B Movie Challenge: Invasion of the Animal People

If I were a smart man (and believe me, I ain’t no smarty pants) I would invent the time machine and go back to invest in various companies I now know made a killing (I know, it’s a little “Sports Almanac” but hear me out). Not only would I invest in companies, like Apple, Netflix (“No one will ever want a DVD  in the mail” they said. Sha, right?), and McDonald’s, I would majorly invest stock in little-known places (where we can get together) called Radio Shack (I would also have sold it a few years back, though). You have to understand, after watching the Jerry Warren mashed potatoes chiller-thriller Invasion of the Animal People I realized aliens always have TV, tubes, and electrical whatchamacallits in their spaceships and this company must be universal! From Robot Monster to The Thing to Invaders from Mars they always seem to have good ol’ ‘made in the U.S.A.’ stamped technology and I want in on the action (unlike the figure skater in this Olympic bronze stinker)!

Producer Jerry Warren (of Teenage Zombies and Man-Beast fame) was a criminal, should have been locked up, and the keys thrown down the side of the ice glacier to be frozen for all time (or at least until we heat the soup of this planet and LET IT GO!). He’s not a danger to society (like the creature in this film… a yetisquatch?) but certainly is a danger with a pair of scissors and a couple of bucks. Having bought the rights to a Swedish (meatball) movie called Space Invasion of Lapland, grabbed his scissors (snip, snip), and released onto the world a new film (or more like a new hideous creature) after he exploited the use of filming legendary actor John Carradine for a brief intro (the highlight of his resume after working with John Ford, I’m sure). Warren almost got arrested after misleading lead actress Barbara Wilson when Warren supposedly filmed naughty shots with her stand-in to cut into the movie. Yep, give Warren a junky film, a pair of scissors, and a veteran actor willing to work for next-to-nothing (as well as adding some footage of a tall guy in a monkey suit next to model buildings in the snow) and you have a chiller thriller that skates like Tonya Harding fights… to the bone!

A giant space rock (“which we call a meteorite” as most movie scientists love to explain in detail to us) crashes in Sweden and our hero NERDologist just has to know what’s going on. Conveniently, his niece is training to be a figure skater, and, along with his hunky colleague she wants to dig her toepick into, they take puddle jumpers to investigate. Turns out it’s not a rock at all but a spaceship (filled with Radio Shack licensed merchandise) controlling the beast to attack and kill the locals for… well no reason other than to be space jerks. Will our scientists stop them before it’s too late, or will our aliens drive the beast to give the locals encounters of the stupid kind? Wordy over-explanations, unnecessary mountain climbing (literally), and lit torches (this monster is so lit it’s lighted) surround this film, sliced together for your viewing pleasure by a mastermind of devious (and sort of entertaining) cinema schlock!

Avalanching your way at a choppy 55 minutes, and originally directed by Virgil W. Vogel (who made classics like The Mole People and The Kettles on Old McDonalds Farm), Warren supposedly got the film by promising the original producers it would be distributed by Paramount Pictures and pocketed the money himself (somebody should cut out his smooth tongue as well). Falling almost immediately into the public domain, you can find this little arctic thing on most services, but do try to get a hold of the Something Weird DVD which includes the international version of this film titled Terror in the Midnight Sun. So wrap up those tiki torches and pour on the gasoline, cause if you’re going a-monster-hunting you better make sure you lace up tightly!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues, his thesis film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands, the novel Lucky for Newfangle Press, and he has written short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights audio cast. Klink shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies in Pennsylvania.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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