Rob Rebane

Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 23: Invasion From Inner Earth


Yes. I know the title card above says They and not Invasion From Inner Earth but this is one of those movies that inexplicably has several different names. It even has a third – Hell Fire. But They sounds like ‘they’ forgot what this movie about and the only thing on fire in this movie is in a fireplace. So Invasion From Inner Earth is what I shall be referring to this Bill Rebane movie from now forward.

Invasion From Inner Earth was released in 1974, sandwiched between Rebane’s more popular two films: Monster a Go-Go and Giant Spider InvasionAfter Monsters A Go-Go’s bizarre release in 1965, Rebane worked for a German production company. When he returned, he moved his family to Gleason, Wisconsin where he started The Shooting Ranch. This is where this week’s movie was born. There’s plenty here that signals what many later Rebane movies would include. Unfortunately, this one is not one of the more spectacular or interesting.

Before the opening credits, some vaguely important-looking men learning about the destruction that is occurring in the town.There is some sort of plague killing people off, but since that’s not interesting enough the scene quickly changes to people running away/dead in the streets. Like many Rebane films, you start with all the build up and action straight away so you can take a nap later. Then in what I thought was the opening for a Universal Movie, is actually the Earth in a blue haze, followed by an excellent ‘UFO on a fishing pole’ scene.

A girl, Sarah, and her brother Jake are seeing chatting together in a cabin.  There’s really no point to this scene other than Jake explaining that he had been hunting and didn’t see a single animal all day. Oh and Sarah appears to be a loser with no social life other than her attraction for a researcher named Eric. But this anti-social nature makes Sarah stay home while her brother takes off with other researchers to head into town. The researcher’s plane takes off, but as they prepare for landing, the pilot and his passengers begin to get strange reports from the air-traffic controller. “It’s like the plague” says he tells them of the mysterious thing that is killing everyone else. The man tries to stop the researchers from landing by throwing  himself on to the runway to stop them.

The controller-man’s attempts at thwarting their arrival is unsuccessful, as they just land somewhere anyway. The group begins to look for more fuel in a shed that typically , but realise that all the fuel has gone. Jake and Andy decide to search the area around them. Other Dude and Bearded Man hang out at the lodge where shit begins to go down. Well, kind of.

Other Dude and Other Man #2 hear strange noises and see strange lights. The two can’t seem to make any sense out of what is going on and either can I.

Sarah (yes, she’s still in this) begins to receive strange radio messages. Being the grooviest hermit in Northern Wisconsin, I can’t blame them (who I assume were aliens)  for “testing out” their equipment on her. But obviously this is not of any interest or suspense because the scene just moves back to the researchers who have regrouped back in the cabin. Luckily there’s more thrilling radio conversations, and YES the boys are reconnected with Sarah, who scolds them for being out late. So, like the good children they are, the researchers fly back to Jake and Sarah’s cabin for more exciting scenes.

Thankfully a radio host fills in the information of what’s going on. There are various areas being targeted by the strange disease and over 5,000 have died. Many of the transmissions in these areas are down. The lack of communication apparently frustrates the kids, who begin discussing what is going on. Bearded Man is convinced it is UFOs, which is totally ridiculous. Right? RIGHT? But they keep this conversation going as Bearded Man hawks is crazy.

In another strange turn of events, the scene switches to a television show. The host (“Remember when the little green creature came to your door was probably a Girl Scout selling cookies?) interviews two idiots who have had run-ins with the UFOs. “Are you sure you didn’t have an early visit with Santa?” I still have no idea why they keep including this. Just to rub it into the main plot’s face that it doesn’t really matter? Anyway, there’s not really much of a point to these interviews. But it’s at least a more watchable part of the movie, so it keeps me happy.

As it is now half-way through a Rebane movie, things get pretty boring. In fact, I’m about as bored as everyone in the cabin appears to be. Bearded Man tries to get it on in Sarah. More attempts to get radio contact. Though they do find a station that keeps plays the same jazzy tune two times in a row. Some solid drama there.But at least there’s more evidence that red light = UFOs.

Oh and Other Dude blows up in a plane. Gee, I’ll miss him.

Finally, someone does something and Jake decides to head into town for food on the snowmobile. He goes on a sort of Western ride…in the snow. It’s all beautiful dramatic and utterly pointless. But this also means that Sarah is left with the two men pining for her affections (I think) which only means that there should be so juicy love-triangle business (there’s not). Then Jake is zapped off his snowmobile and…?

The kids finally leave the cabin where Bearded Man shares his lovely theory of UFOs: UFOs come from Inner Earth, not outer space. Something about Mars one being closer to the Earth than the Moon was. Apparently Martians were not interested in staying on Mars once is started to drift away and chose Earth. Specifically the interior. They found what was going on the surface of the Earth pretty lame and stayed away, but found the atmosphere of the inner earth much more similar to their home on Mars.

Yes. That’s the explanation and at no point does anyone pipe up with “You’re a fucking nutcase.” But that’s okay because… whatever. The group then split up for some unknown reason. This means the last ten minutes or so of the movie is just watching people walk/fall aimlessly in the woods and snow. Finally Sarah and Bearded Man meet FOR THE WORST ENDING EVER. I’m still screaming “WHAT?” So…if anyone understands what the fuck happened at the end there. Please fucking explain.

I don’t know. Invasion from Inner Earth is not one of Rebane’s more notable films. It’s pretty much The Alpha Incident in a log cabin. There’s hardly a plot and zero character to the characters. At this point, it’s what I’ve come to expect.