“Halloween Twenty-Fifteen”: A Review of “Invisible Invaders” (1959)


“An unearthly enemy defying science, in a war-to-the-death of all civilization!” The only saving grace this film has is that you might be able to liken it to being the “Granddaddy” [or weird, estranged uncle] of zombie films, and surely an inspiration for George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Although this is a science-fiction film dealing with aliens, the creatures themselves have a familiar cheesy, zombie-like feel to them. The Invisible Invaders as the title refers to are aliens who have been hanging around planet earth for tens of thousands of years. They are completely invisible, except for when they decide to take over and reanimate the body of someone who is recently deceased. So there’s a little bit of Invasion of the Body Snatchers too.

One of the first victims is the character played by the legendary John Carradine who decided to appear in this film for God knows why. This is a movie that is not scary and barely even entertaining. I don’t think it would have been warmly regarded even in 1959. The only reason it scores what it does at the end of this review is because it is interesting to see how zombie story-lines developed and evolved throughout Hollywood history.

There is, of course, a team of scientists who set out to combat the invaders who are stealing lifeless bodies of humans in scores, and are trying to take over the world (after declaring that we mere mortals have just 24 hours to surrender the planet!), led by Jean Byron and John Agar. The latter of the two wades through the film in such an emotionless and dry stupor that I would not be surprised if someone snuck a little 420 into those L & M cigarettes he relentlessly chain-smokes during the movie in an obvious dose of 1950’s product placement. The makeup the invaders wear is comical at best, and the special effects are borderline C-level, even for the time period in which this was produced. At a mere 67 minutes running time, I found myself thinking that had it lasted another minute more, I would have reached through the screen to shoot myself with one of those highly practical “sound wave guns” which were essentially put together with chewing gum and duct tape, but were humanity’s last hope. Thank goodness for that. Directed by Edward Cahn.

5 out of 10 stars.

More articles in this special “Halloween Twenty-Fifteen” column can be found here.

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