Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 62

Cinema Obscura - The Overlooked Gems of Cinema Invisible Invaders (1959) ByJeff Durkin Like any art, movies reflect the culture that they emerge from. Invisible Invaders, a low-budget alien invasion film, came from a culture with deep seated fears and insecurities. The ambiguities of the Cold War, concerns of nuclear proliferation, the tension between the military and the scientific community, attitudes towards pacifism and military preparedness and fears of communist infiltration of America are all on display. That these themes are sandwiched between moments of ludicrous melodramatics, scenery chewing acting, boring direction and bland cinematography and a lot of stock footage does not detract from them. The film opens with an accident in an atomic weapons lab, an explosion that kills Professor Karol Noymann (played by John Carradine). This leads Adam Penner (Philip Tonge) to resign from America’s nuclear weapons program because of the threat it represents to the human race. His family, friends and colleagues don’t understand why he thinks working on weapons that can destroy civilisation is a problem. His daugh- PAGE 62 ter Phyllis - played by Jean Byron - exemplifies this attitude, hoping “he gets over it.” The night after Noymann’s funeral, his reanimated corpse appears at Penner’s door, to deliver a message from the “Invisible Invaders.” The aliens - whose ships and bodies are invisible, hence the name, and who can possess human corpses - want Penner to tell the world that the human race must surrender in 24 hours or a massive invasion force will be launched from the Moon. The alien explains that they are going to attack because mankind is developing nuclear weapons and space travel and might be a threat to their “dictatorship of the universe.” The invasion commences; it consists of stock footage of various disasters, inter-cut with a few scenes of reanimated corpses lumbering about the countryside (all of whom are well-dressed, middle-aged white men). Our heroes (the Penners, fellow scientist John Lamont (Robert Hutton) and Air Force Major Bruce