Monday, January 02, 2006

The Invaders

As a concept it couldn't fail. Agnes Moorehead playing a luddite farmer, a recluse living outside technological progress, finding herself beset by a group of tiny aliens. Not a word of dialogue is spoken, all is anguished stares, desperate shrieks, and makeshift violence. It's a brilliant half-hour, which I caught tonight as part of The Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi channel. Brought to my attention by my father, who recalled it as one of his favorites as a child, I've wanted to see this for quite a while, and it did not disappoint.

Moorehead is a terror, face contorting in unseemly ways as her tiny tormentors stab and prod her until her hair flies loose in a wild gray mane. We follow her thought process as she proceeds from weapon to weapon, a simple wooden instrument on to an ax, her face showing increasing signs of Ambersonian hysteria, the deaths of the aliens more and more vicious. The lack of dialogue forces one to focus on these details, and it creates an atmosphere rich with possibility, as our eye scans the frame for a possible weapon, an escape route, or the entry point of those goddamn troublemakers.

The aliens themselves are simple contraptions, they look like toy robots on strings, once in a while flashing a light which burns our hero, raising sores on her aged flesh. Her hysteria, when alone, is horrifying, but when the aliens show up wobbling along, it turns into slapstick, with her stabbing and smashing and chopping her hapless foes to bits . The fact that it toes that line and succeeds at both is pretty remarkable.

There is a pointless twist ending, but the main metaphor is strong, an iron-willed woman doing her best to keep the march of time away from her door.


Blogger tsween said...

I thought the twist ending showed how we rationalize violence. As a child it introduced me to the idea that patriotism may not justify war and violence. Dad

6:12 AM  

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