Invisible Invaders (1959) Directed by Edward L Cahn. Responsible for 2 of my favorite films of the 50s It, The Terror From Beyond Space 1958 and The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake 1959
Stars the ever present John Agar (Tarantula 1955, Brain From Planet Arous 1957) as Major Bruce Jay.
Philip Tonge (Miracle on 34th Street 1947, Witness For The Prosecution 1957) as Dr. Adam Penner. His role as Adam Penner was the final role for Philip Tonge. He died on January 28 1959 before this film went into release on May 15 (shooting began December 11, 1958)
Jean Byron as Phyllis Penner (The Magnetic Monster 1953 tv actress, mom on The Patty Duke Show, Pat in the Columbo episode Ransom for a Dead Man 1971)
and Robert Hutton (Tales From The Crypt 1972 Trog 1972 The Vulture, The Slime People 1963) as Dr John Lamont and a small part by Hal Torey (Earth vs The Spider, The Cosmic Man) as a local Farmer turned dead man walking.
And of course the inimitable John Carradine as Karol Noymann, a dead scientist inhabited by the lead invisible.
Released May 15th, 1959 Double billed with The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake. Music by Paul Dunlop offers up a very science eerie sonic landscape. Written by Samuel Newman and Philip Sheer is responsible for the very effective re-animated corpse make-up.
Invisible Invaders predates Night of The Living Dead 1968 by 9 years.
Night Of The Living Dead offered up more of a variety of local dead folk, some even in their boxer shorts and nightgowns.
From the book Interviews with Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers. Writers Producers, Directors, Actors Moguls and Makeup by Tom Weaver. McFarland Press. On page 11 interview with John Agar.
Asking John Agar how much guidance he got from Ed Cahn on the set of Invaders.
Agar says “Edward Cahn was Mr Speed-O He’d jump and almost get in the shot before he’d yell “cut” But in all fairness, I have to say that directors like Eddie Cahn Didn’t really have a chance. They had a schedule to contend with and they wanted those films finished ka-boom. I think he did the best he could with the time he had. but in something like Invisible Invaders, it’s pretty much learn the lines and get’em out. They just didn’t have the money to stay there and work on it.”
A silly fun fact:
In the film, John Carradine’s character is named Dr. Karol Noymann. In the ending cast list, his character is listed as Carl Noymann
An alien contacting scientist Adam Penner in the form of the corpse of Karol Noymann famous scientist killed in a laboratory experiment comes knocking on Penner’s door. The disembodied voice of Noymann informs Penner that they have been on the moon for twenty thousand years, undetected due to their invisibility, and have now decided to annihilate humanity unless all the nations of Earth surrender immediately. Hiding out in an impenetrable laboratory bunker trying to find the key to the aliens’ invisibility and thus penetrating their weakness, Penner, his daughter, a pragmatic army major, and a squeamish scientist are attacked from outside the cave bunker by the aliens, who have occupied the bodies of the recently deceased.
This is one of those 50s sci-fi films where the military is working with science and not in conflict with it, to defeat a common enemy invader that threatens to destroy our world.
The opening sequence starts with a mushroom cloud. What I call “the control voice” not unlike The Outer Limits, dons the cautionary tale tone for us “Since the first revelation of the atom at Hiroshima in 1945. The United States England and Russia have more and more been experimenting with increasingly more deadly weapons. Every day there’s more concentration on the race for atoms supremacy. Sometimes machines and men such as Karol Noymann are driven beyond the line of endurance”
This is illustrated by a frame of Noymann (Carradine) in his laboratory looking at a beaker of fluid, hovering over a flask of dark liquid. surrounded by tubes and the various regalia in the scientist’s lair.
“And when that happens.”
Suddenly the screen explodes in a burning white cloud of smoke. Now we see a newspaper article with the headline NOTED SCIENTIST KILLED IN ATOM LAB EXPLOSION.
There is some stock footage of the Pentagon and the control voice continues to fill us in.
“In Washington, there begins an intense discussion by high-ranking officials.”
General Stone played by Paul Langton tells “Dr Penner, science is your business” Here is where the delineation of who has the authority in terms of scientific knowledge and military control is synthesized. The disclosure of the structured military institution for this plot is now set forth for us so that we know who will take charge of “protecting us” from the enemy by subsuming the work of a diligent scientific community that will work to find a remedy that the military will implement. Science is still under the control of the military authority.
The big wig General Stone is ascribing how scientist Penner will be involved in the process. And it always comes down to these very simplistic terms, like “You do the science, we protect our nation” As General Stone continues he even says “Protecting this country is mine”
From the outset, we understand that Dr. Penner is anti-nuclear weapons.
One of the themes of this film is the ongoing atomic scare threat that we brought these invaders upon us, not only because they are inherently hostile but because we developed the bomb and have shown aggression ourselves on our own planet towards each other, posing a threat to other life forms in the universe so they are stepping in to intercede but not on behalf of peace, but in order to destroy us first. The dialogue exchange between the military and science spells it out very clearly when the two men argue.
