|INVASION OF THE ANIMAL PEOPLE
|Copyright 1962 Gustaf Unger Films
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 21 October 2001
- The Narrator - John Carradine! Nothing that he says has any bearing on the plot, but it is so convoluted and nonsensical as to be awesomely funny stuff.
- Diane - Olympic figure skater. Targeted by the aliens for individual harassment, she acts like a guppy when distraught.
- Erik - Geologist playboy (those two words should not go together) who loves it when women treat him like trash. An expert tracker, because who knows when a geologist might need to follow a wounded block of hematite across the tundra?
- Dr. Wilson - Uncle to Diane. Nothing clever is coming to mind, just a flood of "Dennis the Menace" clichés.
- Dr. Henrik - Curiosity killed the stout scientist.
- Colonel Bottiger - Half a dozen reindeer get killed and they call out the entire Swedish army.
- The Lapps - Hardy residents of the snowy wastes. I want one of their hats.
- The Aliens - They of the pointy foreheads! At times their behavior reminds me of "Devo."
- Sasquatch - Hulking brute covered with brown hair (he blends right in with the snow and ice) that seems to be controlled by the aliens. Set on fire by angry Lapps.
|What do you get when you take an already incomprehensible film and tack on copious amounts of John Carradine? Something special, because John is in peak form and that means verbal ramblin' on a massive scale. It's great! Carradine spends probably five minutes stringing phrases together and when he finishes we still have no clue what all of it meant.
A young woman (Diane) is woken by a strange sound that fills her bedroom. Nearly driven insane by the omnipresent noise, she flees down the street in her nightgown. Police officers, who were probably glad this wasn't another "naked Tor" call, pickup the bewildered girl, then call a psychiatrist. Diane's mother is also contacted and tells them that her daughter was sleeping at a friend's house since they had an argument. Mom must be one of those women who like to air the family's dirty laundry; no wonder her child is prone to freaking out.
Three doctors discuss the young lady's sudden mental illness and come to the conclusion that maybe she did hear something. One, evidently an audiologist, uses a human skull to explain the workings of the inner ear to his associates. Hahaha! What the heck? But it was the head doctor who became a nonstop source of amusement and probably my favorite character in the film. He has a lisp and every "S" was pronounced as "Sssss." Speech impediments are not funny on their own; it's just that the ssssscript ssssseemsssss to go out of itsssss way to make him ussssse "Sssss'" in every sssssentence sssss sssss. The poor man quickly turned into a running joke, with me repeating his lines as if said by Larry from Wizards.
Diane is released from the hospital and travels to Switzerland, her chosen location to practice for the Olympic Games. A glowing fireball streaks across the sky in Lapland (yes, I know that's north of Switzerland, give me a moment) and scares the backwards inhabitants. Dr. Wilson is sent with a team to investigate the meteorite. Upon arriving, he does not seem surprised to find his niece in Sweden, but the audience is scratching their heads and wondering how the heck Diane got there. Maybe it is a new event: cross-country skating.
That has to be it.
The scientists interview a number of Lapps about the meteorite, though they have not found the point of impact, and discover that mysterious avalanches have plagued the area since its fall. The story from an old reindeer herder is taken quite seriously. Apparently becoming a village elder involves being an expert on meteorites. Is that gibberish he keeps repeating really a language? Meanwhile, Diane has set her sassy little heart on Erik. First the brat collides with him while skiing; then she steals his skis, forcing him to walk down the mountain! And it is a big freaking mountain! I cannot speak for other men, but showing the little hussy my backhand (I'm not talking about tennis) would have been the first order of business after knocking the snow off my boots.
Erik enjoys being put down and mistreated though. He is smitten with the girl. Somebody get her a leather body suit and whip. This might be love.
Having found the mysterious object, still glowing despite several days in the side of a snowy mountain, a small plane equipped with skis is used to land nearby. It is a spaceship! The revelation comes as no surprise; Dr. Wilson had started tossing the idea around before landing in Sweden. While the scientists marvel over the ship from another world something big visits the lone Swedish soldier that is guarding the plane. He has about as much a chance as any generic member of a "Star Trek" landing party. Erik and the others hurry back after hearing the shots, but only find a wrecked plane and huge footprints.
