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Invisible Invaders (1959) – Episode 49 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“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.” Isn’t this the daily prayer we all use? Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, and Jeff Mohr – as they go for an Edward Cahn hat trick with Invisible Invaders (1959). Yes, “Spaceships from another planet are here … only we can’t see ‘em!” Has your intrepid Grue Crew gone a Cahn too far?

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 49 — Invisible Invaders (1959)

Yes, Invisible Invaders is the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s third dip into the pool of Edward Cahn’s extensive B-movie repertoire. First up was It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) in episode 36. The second Cahn extravaganza was just last episode with Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) in episode 48. So why tackle the third Edward Cahn directed film so quickly? You’d have to ask Chad Hunt, who chose this episode’s topic, but his answer would most likely be, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

What do you do when the producer puts a choke hold on a Sci-Fi, horror, creature feature’s budget? The obvious answer is you make invisible creatures. As the film’s title explicitly states, Invisible Invaders is the story of invisible space aliens – even their spaceships are invisible – who have occupied the Moon for 20,000 years and have finally decided to conquer Earth as well. No one can quite figure out why or how, but the space aliens occupy and animate dead humans as a means to that end. A group of scientists of varying courage and a Major in the military are secured in a bunker while they experiment with ways to beat the invisible invaders. Directed by Edward L. Cahn and written by Samuel Newman, Invisible Invaders features a very experienced cast including John Carradine, Jean Byron, John Agar, Philip Tonge, Robert Hutton, and Paul Langton.

Invisible Invaders is a mixed bag with too much stock footage and minimal special effects countered somewhat by its third act. Chad was disappointed when John Carradine’s character is vaporized in an atomic blast after only a few seconds of screentime, but was then both happy and shocked to see him return, body intact, as one of the walking dead. It drags a little, according to Whitney (and Chad and Jeff!) but she is impressed with how John Carradine can add gravitas and reasonability to anything, no matter how ridiculous it is. Jeff notices this 1959 film uses “walking dead” and “living dead” to refer to the human bodies occupied by the aliens and compares the Karl/Karol confusion with Carradine’s character’s name to the pronunciation of “Carl” in TV’s The Walking Dead.

If you can make it through the parts that drag, Invisible Invaders is worth a watch. Who doesn’t love invader shuffling “footprints” in the sand, aliens coated in plastic by spray guns, or sonic rifles that shoot concentric circles at the invaders?

The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. In celebration of reaching our 50th episode and our 2nd anniversary, the next episode in our very flexible schedule will be the Universal Horror Classic, The Invisible Man (1933), directed by the legendary James Whale!

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To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!”

Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.