“You say we should call an immediate end to nuclear experimentation, you know that’s impossible,” Penner says “Then limit it to experiments for peace” Which is an oxymoron for the military to experiment with peaceful tests, they are the military!
Penner tells the general that since he can’t change his mind he is resigning from the commission. The General tells him that he’s being panicked by one incident, but Penner warns him that the area around Dr. Noymann’s lab won’t be livable for years. Every test shows pollution in our atmosphere. So Invaders also becomes an environmental cautionary tale woven in, not just about national security and invasion. General Stone tries to assuage him that decontamination crews are cleansing the area, but Penner asserts “The air that we breathe.. what can you do, cleansing the air…straining as you would dirty water?”
He throws his hands up in a gesture of futility. “Radioactive particles have been blown into space….who can tell when those particles will come down to earth again.” General Stone once again implores him to stay because he’s such an asset, but Penner tells him his attitude now would be more of a hindrance to the project. Penner flies home to Noymann’s funeral with no intention of coming back to Washington. In the eulogy, he speaks of how he and Noymann did a science that would benefit humanity. ”
Somewhere our ideals were lost…a deadly weapon that he was helping to create killed him” As Penner continues his tribute, we hear the eerie Theremin wavering of sound, then we see from the knees down a strange figure dragging its legs and feet through the sand until it becomes invisible. Only visible are the tracks of dirt being moved forward as if the figure were still walking.
The tree branches and leaves move aside as if something passes through them. Penner finishes his eulogy by pledging not to work on anything destructive again.
Now Phyllis, Dr Penner’s daughter is with Dr John Lamont who asks how her father is doing. Lamont is sorry he’s quit the commission. She says it’s become an obsession with her father. They shake hands. He tells her it’s been good to see her. Phyllis adds that it’s been a long time, but we get the feeling that there is no romantic feeling for Lamont at all.
As Phyllis leaves to give John a lift we see the clock say 10pm, then we are back at the grave site and the same leaves and branches are mysteriously rustling aside as if some unseen force were moving it.Again, the dirt begins to get pushed aside and scooped forward as if someone were dragging their feet. We hear an unusual growling or low groaning sound, of someone breathing.
The dirt tracks stop at Noymann’s grave and then we are back at Penner’s house, the clock striking 11pm and a shot of Noymann in the newspaper KAROL NOYMANN BURIED TODAY IN SIMPLE RITES.
A bone white hand in the darkness knocks on Penner’s door. Penner answers the door and is shocked to see his dead friend Noymann standing there, pale and corpse like, but very much vertical. It is Noymann’s voice but it is channeling a warning alien voice from whatever has inhabited the body. “Adam Penner you will listen carefully.” Penner shouts at him “You can’t be.” “This is the corpse of an earth man who is knows as Karol Noymann” the corpse tells Penner that he is from another planet outside the galaxy , and that Dr. Penner can save the entire earth from total destruction if he convinces the nations of earth to surrender in 24 hours or they will begin a mass invasion.
Penner doesn’t believe that they can overrun the entire world. “Your scientists think that the moon is a dead planet…that it is uninhabited , it is not” Penner tells the dead body that he’s a madman, that they know it is. But the alien voice speaks, “more than 20,000 years ago my planet invaded the moon and destroyed the life that existed there…we’ve controlled the moon since then and made it an impregnable base for our space ships”Penner says, “We would see signs of life there” he turns away, the dead Noymann says, “You would see nothing!”….we are invisible….we are invisible Adam Penner…long ago we learned how to change the molecular structure of our bodies…you can not see us….I am using this dead man’s body so that I can communicate with you.”
Penner asks why surrender, what do they want with earth?
“We have studied your languages and civilizations for many thousands of years…we have never bothered earth because of their slow scientific development…but now you are approaching the space age…you are testing nuclear and rocket devices for travel into space…as we have put the moon and many other planets under our rule….it is now time for us to put earth under our rule.”Carradine’s delivery is deadpan and urbanely monotone as usual. He adds a lot of the macabre unearthliness to the film. The soft sandiness of his voice creates an element of charming creepy.
The invisible alien tells Penner that they have never been defeated. Just as he is using the dead body, his people will come to earth and inhabit the bodies of other dead earth men. “The dead will kill the living”…and the people of earth will cease to exist…that is the message you will bring your people”
Penner asks why me?, he tells him that “his voice has been the loudest for peace”, asking the nations to give up their nuclear weapons. he tells him if he wants peace, he will tell them to surrender now.
Although it begs the question, if they’re going to cease to exist why not fight? He tells him to “avoid war” so essentially it’s just a matter of quietly submitting and the destruction of life and all existence will be that much less horrific I guess.
