Two doctors (Edward Judd and Valerie Gearon) working at a hospital in the English countryside treat a car accident victim, little realising that their patient (Ric Young) is an extraterrestrial criminal from the planet Lysteria on the run from a police official (Yôko Tani). Events take a sinister turn when the Lysterians surround the hospital with a force-field in a bid to force Dr Vernon (Judd) to hand over the prisoner…
This 1966 black and white British sci-fi thriller hails from the legendary Merton Park Studios (who also gave us Konga and Horrors of the Black Museum). While its a little slow going, Invasion is actually an inventive, atmospheric effort. Director Alan Bridges breathes tension and suspense into the gritty Cold War-influenced screenplay, which was based on a story by Robert Holmes (who’d later reuse elements in the first-ever colour Doctor Who adventure, Spearhead from Space, in 1970), while James Wilson‘s stalking camera brings a real sense of menace to the proceedings. The special effects aren’t much cop, with the Lysterian’s space-ship being of the kid’s toy variety and Britain’s radar defences represented by a van with a spinning bin on its roof, but the use of stock missle footage is quite effective in the film’s climax.
Ric Young is best remembered as Kao Kan in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), while Tsai Chin (who starred opposite Christopher Lee in the 1960s Fu Manchu movies) pops up as the nurse whose identity is stolen by Tani’s alien cop. Star Edward Judd followed this with another underrated British sci-fi, Island of Terror, and the chap playing Major Muncaster is character actor Barrie Ingham, who’d go on to voice Basil, the Great Mouse Detective for Disney in 1986.
THE UK DVD RELEASE
Invasion is presented in a brand-new High Definition transfer from the original film elements, in its as-exhibited 1.66:1 theatrical aspect ratio, as part of Network’s The British Film