Invasion of the Animal People (1959)

Article #948 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-19-2003
Posting Date: 3-17-2004
Directed by Virgil Vogel & Jerry Warren
Featuring Barbara Wilson, Sten Gester, Robert Burton

A meteor that crashes in the snow-covered wilds of Lappland turns out to be a spaceship, and a giant hair-covered animal is on the loose.

This movie was a Swedish/American co-production; the Swedish version was called RYMDINVASION I LAPPLAND; the American version was supposed to be called TERROR IN THE MIDNIGHT SUN, but was never released here until Jerry Warren got his mitts on it, editied in his own footage, and called it INVASION OF THE ANIMAL PEOPLE. IMDB treats all three versions as a single entity; since I have both the Jerry Warren version and the one known as TERROR IN THE MIDNIGHT SUN, I decided to watch them both for this entry in the series. The original version is no classic, but it has some wonderful moments; if the spaceship looks animated in the opening sequence, it nonetheless looks great when it plows through the snow for its landing. The shots of the monster are amazing for what was no doubt a low-budget movie; the twenty-foot monster actually looks that size, even in scenes where he is paired with the normal size humans. The motivations of the aliens never become clear, but the movie is coherent (if somewhat padded) and the Lappland footage is beautiful. It’s worth a look.

The Warren version is largely worth a look only to see just what kind of damage he could wreak with his horrible editing. He loved removing exposition from the movies he edited and replacing it with his own; the trouble is that exposition was his weakest point, as it usually involves a couple of people sitting and talking endlessly and vaguely about whatever it is they’re talking about. The end result is that very little information is conveyed to the viewer, since this directorial style causes the interest level in following the story to plummet and the desire to take a nap to rise dramatically. The Warren version is almost fifteen minutes longer than the original version, and the only thing that was added to the mix was the desire to not watch the movie at all; this is not a good thing.

A recent DVD version of this movie offers you both choices. From the comments above, you should have a good idea which one to opt for.

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