1959/Director: Edward L. Cahn/Writer: Samuel Newman
Cast: John Agar, Jean Byron, Philip Tonge, Robert Hutton, John Carradine, Hal Torey
This is a film I think I saw when I was ten years old or so and have not seen it again until only recently. But it is film that has stuck in my mind all this time for it images of reanimated corpses that have many people have come to feel must have been some influence on later films like The Last Man on Earth and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. I would not go so far as to say Invisible Invaders is a zombie film in the sense that we today are familiar with zombie films but I would say it serves as a sort of bridge between old time zombie films more modern living dead features. We are definitely dealing with re-animated corpses here. The film also seems to have borrowed its concept of alien beings using re-animated corpses to attack and defeat the Earth from none other than Ed Wood’s Plan Nine from Outer Space. The really early zombie films had zombies that were typically under some sort of ‘voodoo’ type spell and were controlled by some witch doctor or white man who has been in the jungle long enough to learn the rituals necessary to bring a dead man back to life and have said dead man do his bidding. Modern zombies, since Romero and his Italian imitators, are either the flesh eating living dead or humans infected with some virus that drives them into a homicidal frenzy. Invisible Invaders rests somewhere in the middle of these great epochs of the shuffling dead. The dead are not ravenous flesh eaters but they are still driven to kill living human beings (though not only with their bare hands as we shall see). They are not controlled by a witch doctor but they are manipulated nonetheless by some type of intelligence outside their own instincts. And unlike the army of living dead in Ed Wood’s entertaing Plan 9 (an army of basically Vampira and Tor Johnson) Invisible Invaders features hordes of chalk faced corpses lumbering over hillsides (most of them wearing Wall Street suits) that created the images that haunted me as a little lad. Of course now I am much older and I watch a film like Invisible Invaders not to terrified but to be entertained with outrageously bad acting and dialog as well as gigantic plot holes, confusing stock footage and pretentious, unnecessary narration. Invisible Invaders is indeed a cheese classic by director Edward L. Cahn (It! The Terror from Beyond Space, The She Creature and and living dead classic Zombies of Mora Tau) but it is also a fairly well made film for the most part and thoroughly enjoyable.