Dead Noymann tells him to hold out his hand. Penner looks down, “what is it?” “The material from which our space ships are constructed”
“We have made everything on our planet invisible.”
Can this be a reference to an enemy that you can not see so easily as a comparison to the fear of communism? To a democracy, communism is an insidious disease that can spread by ideas, eventually overtaking the minds of vulnerable people who can not see it’s detriment to liberty and individualism. In 1959 these films were all about fighting off the subversion of the human spirit to prevail as free and impenetrable to outside influence other than a patriotic love of liberty which equals freedom which equals a person living in a democracy, to think for themselves. Communism was a monster, it was depicted as a devouring beast. “They” look like everybody else just like the dead people that will rise up and really be an alien race set to destroy human civilization. It is hard to recognize who the enemy is if they’re invisible. Interesting undertone to the story.
Suddenly a strange frequency vibrates. Noymann’s hand is hovering over Penner’s hand, he tells him to “look closely” suddenly the small dented plum size scrap of alien metal appears. “You are holding the material from which we build our ships. Without this device you can not see it.” Dead Noymann grabs the now invisible object and puts it in his pocket. He tells him that now he knows they won’t be able to find the ships to destroy them. And Penner tells him that they won’t believe his story.
“Adam Penner You have had your warning” The timpani rumbles and the scene cuts to
John and Phyllis showing up. She tells John to be patient with her father. John is in love with her. They think Penner’s story is fantastic. John tells him that it was just a nightmare. “The corpse of Karol Noymann was in this room!” he tells them that he isn’t a madman. Phyllis is upset for her father. He tells her he’s not having a breakdown. Penner also tells them not to ask him to even try to explain.
Just that they’re all just 24 hours away from destruction. Penner wants John to go back to Washington to alert them , but John says “you can’t believe that they’ll believe such a crazy idea.” “They won’t believe me but they might believe you.” John says “You’re asking me to make a fool out of myself” Phyllis pleads with John who eventually tells Penner “I owe you a great deal.” He’ll try that’s all he can promise.
News headline CHARGES OF SPACE ATTACK BRANDED RIDICULOUS…THIS TIME IT’S INVISIBLE SAUCERS FROM SPACE. with a photo of Penner.
LITTLE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE FROM SPACE with an empty white box and underneath the caption says FIRST PHOTO OF AN INVISIBLE INVADER.
Penner walks through the debris of newspapers piled on the floor and looks out the window at the cloudy sky. “Dear lord I pray that I am insane that all that happened is only in my mind, I pray that tomorrow the sun will shine again on living things not on a world where only the dead walk the earth.”
Phyllis tells her dad that John really tried. John lambasts Penner telling him “All you’ve succeeded in doing is making laughing stocks out of both of us…I hope you’re satisfied.”
Robert Hutton often gives off the appearance of a man who hasn’t had a bowel movement in 2 weeks, conversely, John Agar always maintains the look of a man who is struggling with a 36-hour erection.
Penner tells him that he wants to believe that he’s out of his mind. He tells his daughter to vouch for that the fact that all day she was with him he had acted rational. She tries to persuade John, but he’s the most miserable sour puss from the beginning of the film. “I’d know, he’s not sick,” John asks him if he honestly believes that he can contact these “invisible things” again. Penner wants to try and get more time from the invaders.
When Phyllis asks how he plans on doing that, he tells her “The one I talked to was using Karol Noymann’s body, perhaps if we go to the cemetery.”
All 3 go to the cemetery Penner starts calling out “Please I must talk to you” As he pleads for this one last chance for humanity to speak we hear a low growly groaning sound. The trees move aside again as if blown by an unseen wind, then the dirt moves as if the invisible feet are dragging their way toward the grave.
The soundtrack of Theremin and Timpani is very effective. Fanfare horns. Then the voice of Carradine “Speak Adam Penner.” Penner tells him that he tried but no one would listen. The disembodied voice of Noymann tells him that he’s failed. Penner asks for more time. but the voice tells him that his voice is not enough, he is alone, and he will not succeed but the people of Earth will have one more warning. As the 3 stand there, Phyllis doesn’t hear anything but John says “Listen that rasping sound, the breathing, they’re gone.” John grabs Phyllis’s arm. Penner asks, “What do you believe now John?” The crickets are the only natural sound left. John fumbles for the words and then says “Adam, what can we do, what can we possibly do?” “Nothing, the warning will come, then it will be up to the world.”
“the first warning came in the form of a fatal plane crash outside Syracuse NY.” The control voice announcer starts to narrate the ensuing events.
“The pilot had been killed, but within minutes the body had been inhabited by one of the invisible invaders”
Then at a hockey game, in the commentator’s booth, we see the door behind the 2 men open slowly. The reanimated body of the dead pilot walks in and begins strangling one of the sports announcers. “The invader using the pilot’s body had come to issue the first public threat to the people of earth.”
