“This is a true story. Only the facts have been completely distorted.”
I’ll tell you what: I’ve picked up a lot of random movies over the years. A lot of them. Really cheap ones, too, the kind that come in “double feature” packs and “4 for 1” deals. I shouldn’t be surprised when many of them turn out bottom-of-the-barrel, but I wasn’t prepared for 1962’s Invasion of the Star Creatures.
No one can prepare for that.
A nuclear test explosion opens up a cave or something out in the desert, and a ragtag group of soldiers head out to explore it. Why? Because that’s what you do when you find a cave – you go climb down in there and see what’s down in there, you know?
Most of the soldiers get taken out by giant alien monsters, leaving the two least qualified of the bunch (Robert Ball and Frankie Ray) to venture into the cave alone. What they find is an alien spaceship, a group of violent vegetable people, and two 7-foot-tall Amazon women from the planet Kalar (played by Gloria Victor and Dolores Reed), 600 million light years away.
That’s when the aliens reveal their nefarious goal: They’ve been stationed below the Earth for 10 years, collecting data for a coming planetary invasion. And they’re just about to call in the cavalry…
Invasion of the Star Creatures is goofy, but not in a good way. Not in my opinion. It reminds me a lot of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, which would release 16 years later, in that it seems intentionally low-budget and, well, bad. Boring, even. A parody that isn’t really funny, that just feels like a bunch of people who got together to make a movie on a lark. It’s also very much a product of its time (with outdated jokes and impressions).
I mean, I don’t begrudge anyone for having some fun, and don’t get me wrong: bad movies can be good. Many bad, terrible movies actually are very fun to watch. But not like this.
There was one funny thing, I thought. One random funny thing that made me laugh. And that was the stupid, repeated space ring joke when they met the Native Americans. It was just so stupid. So, so stupid. I think the movie broke me.
Then there was this, which just happens to be available as a clip on YouTube. Again, just random and goofy:
Invasion also has some fundamental technical problems. The editing is very janky, with some scenes ending too soon, transitions choppily made, and audio cutting out. Some scenes could have used multiple takes, as well, especially one halfway through, during which the actress (I believe) temporarily forgot her line.
The vegetable people are also very special, indeed.
They’re featured on the DVD menu, colorized, with green hair (like leaves) and brown bodies. In the trailer, they’re described as “gigantic man-like robots,” while on the back of the DVD case they’re called “VegeMonsters.” Their costumes, it reads, were made of “stocking, burlap bags, and Ping-Pong balls.”
And believe me, when they first pop up on screen, they look so laughably cheap that it is actually kind of funny.
Now, I’m choosing my movies here at random. As I said in my review of Attack of the Giant Leeches (which may have been mediocre and boring, but at least wasn’t agitating), I’m trying to get through as many scifi/horror monster movies this month as I can.
And wouldn’t you know it – the guy who played the angry husband shopkeeper Dave in AotGL, Bruno VeSota, directed Invasion of the Star Creatures. Funny how that worked out. The film’s screenplay was also written by actor Jonathan Haze, of Little Shop of Horrors fame.
While that may be some interesting trivia, it doesn’t save the film itself. I really kind of hate Invasion of the Star Creatures, as much as I can muster up “hate” for a cheesy old movie. As usual, though, the poster is kind of cool. So I give ¼ star for Gloria Victor saying “electro-foffilagraphalohofomatic,” and ¼ star for the poster. So you get a half star.
Also, I should note: A quick check of Wikipedia tells me that Invasion released as a double feature alongside The Brain that Wouldn’t Die. That explains some things.