INVASION FROM INNER EARTH (1974) – This hilariously bad science fiction film was one of the early efforts from Bill Rebane, whose low budget movies were to Wisconsin what Larry Buchanan and his productions were to Texas. Invasion from Inner Earth is a perfect example of “so bad it’s good” filmmaking … for the first half hour or so. After that the story drags on agonizingly and the apparently improvised dialogue pushes your sanity to the breaking point.
A disease has been killing off human beings by the millions while the aliens who unleashed the disease further torment humanity with red smoke bombs and buzz attacks from their flying saucers. Scattered pockets of people have survived but most of those groups seem absurdly unfazed by the apocalyptic events that are unfolding.
Some news broadcasts take the events seriously but others present the victims of the chaos as bone-headed rubes deserving of ridicule. We are even shown viewers laughing at these victims but we never understand why, since the Earth is obviously under attack with millions of dead and missing. At no time are we shown the mockers getting their comeuppance for their smirking callousness despite how wrong they are. It’s that kind of movie.
Our main group of characters are a seedy bunch of men and one woman who wind up stranded at their remote snowed-in lodge where they repeatedly fail to contact the outside world via their ham radio. The group periodically spot the aliens in their real forms as pure red light (?) and are given false hope from time to time when the aliens radio them, pretending to be other human survivors.
Does that sound fun? Well it IS fun in a bad movie way for a while, but unfortunately that’s all there is to the story. The same scenarios I just described are reenacted over and over and over again. The painful dialogue as the survivors at the lodge ponder their plight loses its lame charms, especially around the hundredth time that they make vague noises about “getting to the bottom of what’s going on” while still doing nothing but sitting on their butts.
Picture the down time scenes in The Blair Witch Project repeated even more sickeningly often. Every now and then another cast member will die and then disappear, or disappear while asleep, but it’s all handled in the most limp, lifeless manner imaginable.
We get rare moments of Bad Movie Nirvana, like when one of our main group does the most spastically awkward dance imaginable to an instrumental piece on the radio and when the pilot’s unprompted confession about murdering his father goes absolutely nowhere and is never mentioned again.
The weird bearded scientist of the main group reads from UFO conspiracy books and throws around his own idiotic theories about what’s going on. Worst of all is the way his theories turn out to be RIGHT!
SPOILERS: The aliens who are unleashing death and destruction upon the human race don’t come from outer space, but have been living inside the Earth for thousands of years. And they’re from Mars, which the weirdass scientist claims used to exist right next to the Earth long ago. Don’t ask.
Every scene drags on even more interminably from there, with the rest of the human race dying off, leaving only the deranged scientist and the woman from the lodge to carry on. The aliens reduce those two to slender, alien-looking children who emerge from the frozen north to frolic in the lush greenery of … somewhere.
Invasion from Inner Earth is a must-see piece of schlock for all fans of bad movies, but be warned that the enjoyment will ultimately turn to excruciating boredom and nausea-inducing repetition. Trust me, you won’t be missing anything you haven’t already seen from the story if you simply fast-forward to the finale once you get bored.
This is one of those productions that gains unearned eeriness points from the ineptitude of the no-name creative team. Occasionally it seems like clever horror set pieces may be getting set up, but no, just more of the same tedium. Again and again and again.
And that holds true to the bitter end, when we viewers get an effective shot of the surviving woman running toward what looks from behind like the crazy scientist as they stand along some railroad tracks at a deserted town. It briefly feels like a scary reveal is in the offing, like maybe he’s been an alien all along, or he’s already dead or worse.
Nope. It’s just him and after he and the lodge woman are reunited they transform into the mutated children I mentioned above and apparently become the new Adam and Eve or something. Rebane’s movies would become less boring and less cryptic but not much better in the years ahead.
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