As the dead pilot strangles the other commentator into unconsciousness, he picks up the microphone and starts to address the stadium “People of earth this is your last warning unless the nations of your planet surrender immediately all human life will be destroyed in a war you can not win.”
The people in the arena panic and begin to scramble. “The invader finished with the corpse left it, and again became invisible.”
The 2nd warning came in California with a deadly car crash, where again the corpse is inhabited by an invisible invader. At an enormous outdoor event, over the loudspeakers this corpse once again warns that the people of Earth will be destroyed. We see a newspaper headline PANIC GRIPS UN AS WORLD GETS WAR WARNING.
Every capital in the world called a unified meeting to try and find a way to combat this threat from the invisible forces that are set to destroy them. We see throngs of people gathered in the streets listening to the public service announcements being spread by the news organizations. a newsman says apparently none of the nations of the earth intend to surrender as demanded by the invaders. As he says these final words, the scene cuts to a massive explosion.
Now we hear Noymann’s voice “People of the earth our warnings have been ignored, the invasion of the earth has started.”
Several scenes of destruction. Dams crumbling, buildings on fire, explosions, chaos. The voice continues “In the next 3 days the dead will destroy all the living…and we will rule the earth…for the human race, this is the end of existence.”
The scenes of walking dead men in suits are campy and yet somehow eerie for 1959 considering that it predates Night Of the Living Dead and yet there are elements of seeing walking corpses in broad daylight that evoke that feeling of nihilistic dread. There is no variety in terms of the dead men, they all look like hitmen for the mob dressed in dark suits with wide shoulders and square steely jaws.
The control voice tells us “By late that afternoon, the invaders had instigated a world wide reign of terror with sabotage, buildings and industrial plants are hit with explosions. Large dams in the United States, Holland Finland and Russia were blown up, flooding the areas around them, inundating towns and cities. Killing thousands, bridges leading to key military installations were destroyed stopping all traffic to these vitals centers.”
Now back at Penner’s house he and his daughter are watching the tv news reports, “Throughout the entire world the dead are leaving cemeteries to attack the living…Walking dead who kill, but can not be killed.”
It’s a chilling concept for that time and the use of the news as a narrative mechanism sets a realist tone to it, so while some might find this film cheesy which it is in a wonderful way, it still has its moments. The use of the visual apparatus, the television set to convey the universal chaos is also something that you could consider predates Night Of The Living Dead ( no disrespect here intended)
It has the same feel to it also due to the sense of the 4 people being held up in the cave/ laboratory indicative of survival and claustrophobia that was present in NOTLD where the characters can work on each other’s psyches in a power struggle, although mild here because again Robert Hutton isn’t the most evocative actor in the world, and while Agar was a staple of the sci-fi films of the 50s he really does always look like his underwear is in a war with his balls. Still, he played the no-nonsense military type as straightforward as expected.
The film is using a lot of a “narrative” motif by the control voice to tell the story, rather than using character dialogue which merely fills in for the melodrama. The struggle over Phyllis by the 2 men. The sympathetic anti-war scientist Penner desperately needs to be believed that he isn’t insane. And the sporadic voice-over visits by John Carradine’s dead Noymann.
The control voice, which is just what I’ve settled on calling it tells us “Horror fear, and panic have turned the civilized peoples of the earth into howling mobs…it is impossible to estimate the death toll.,since many of our other news stations in other nations have been destroyed.”
We keep seeing images on the tv of decimated towns, cities, and buildings. Now the control voice makes a news bulletin that Adam Penner and other scientists will be working in an underground bunker around us where they will try to find methods of fighting the invisible enemy.
Major Bruce Jay (Agar) of the Airforce has been assigned by the Pentagon to escort the scientists to Bunker 27, other scientists have been moved to similar underground bunkers. It’s now their job to discover a weapon to fight the invaders.
The control voice tells us that Major Jay was there to afford the scientists every protection. The walking dead were everywhere now. As the jeep starts to come upon a local farmer holding a shotgun, they stop the jeep. The farmer tells them that he can’t get out on foot and he wants their jeep. Jay tells him, “This is an official mission, get off the road.” Then the local man says “You think you’re better than I am soldier?”
Here we have unveiled, the hierarchy again between the civilian, military, and the scientific community. The man continues. “you think you got a right to live, and I ain? I seen them walking dead things I’ve seen ’em…Joe Anderson and his wife drownded 2 weeks ago…now walking through the fields again, walking and killin’ I’ll give you 3 to get out of that car then I’m shootin’.”
They all keep their hands up in the air. Major Jay tells the others to get out and not make the man nervous he’s out of his head.
As they slowly start to get out of the jeep, the scene cuts away to the dirt being pushed forward. An invisible is upon them. The tree branches begin to move aside as well. The invader is now closer. (They like to cut through shrubbery)
As this distracts the man with the shotgun, Jay takes the opportunity to shoot him dead. Phyllis screams, “You killed him” and looks away in horror. Jay defends his actions by saying that Penner has answers that the country needs, and he wasn’t going to let him stop them from getting to the bunker.
