Wednesday, May 18, 2005


As part of the Festival of Bad Cinema last night, BM and DM and I watched the first episode of "The Invaders", a short-lived late sixties sci-fi series. This episode opened with that old genre chestnut, the man getting lost while taking a short cut. Am I completely naive to think that the quickest route between two population centres is usually the paved, high-speed, multi-laned interstate, not the twisty, rutted, unpaved backroad that needs to be navigated at slightly less than jogging speed? I must be.

I'm probably also naive to wonder why this man, an architect named David Vincent, needs to travel by car, at 4am, for a business meeting. This is only architecture, people, not couriering human organs for transplant.

Anyway, he sees a flying saucer landing in an abandoned field, reports it to the authorities, they don't believe him, and he's forced to investigate matters himself after a couple of pretty lame attempts on his life. In the first of these attempts, he is mysteriously knocked out, then, when he comes to in hospital, a sinister and extremely unsexy nurse tries to inject him with something. Hilariously, the only drug container in the room is an enormous bottle labeled 'Alcohol'.

Me: It's nine o'clock, Mr V. Time for your tequila shot!

Vincent: No, wait, wait!

BM: Isn't this supposed to be the Betty Ford Clinic?

In the second attempt, a bizarre granny sets fire to his apartment, which goes from 'lit match' to 'explosive conflagration' in about 3.4 seconds... probably because everything in it, from the carpet to the sofa to the potted plant, is made from petrochemical products. Still, he manages to fight his way out with a wrought iron candelabra. Nothing gets pesky flames out of the way like decorative metalwork.

Following some clues that the aliens helpfully handed out, he travels to a little Californian town, which is apparently deserted except for a sexy lady hotelier, a belligerent cop, a deaf shopkeeper and a couple of go-go dancing teenagers. There he strives to discover what's going on, which brings him neatly into line with the viewers.

Sexy Lady Hotelier: You might find what you're looking for at the old abandoned hydro-electric plant.

BM: Why would anyone abandon a hydro-electric plant?

Me: It's 1967, remember. It probably wasn't burning enough oil.

The abandoned hydro-electric plant does indeed hold alien secrets, including a series of slow-moving transparent tubes that kill people, providing that the people in question can be convinced to walk under them and then stand still while they descend with all the speed of a particularly lazy glacier. Personally if I were an evil alien I'd just shoot any human who got in my way, but, as we've already established, I'm kind of naive when it comes to these things.

The episode ends with one of Vincent's architect buddies being killed by the tubes, and Vincent himself swearing to uncover the dastardly alien plot. Frankly, given that the dastardly alien plot seems to be involve buying up and repopulating hick towns in the middle of nowhere, I say good luck to them. One could argue that the odd dead architect is a small price to pay for a revitalised rural sector, especially if he's the sort of architect who designs buildings like this.

Oh, and Mike Brady. If they kill Mike Brady, I think we should give them Coonabarabran.


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