Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Mighty Johns

The other day I watched a movie called Invisible Invaders. It was made in 1959 starring B movie stalwart John Agar and some other "so-you-think-you’re-an-actor" actors. I love these 1950s sci if movies. There's something about them that speaks to me, but let's be honest, on a competence level these are adults working at about a 3rd grade level.

This blog contains spoilers so if you were planning on watching this masterpiece on a special occasion in your warm pajamas with some soft brie cheese and a box of your favorite wine, stop reading NOW.

Invisible Invaders tells the heart warming story of a race of aliens that took over Earth's moon and now live there. Earthlings, with their rockets and nuclear bombs and easy bake ovens have become too advanced so they decide to conquer us. This is all told in one dull blob of exposition by one of the aliens to an Earth scientist. The alien is actually invisible but it inhabits the dead body of a scientist who’s played by John “I briefly had a respectable career” Carradine. The alien gives the scientist 24 hours to convince the world to surrender or be destroyed.

For some reason we humans refused to believe there were ancient invisible aliens living on the moon who wanted to enslave us. Go figure. The invasion begins with the aliens inhabiting dead bodies to wreak havoc on the world. They do this by setting fires and blowing up bridges and buildings. This being a film shot on a budget of $85 and a can of cheeseballs, this is all shown as zombies walking slowly on a sound stage followed by cut-in stock footage of firemen fighting a blaze or something blowing up. This movie is only 68 minutes long and 15-20 minutes is borrowed from other sources. The same images are used repeatedly. Intense, quality film making.

Something that bothered me was why they needed to inhabit the bodies at all. The John Carradine alien made a huge deal about them being invisible, so why make themselves visible? Why not pull all of your shenanigans while invisible? No explanation is given for this little question.

Eventually John Agar’s army major and two scientists end up locked in a military facility to protect themselves from the radioactive alien zombies. The scientists are tasked with finding a way to fight the aliens. The smarter of the two (and that’s not saying much since the other one has the IQ of a sea anemone) needs to study one of the aliens but that means capturing one. To engage this plan, John Agar needs to go outside among the radioactivity so he dons his protective suit which is a pair of painters’ pants and a bee keepers’ mask.

The first attempt to catch an alien goes awry so a second attempt is made. Agar has to take the dumber scientist out with him. When the doctor protests that there’s only one radiation suit, Agar assures him that the cab of the truck will protect him. I was expecting a thick, heavy military vehicle with a lead-lined cab. Nope, it’s Grandpa’s pick-up truck, the one he uses to transport the chickens to market. And let’s say for argument’s sake it does protect you from radiation, when Agar opens the door to get out, aren’t you now negating the protection by allowing radiation inside? Yes. Yes, you are.

The movie goes on for a while longer, ends abruptly and stupidly with more useless stock footage and sub plots never resolved. The important thing to remember though is that after the inevitable nuclear holocaust, the earth will be repopulated by the only survivors: painters, bee keepers and Ford F-150 owners. Very sad.

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