He starts to assert his authority and yells at them to get back in the jeep. The dirt pushes forward and the dead man arises with a bullet hole in his forehead. He begins to move slowly toward the direction the jeep went. They arrive at the camouflaged bunker number 6 which was built to be bomb-proof in the event of an all-out atom bomb war.
Major Jay calls General Stone to let him know that they’ve made it to the cave/bunker/lab. A worldwide state of extreme emergency exists. General Stone tells them that Washington has been evacuated and total military and scientific forces have been mobilized. Attempts to negotiate with the invaders have proven hopeless. Continuing efforts by the military have failed. Just then the alarm bell in the lab begins to sound off.
The remote Geiger counter shows a high level of radioactivity outside. All 4 people begin turning off switches quickly so as to hermetically seal the bunker. The alarm stops ringing, and Major Jay tells them they’re alright now.
They start to wonder why there is such a high reading of radioactivity. They would have heard or felt a nuclear explosion close enough to give a reading like that. “Cyclic pulsation doesn’t make any sense at all.” The meter goes up and down so the radioactivity isn’t constant. They start to look up at the monitor. John says” It’s like the wind is blowing the radioactivity in and then out.”
“Or a line of something going past one at a time,” Jay says, that’s when he says they better take a look. They turn on the monitor and see coming over the sandy hill several walking corpses heading toward the cave. Slowly bounding down the side of the hill, the eerie sci-fi music choreographing their stiff descent down the sandy, grassy hill. Phyllis exclaims, “They’ve found us!”
Jay says “No not yet they haven’t but they’re looking.” The Geiger counter crackling in the backdrop as the 4 watch the dead men coming towards them on the closed circuit tv is fun stuff. Now we see our old friend, the local farmer that Major Jay shot in the head. Jay points to the dead man and says “And that’s the reason why.” Now the control voice interjects:
“The walking dead inhabited by the invisible enemy had left their spaceship nearby to search for the scientists.”
Penner tells Jay he’s right the dead bodies are highly radioactive. Jay gets back on the line with the General and tells them that the invaders are close to the bunker and have been picked up by the Geiger counters. The General says they know they’re highly radioactive.
Dr Penner and Dr Lamont unfortunately, we can’t give you any help and no one has been able to come up with a single clue as to how to
stop the invaders. He tells them that they must come up with some kind of weapon to stop them.
Lamont starts to have a mini breakdown. “Every scientist in the world must be working on this, and how do they expect them to hold out in this prison with the walking dead breathing down their necks.”
Lamont brings up the man that Jay shot and that seeing him again disturbed him. He’s starting to show signs of panic. Jay remains cool. “We’re all scared Dr Lamont, you’re not alone,” Phyllis tells Jay not to be insulting. He asserts his authority again and tells her that he and they have a job to do. Jay tells her that he’s seen a lot of men crack up, but they need Lamont and he can’t afford the luxury of cracking up. As Jay walks away, Penner taps Lamont on the shoulder and tells him that the Major is right. They agree to take shifts. Phyllis will take notes. Good job for the one female in the group. I guess she can make them coffee as well.
“Meanwhile the sabotage went on in ever-increasing fury” Again we see more footage of carnage and destruction. “Completely demoralizing the high commands of the armed services of every Nation in the world.”
A common enemy that levels the playing field. Victims of incendiaries, just like in War of The Worlds 1953.
General Stone calls in and tells them that they’ve established a definite pattern. “They have no weapons of their own which is unlikely, or the ones they do have won’t work in their atmosphere.” When Penner questions how they were able to perpetrate the sabotage, the General tells him that all their own weapons were used against them, by the walking dead.
Penner determines that their only real weapon is the fact that they are invisible. A scientist in Moscow believes that there must be a basic weakness in the molecular structure of their materials. The metals in the earth’s atmosphere are vulnerable. Penner says that it might also indicate a weakness in the molecular structure of their bodies.
Jay asks Penner if he still feels the same way about the testing of nuclear weapons.”Yes major I think I do.” ” If the lord wills it, I think we’ll come out of this alive, then perhaps the nations of the world will realize it’s possible to work together as they’re doing now instead of trying to destroy each other with Nuclear Bombs.” The philosophical message of peace vs war is right out front in the dialogue. I wonder if Ed L. Cahn wound up on the blacklist?
Phyllis comes out, and both she and Jay light up a cigarette. He tells her that her father has a lead but wants to work on it alone. He then says, “You hate my guts don’t ya?” She accuses him “You killed a man in cold blood this morning, I keep seeing his face” Then Jay very sullenly says ” So do I, I fought all the way through Korea, probably killed a lot of men…but I never saw their faces…dropping a bomb from a plane isn’t quite so personal.”
