Invisible Invaders (1959) starring John Agar, John Carradine, Jean Byron, Philip Tonge, Robert Hutton
When stock footage attacks! Actually, Invisible Invaders is a better movie than that. It’s clear upon watching that it was done on a shoestring budget, with ample use of stock footage, footage from documentaries, etc. The basic plot has literally invisible invaders. Aliens, who previously ignored Earth, but have now taken notice since the atomic age. And they demand surrender to their invisible empire. Or they will animate corpses and use them to cause vast devastation while being immune to any damage. A small group of scientists and one military man need to band together, find the aliens’ weakness, and fight back.
Admittedly, the basic plot’s been done before. But, despite the low budget, the acting is quite good, and the basic characters are interesting, and more fleshed-out than we typically see in such films. They include:
Cast of characters
- Dr. Noymann (John Carradine, House of Frankenstein): an atomic researcher who is killed at the outset of the film. The aliens initially use his corpse to contact
- Dr. Adam Penner (Philip Tonge, Hans Christian Andersen): a former atomic researcher. He questions the destruction caused by his research and walks away from it. Before the aliens use the corpse of his friend and colleague to contact him. He isn’t initially believed by
- His daughter Phyllis (Jean Byron, The Patty Duke Show), who initially thinks that he’s overwrought after the funeral of his old friend; at the same funeral is Dr. Penner’s friend and former student
- Dr. John Lamont (Robert Hutton, Destination: Tokyo), who thinks initially that Dr. Penner is simply upset. Until the aliens attack, and they all have to work in a secret military laboratory, protected by
- Major Bruce Jay (John Agar, Tarantula), an Air Force veteran who begins to fall in love with Phyllis, and conflict with Dr. Lamont
There are several things worth noting, as far as the plot and acting. Unlike so many of these science fiction movies, the brilliant scientists’ first plan simply doesn’t work. However, they learn from it, and it leads to eventual success. The military man isn’t a one-dimensional killer. When forced to kill a civilian, he clearly regrets it. And he carries that burden with him. Likewise, Dr. Lamont isn’t a hero, he’s a scientist. He has a moment when he tries to surrender to the aliens. And afterward, he’s repentant of his weakness, forgiven by the others, and the group moves forward. Lesser actors would have made that unrealistic. In several respects, Invisible Invaders reminds me of Ray Harryhausen’s Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, and that’s a compliment.