Terror in the Midnight Sun aka Rymdinvasion i Lappland (1959)
After a herd of reindeer are mysteriously found dead following a meteor crash in a remote part of Sweden, soldiers and a geologist are called out to investigate. Just as they discover that the meteor is actually a spaceship, a hideous monster destroys their plane and kills the soldier guarding it. As the geologist (along with his figure skater girlfriend) are trying to ski to safety, the monster attacks again and kidnaps the helpless woman. What is this creature, and can it be stopped?
Barbara Wilson ... Diane Wilson
Sten Gester ... Erik Engstr?m
Robert Burton ... Dr. Frederick Wilson
Bengt Blomgren ... Col. Robert Bottiger
?ke Gr?nberg ... Dr. Henrik
G?sta Pr?zelius ... Dr. Walter Ullman
John Carradine ... Narrator (US version)
Director: Virgil W. Vogel
This was a 1959 Swedish/American co-production. In the Lappland of Sweden a meteor crashes. Turns out it's not a meteor--it's a spaceship from another world. For no given reason--a huge, hairy monster comes from the spaceship, walks around, causes destruction and kidnaps a woman who has come with a team of scientists to explore the "meteor". Can anything stop this monster?
And what does it want?
There are lots of things wrong with this film--it has a romantic title song (for a SF feature!!!!); it opens with hysterically lousy special effects showing the spaceship landing; the monster doesn't show up until 50 minutes in (the film is only 70 minutes long); endless skiing footage; lousy acting (particularly Babara Wilson); laughable lapses in logic (note how conveniently Wilson's busted ankle is ignored). Also there's a pointless and fairly explicit nude shower scene which has no bearing whatsoever with the story! Still, it has an intelligent script; it's well-directed; takes place in a most unusual setting; has a very scary-looking monster and moves pretty quick. No classic but interesting.
It came to American in 1962. For some reason producer Jerry Warren destroyed it. He changed the title to "Invasion of the Animal People" (?????) and added John Carradine to the cast (probably for marquee value). Carradine opens up the film with the most insipid speech I've ever heard (it makes next to no sense) and narrates portions of it. Warren added dreadful new footage (badly shot and acted) which added nothing to the story; gave it a really silly new opening (involving Wilson); says it takes place in Switzerland (????); rearranged footage and cut out huge chunks. What is left is a hysterically bad, incomprehensible mess! I believe Carradine later said this was one of his worst movies (he's not kidding). It's known as being a camp classic.
But now BOTH versions are available on DVD. It's more than a little interesting to see how Warren totally destroyed a fairly good movie. It's a good thing the original is now available for people to view. "Invasion" gets a 1 (I wish I could give it a zero) but "Terror" gets a 7. Like I said, no classic but pretty well-done...and how many monster movies do you know that were made in Sweden?
If you like watching a bunch of people skiing around, you'll love this. An alien saucer lands in the opening round of the movie, and just sits there for about an hour of film running time before anything else involving it happens.
I saw this on one of those late night live-monster host shows, and the riffs the guy did kept the movie from being pretty boring. There's some scientists that want to see the "meteor" that came down, a romance between a couple who flirt on the ski runs, and some other folks that do a reenactment of the mob scene from Frankenstein. You have to wait a long time to see the creature, a really really big hairy guy with ugly teeth, and his brief scene is pretty campy. Still, I liked the Jolly Neanderthal Giant. As for aliens, they show up only once too, just staring at somebody. (One is seen a couple of times from the back, always watching TV).
Innocently silly and mildly amusing. There's loose ends at the end deliberately left for you to ponder. Or laugh at.
This is one of those late, late show classics that used to fill up air time in the wee hours of the morning. Now that the original Swedish version is available, it's amazing to see just how much was changed and re-edited by Jerry Warren to the point of being practically incomprehensible.
The original version may not be great art, but it does have a fairly logical plot and something resembling character development. It's worth seeing at least once. This is the version known as "Terror in the Midnight Sun".
The Jerry Warren version is familiar to American viewers as "Invasion of the Animal People" and is truly funny with its new footage of American actors mostly sitting around and talking, with portentous and solemn voice-overs by narrator John Carradine. Except for the fact that these new scenes are performed and filmed in a marginally more professional way, they could easily be mistaken for an Ed Wood movie. The truly wonderful opening has John Carradine lecturing about science and man's quest for knowledge, while sitting amidst a jumble of machines intended to give the impression of a laboratory. You could almost believe that he's stalling for time and making it up as he goes along,improvising impressive sounding phrases that actually mean very little. After the main credits, he appears again, this time standing next to a globe, as he lectures some more about how little we know about the universe around us.
All this is quite enjoyable, but the so bad it's good stuff really kicks into high gear with the next sequence, as two befuddled police detectives try to figure out why a young woman was found running around in her pajamas, apparently being pursued by a UFO. To help them out, another man joins them, holding a human skull that appears to be a Woolworth's Halloween decoration, and lectures at length on the inner ear, while they smoke cigarettes. Then, a solemn man interviews the unhappy mother of the victim, with Carradine helpfully letting us know that the scientist " had known the girl all her life".Eventually, they decide she's okay and she flies to"Switzerland" to take part in an ice skating competition and flirt with a handsome young scientist and then get carried off by a big hairy creature from a space ship.
This is simply one of the most entertaining for the wrong reasons movies I've ever seen. Aficionados of bad science fiction movies should seek this out.