The science fiction tale is an anti-war allegory.
Ah, then Phyllis offers to make him some coffee. I was waiting for that bit of domesticity in the midst of dead men walking.
I guess this is her way of accepting his slight surrender to the dominant stride he’s been maintaining. A very heteronormative gesture. He admits a little male weakness, she succumbs by letting her feminine guard down and offering succor in the form of a caffeinated beverage. It’s all so normal and properly constructed straight out of a course in 50s etiquette.
As the music plays a little somber, military dirge, he tells her, “It was either your father or the man with the shotgun…I had to make a choice.”
He’s now back to dictating his masculinity by inches. He regains a stronger gaze. He has subdued her animosity by showing he is the protector. She then says “Perhaps I was wrong about John too….the way you insulted him…you had to make that choice too.” excuse me while I wretch on my comfy old navy slippers.
“Well he was going off the deep end, it worked didn’t it, At least it was better than slugging him.”
Now don’t get me wrong I really like this film because of its simplistic fun, and moments of very creepy imagery, but this next line makes me want to slap Phyllis in the face.
“I majored in Psychology but I think I could take a few lessons from you Major”
Urgh!!! Okay anyway, enough of my groaning. It’s not like it’s Julie Adams or Beverly Garland, it’s Patty Duke’s tv mom for Cripe’s sake, so saying that.
He tells her “Yeah yeah sure, if there’s anything left of this world when we get out of here, we’ll talk about it.”
“About Lamont you 2 majoring in each other?” She’s about to tell him when her father calls “Phyl get John for me please Hurry!”
Jay asks if he’s found something. He tells him that he’s “not sure it will work but it will take some courage to find out.” Major one of us will have to leave the bunker. He reminds Lamont about the device that the invader made the ore visible with. He’s been working on the theory that the device may have projected a ray of some sort. Only 2 theories make sense. That the ray changed the light spectrum, or that it temporarily changed the molecular structure of the ore itself.
Jay asks why Dr Penner said that one of them would have to leave the bunker. Before he can test the theories they have to capture an invader to test on. “We’ll have to bring one of the creatures into the bunker.”
Now Lamont starts to panic again, ” How can you possibly capture something you can’t see?” Penner tells Jay to convert a fire foam spray gun into an acrylic spray or liquid plastic. Mixed with a catalyst that would cover and solidify on contact, form a hard shell. Jay says it’s like the stuff used to mothball navy equipment and tanks.
“If I can convert the gun then what?” “I believe the invisible creatures enter a dead body through the pores of the skin sort of an osmosis process” “And the acrylic spray will seal the body so the invader can’t get out” “it’s only a theory I said it might not work.”
Again Lamont hysterical starts to get agitated worried that one of the invaders will get loose in the bunker and that they can’t take such a chance. Jay starts to convert the gun. Then Lamont turns to Phyllis and diverts his fears onto her.
“They have no right to put you in such danger” She gives him a look as if he’s being pathetic for even trying that tact. She looks at him with disdain, “Haven’t they John” She is disappointed in his transparent ploy and walks away.
Again we see random scenes of destruction. More buildings are on fire by the 2nd night the control voice tells us that “the nations of the earth were close to total defeat. All through the night Dr Penner and Dr Lamont labored to manufacture the acrylic formula…meanwhile Major Jay with the help of Phyllis Penner converted the fire foam gun so that it could use the liquid plastic …by dawn they had succeeded”
Triumphant muted military horns blow onto the screen. Phyllis helps Jay with his protective suit. He tells her if he doesn’t make it back, they’ll have to try again. Now she finally gets to finish answering the prior question Jay had asked. ” You asked about John and me, we’re just old friends that’s all.”
Jay goes out in his radiation-proof suit. Timpani and xylophone accompany him. He walks around the area as they watch him on close-circuit tv. A Geiger counter lets them know a dead guy is walking near. Jay hides behind a very puny bush and sprays the corpse. Dr Penner says, “Wait he didn’t finish the spray.”
We see Jay turn around as the dirt is being pushed forward, an invisible is nearby. Now Jay grabs his throat as if he is being choked to the ground. Then the corpse gets up and walks away.
Back in the bunker, Jay tells them that the spray gun won’t work it’s not fast enough but he still thinks the acrylic spray is the answer because when he hit the body with it, the invader took off fast. He was afraid of it.
Phyllis asks how they can we use it and Jay tells her that depends on Lamont’s nerves. Jay figures that the invader was more afraid of the spray than hurting him. He probably went back to the ship to let them know they were getting close to “something that might bother them.”
That means they’ll double their forces to find the bunker and knock it out. Lamont worries that the entire area will be filled with those creatures, and Jay tells him that’s why only 2 will leave. Lamont worries that there’s only 1 radiation suit. But Jay tells him to stay in the cab of the truck he’ll be protected and Penner and Phyllis will stay behind to continue working.
