its ultimate conclusion. But knowing that some very real Big Brother force out there is ready to ‘slap you upside the head’ if you don’t play nice and get along…?

    Thus, the film’s compelling premise. Could that have been put on-screen in a manner that isn’t laughable? I don’t know why not – if a little more thought had gone into it. Alas, this being a very-low-budget flick, ‘more thought’ apparently wasn’t affordable. What we have instead (and, in a way, fortunately) is a deliriously loopy flick that takes full advantage of its admirable story idea while (unintentionally, of course) tickling our funny bones.

    (And, now that I think of it, this could just be the poor – the very poor – man’s ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’. Nothing wrong with repeating *that* message, is there?)

    Say what you will about the film’s flaws but, in a manner that almost seems, gee, heroic!, everyone on-board took it all very seriously, meeting the challenges of the budget (and the script!) head-on. It’s not like you spend your time thinking of how god-awful the whole thing is. Yes, it’s B-movie stuff – yes, the narration is (sometimes wonderfully) hokey – but I sure did get swept up in this gem!

    And, yes, if you’re having a group in…a double-bill with ‘Night of the Living Dead’ is the way to go with it!

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