The two young people decide that skiing cross-country to the closest village is the best course of action. They are in the middle of nowhere when Diane runs into a tree and injures her knee. Let me give anyone learning to ski a lesson: if you are heading for a tree or cliff and are unable to turn or stop - fall down! Do it early enough so that you don't skid into the tree or over the cliff.
With his klutzy governess in tow, Erik lucks out and finds a cabin. He spends some time making her comfortable and applies a hot compress to her knee. Using heat on a recent injury of that sort should be a bad thing, but Diane takes off like a championship runner when Sasquatch attacks the cabin. She falls every few strides, probably due to clumsiness rather than impairment, while her beau is knocked unconscious by falling logs. The lad wakes up to find Dr. Wilson hovering over him and worrying about what happened to his niece. She is being carried around by the rampaging Sasquatch. Seeing her in his shaggy arms totally ruins the illusion of size that had been cultivated.
The monster is a man wearing leg extensions and a furry suit. All in all this makes Sasquatch about eight or nine feet in height. Miniature houses and teepees are used to make him seem sixteen feet tall, plus the beast is filmed with the camera at ground level. It works pretty well until we see him carrying Diane. Why not use a doll to maintain the visual sleight of hand?
Sasquatch briefly sets the girl down and attacks the Lapp village. This provides the aliens with a chance to reenact "Whip It" and freak out Diane one last time. When the monster comes back to pick up the Swedish version of Fay Wray he has a bunch of angry Lapps on his trail. Have you ever seen a mob of torch wielding villagers on skis? It looks just as silly as it sounds. The mob sets Sasquatch (who was nice enough to put Diane down again) on fire, then it falls off of a cliff. The aliens, their plans for world conquest thwarted by thirty Lapps armed with torches, leave in a hurry. Go on! Get off our planet before we send some Amish farmers to really kick your butts! You bunch of wussies!
As you can see, the movie is all over the board and John Carradine's narration only adds to the confusion. I still think it's a lot of fun and recommend it to anyone who loves old, cheesy science fiction movies. The DVD from Something Weird Video also includes a pair of shorts, one of them being a "true" representation of the annual reindeer festival in Lapland. Let us just say that it involves women gnawing the testicles off of reindeer (to geld them) and young men lassoing their brides! This might be my favorite title from the folks at Something Weird.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Scientific dissertation should not use the phrase "unable to see the woods, because of the trees."
- Faster than light travel is only a matter of perception.
- Ear infections improve your hearing.
- Swedish love songs lose something when translated into English.
- Avalanches are caused when Sasquatch visits his relatives.
- Women are not intelligent enough to use the lee side of a log when taking shelter from a blizzard.
- Bigfoot sounds just like a truck when he is backing up.
- Polyester is made from Sasquatch fur.
- Opening Credits - Two directors? That seems like a bad idea.
- 5 mins - I guess that the filmmakers couldn't afford to rent a floodlight, so they improvised.
- 16 mins - What the... ...is he passing gas?
- 26 mins - For some reason it never occurred to me that figure skaters would always wear their sequined outfits while practicing.
- 31 mins - A singing dog, ladies and gentlemen!
- 37 mins - Surprisingly roomy inside this little plane.
- 41 mins - What the heck? Oh, they spliced this section in backwards! Hahahaha!
- 61 mins - Erik was able to hear her scream? Sure, okay, whatever makes you happy.
- 72 mins - RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST TEEPEES!
- Dr. Wilson: "Do you think that the magnetic attraction of the mines could have any bearing on the meteor falling there?"
Erik: "Come on doctor."
Dr. Wilson: "Who said it had to be a meteor?"
- Carradine: "Memories are diminished as the passing of time provides a past. It equally brings to us the future and without a future there would be no present."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||John Carradine a ramblin' about life, the universe, and everything.
||Doctor: "Come on Jim, we're not living in the sixteenth century!" |
Other Doctor: "Ummm, no doubt that that generation made the same observation about the fourteenth century."
||The scientists speculate about the meteor.
||Erik: "Doctor, you've got to stop them!" |
Dr. Wilson: "After what he did to their village? How can I? Look at them!"
Erik: "But, he's got Diane!"
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Sasquatch is upset over something and makes his displeasure known. After the plane exploded I nicknamed it the "Ford Piper Pinto" for some reason. |
Where is Yukon Cornelius when you need him?
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