Knowing that the ship was most likely in the area he chose a spot to lay the trap for the enemy. The Detectron voltage shows that there is radiation in that spot they pull over on the side of the road. Lamont acknowledges that Jay is making himself the bait and he says, “You know a better way to go fishing?” He tells Lamont to stay with the Geiger counter and in case he gets company to signal with the horn and fast.
Jay puts his headgear on and the Geiger counter starts to crackle. A deep hole is dug, and filled with acrylic liquid and a noose. He covers the hole hears the horn blast and waits. Luring the walking dead to chase Major Jay toward the hole. He shoots at the man he had killed with the shotgun, who now pursues him through the woods toward the hole. The dead farmer falls into the liquid pit, Jay signals Lamont to pull the truck forward with the rope that miraculously is already tied around the solidified body’s waist.
Penner opens the bunker door and they drive in with the encrusted body. The tv shows countless corpses walking down the hill. Penner comes in yelling they’re all around us. Jay says they probably followed the truck. Now we hear pounding on the steel door to the bunker. Not unlike The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price, or Night Of The Living Dead.
Lamont gets panicky again. He obviously is not cut out for heroism or a Boy Scout merit badge for courage. “They’re trying to smash down the door.”He’s sweating and jittery. Jay tells him to take it easy the place was built to stand an atom blast. We see the encrusted paper mache man in the back of the truck. Almost like Curse of the Faceless Man, yet another fun film about an ancient prince encrusted in lava after Pompeii
While the dead bodies are pounding on the door, they bring the acrylic dead guy into the pressure chamber. Now he looks more like he’s been dipped in gold leaf than white acrylic but hey who am I to argue with scientific marvelous?
Major Jay asks “Are you sure the pressure will crack that stuff on the body?”
The stuff looks more like gold foil you wrap a chocolate Easter bunny in, but let’s just keep going with the story. “It can crush anything not built to withstand it,” Penner tells him.
“Okay, when the acrylic coating on the body splits we’ll be turning loose an invader in the chamber.”
Penner turns the large dial right below the words CHAMBER PRESSURE we see air moving through the vents inside the chamber. At first, nothing seems to happen. Lamont’s panic is peaking. “Now we’ve got one of those things in here and a mob of those dead men outside.”
He continues to melt down, “If you hadn’t gone out in that truck they couldn’t have followed us back to the bunker.” Ah, the masculine warrior and the ultra-weakling sissy scientist coming head to head. Phyllis watches in the middle. “Oh John shut up!” she snaps at him. The cocky Major Jay looks on with his plasticine smile.
Jay tells Dr Penner to turn the knob up another point. He turns the dial. Now Phyllis notices and says, “Look.” They all go to the viewing windows of the chamber and see the paper mache dead guy start to move, there is a whirring noise that we hear. The plaster is crumbling. The dead man emerges and rises up from the bed. Jay says “Yeah it looks like we caught ourselves an invader, the rest is up to you Dr Penner.” But Phyllis says wait.
The dead man suddenly falls to the ground. His eyes are encircled, more blackened like a raccoon for some reason. Perhaps this is to indicate the decomposition of the body? Jay says “It’s left the body let’s hope we can keep it locked up in that chamber.”
From window panel to window panel first Penner’s face then Jay’s face, we now see inside the chamber, the chair roll across the room, and indentation in the leather seat shows that an invisible ass is seated there. It has rolled the chair over to the desk with the microphone on it. Phyllis and the other men look on.
Suddenly the mic levitates and the sound effects are like warping noises “Do not think you will succeed” It is the voice of John Carradine or Dead Noymann, yet it is not Noymann’s body, so how this voice got into the local guy’s body, well again it’s merely science marvelous.
He continues “There is no way on this earth to make us visible, your people are being destroyed country by country our unit has already received reports that many of your nations are considering surrender: Jay just stands there arms folded in militant defiance, unshaken, stoic, a stone cold hero. He grabs the other mic and speaks into it “You’re lying” The alien voice tells him” You can check with your commanders for the truth.” ” If they’d surrendered you’d a said so.”
“It is inevitable if you will surrender to me now your lives will be spared” Major Jay taunts the voice, “Look friend you’re the prisoner, and as long as we have you to work over we still have a chance”
He hangs up the speaker mic. “Lamont, Dr Penner we’ll continue on with the tests.” The alien voice comes over the speaker again, “You will die then, as all the rest of you shall die.”
The control voice tells us that Dr. Penner and the others work desperately to make the invader visible to the human eye. “The vast scientific knowledge of the 2 men was put to the test in a race against time for they knew within every moment of failure thousands more people all over the earth would die”
“Time was running out for the defenders. Flames were consuming everything outside The world was nearing the end of its ability to fight back for this was the 3rd day. By midnight the human race on earth would cease to exist.”
Exhausted Lamont wants to try and surrender to the trapped invader in the chamber. Jay doesn’t believe that it will let them live. But Lamont is starting to truly have a breakdown. Dr. Penner says he’s too weary to think, he’s tried everything. Lamont wants to take the offer. Jay tries to tell the 3 of them that the thing in the chamber is bluffing. The fact that it’s offering them their lives if they stop testing proves that they’re onto something. And he’s afraid we’re gonna find out. Lamont finally cracks. Calls Jay a fool and runs to let the thing out of the chamber. They begin to fight. Lamont throws a beaker at Jay and hits the electrical system that sets off the alarm because it starts a fire.
As the alarm blares and sparks fly around the lab, Penner holding his ears, from the loud noise looks into the chamber and sees the corpse trembling as if with seizure. He runs to tell John that he thinks that they’ve hit on something, “The creature, you heard the alarm bell on the radiation counter, the explosion and concussion made the creature react. nothing else has.”
Now Penner realizes “We’ve been looking the wrong way for our answer it isn’t in light waves or chemicals, the answer is in sound, sound.”
Phyllis says, “Sound to create sight?” The device used by the creature that came to Penner’s house caused a humming sound. “Yes the sound was low-key to our ears, but the device must have used sonic rays and sound vibrations that create a resonance with the basic molecular structure of the metal ore.”
Lamont says “And that resonance caused the visibility,” Penner says “Sound is the answer, he certainly reacted during the explosion.”
Jay tells them they’ve only got about an hour and a half of air because of the explosion blowing out the system. They’re going to have to open the air vents.
“We’ll be sitting ducks for what’s waiting for us outside,” Lamont says shaken up.
They make 2 large laser-type-looking guns. That will generate sound. Dr.Penner tells them it will probably break their eardrums. Jay and Penner head out with the sound guns attached to their backs. They turn up the dials and look inside the chamber. We see a wheel of spiraling light and a wavering, warbling noise surrounding the dead guy on the floor.
As they turn up the dial the warbling noise gets more pronounced producing a screeching noise, like giant nails on a blackboard, they look inside the chamber finally we see a ghostly figure emerge from the corpse. Phyllis gasps.
The stumbling and weak phantom collapses into a white goo pile. Penner can give the military the details for making these sound guns in a matter of minutes. Jay gets on the horn to the General. Suddenly we hear a horribly amplified sound that causes the 4 to hold their ears.
Then we see the silvery star pointed space craft begin to glow, the sound is increasing in decibels to the point of causing pain in everyone’s head. Alarm bells ring. The lights go out in the bunker. It’s suddenly dead quiet. Jay figures it’s a jamming signal to stop them from using their communications.
Penner figures they can use the jamming signal to find the spaceship. By tracking it on the “direction finding radio” in the truck. Oh, science is marvelous again, I guess that was an early GPS. I love the simplistic names things are given Direction Finding Radio!
Phyllis worries “What about the invaders waiting for us outside?” Jay tells her without breaking a sweat, “We’re gonna crash right through.”
Phyllis driving the truck, Lamont on the radio and Jay on top of the truck in his anti-radiation suit with his sound gun, leave the bunker
Penner opens up the door and the dead walking come nearer. Aiming the guns the spiraling light waves knock down the dead guys, extras from old gangster films, and we see the ghostly alien figures leave the bodies and then collapse into a small white pile of goo.
The control voice tells us that all hope would be gone if Lamont couldn’t use the directional finding key to locate the ship.
The narrative makes this more like an educational social engineering film, tutorials of the 50s like the perils of not brushing your teeth, manners in the classroom, and the detriment of not washing your hands before each meal. Scare Tactic films that informed and warned of the dangers of an uncivilized world waiting to corrupt you. Or worse the perils of the nuclear age.
Slowly the radio jamming led the truck to the immediate area of the invisible spaceship. used by the invaders. The Detectron ( I want one of those ) starts to peak to the max and then we see more dead mobsters walking in black suits through the woods. A momentary organ plays like we’re in a funeral parlor, nice touch just brief enough.
The truck stops. And Jay gets off the roof. Jay walks with his sound gun towards the slow lumbering dead men in black suits. He turns up the dial and the sound starts to quiver. Half a dozen of these guys stand before him. He shoots the spiraling light waves at them., they drop except for one guy who has a pistol and shoots Jay who falls to the ground.
WASN’T THIS JOEY (the jersey kid) KNUCKLES FROM THE 3RD SEASON OF THE SOPRANOS?
But he is able to get up and aim the gun at the ship making it explode. Jay is lying in a smoking cloud on the dirt. Phyllis dusts him off. Then we see the 4 being honored at a special meeting at the UN. Earth has foiled yet another invasion. Thank god for the military working with science marvelous. Women who can make coffee and dust us off, and aliens who are not so invincible or invisible after all!