Space Invasion of Lapland

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Space Invasion of Lapland
Invasionoftheanimalpeople.jpg
Directed by Virgil W. Vogel
Produced by Bertil Jernberg
Gustaf Unger
Written by Arthur C. Pierce (screenplay and story)
Starring Barbara Wilson
Stan Gester
Robert Burton
John Carradine
Music by Harry Arnold
Allan Johansson
Cinematography Hilding Bladh
Edited by Shirley Citron
Tom Rolf
Release date
  • 19 August 1959 (1959-08-19) (Sweden)

May 3, 1962 in US[1]
Running time
73 minutes (Sweden)
55 minutes (US)
80 minutes (US TV)[2]
Country United States
Sweden
Language English
Swedish

Space Invasion of Lapland (Rymdinvasion i Lappland in Sweden and Terror in the Midnight Sun[3] internationally) is a 1959 Swedish-American black-and-white science fiction-monster film released to Swedish cinemas on August 19, 1959.[4] The film was produced by Bertil Jernberg and Gustaf Unger, directed by American Virgil W. Vogel,[5] and stars Barbara Wilson, Robert Burton, and Stan Gester. The film, filmed in English, was written by Arthur C. Pierce.[6] The film was heavily re-edited by American producer Jerry Warren with newly filmed American sequences added, and released in the U.S. under the title Invasion of the Animal People.[7]

Plot[edit]

While traveling in Sweden, Diane Wilson meets up with her uncle, famous geologist Dr. Vance Wilson (Robert Burton), who has come there to help investigate the recent landing of what appears to be a large meteorite. Diane is courted by her uncle's associate, Dr. Erik Engstrom (Sten Gester), though she aggressively plays hard-to-get, at first. A romance develops, and eventually their journey is interrupted by the news of a large herd of mutilated reindeer in Lapland. Both scientists immediately fly there, far north in the Arctic mountains of Lapland, near the site of the meteorite crash. To the irritation of both scientists, Diane stows away aboard their aircraft. When they arrive, the meteorite is actually determined to be a round alien spaceship, and she suddenly realizes just how dangerous a decision she has made.

An enormously tall, hairy biped creature, with powerful jaws, tusks, and large round feet, under the control of three humanoid aliens in the spaceship, comes out of nowhere and begins menacing the scientists and the native Lapland villagers. The tall beast destroys the scientists' aircraft, killing the soldier guarding it, and begins tearing apart Laplander houses with its bare hands. As Dr. Engstrom and Diane are trying to ski away to safety, the hairy monster attacks again and is able to capture Diane. She screams and faints.

Meanwhile, a search party has been formed, now carrying fire torches as night begins to fall. They hear Diane's screams and go toward the sound. Dr. Engstrom arrives and watches as the hairy monster carries her off. He hurries toward the torch-carrying Laplanders and tries to alert Dr. Wilson, who is with them, that the creature now has Diane. Carrying her to the snow-buried alien spaceship, the extraterrestrial monster suddenly begins displaying tenderness toward his captive, a result of mind control exerted over the creature by the humanoid aliens. She runs into an adjoining ice cave and screams and faints again when the aliens come near. The aliens leave the cave and see the mass of lighted torches coming their way. The hairy monster picks up Diane and heads away from the buried spaceship.

The Laplanders give chase and are finally able to confront the huge creature, who is now standing with its back to the edge of a deep snow cliff. Angry villagers begin throwing their fire torches, and the tall monster carefully places Diane on the ground, where she is able to roll a few feet away. More torches are thrown and the hairy creature catches on fire. It falls backward over the cliff to a fiery death, starting an avalanche as it tumbles down into a steep chasm. The aliens, seeing this on their viewscreen, take off, launching their spaceship back the way they came. Diane and Erik walk off into the sunset, deeply in love.

U.S. release[edit]

According to Swedish producer Bertil Jernberg, his partner (co-producer Gustaf Unger) was entrusted to act as their American agent, and after telling Jernberg that "Paramount is going to buy it", he promptly sold the film to American producer Jerry Warren and kept all of the money he received from the transaction for himself.[8]

For its US theatrical release on May 3, 1962,[9] the Swedish film was shortened by distributor Jerry Warren to 55 minutes from its original 73 minutes. Warren gave the film a whole new beginning, adding an on-screen narrator (John Carradine) who opens and closes the film, bookending its revised storyline. New footage was also shot with star Barbara Wilson involving an earlier UFO incident that involved her character "Diane Wilson". A lengthy phone call to Diane upon her arrival in Sweden was also added to the film, as well as some scenes showing two ham radio operators trying to communicate with the outside world from a Lapp cabin in the wilderness on their shortwave radio set. These two characters don't turn up again for the rest of the film.[10]

After other original plot details were re-edited or cut entirely, such as one brief shower scene in the original Swedish film,[11] this new version was distributed in America under Jerry Warren's title Invasion of the Animal People, on a double feature in 1962 with Warren's original film Terror of the Bloodhunters.[12] When Invasion of the Animal People went into US television syndication, more added American footage increased its running time to 80 minutes, as Warren's theatrical cut was too short for television syndication. The extra footage involved a group of doctors sitting in an office discussing the Diane Wilson character's psychiatric problems.[13]

The US film's tagline was "Monsters Walk the Earth in Ravishing Rampage of Clawing Fury! Could It Happen? See and Decide for Yourself!"[14]

Warren's Added Prologue to the US version[edit]

The film opens with narration by actor John Carradine, telling the audience why Science is a good thing. Then the scene switches to two doctors discussing the strange case of a patient named Diane Wilson, at which point a third doctor comes into the office holding a skull and proceeds to lecture the other two medical men on how the human ear works. The film goes into a flashback sequence at this point showing Diane Wilson's earlier UFO incident: While asleep in her bed, a young woman, Diane Wilson (Barbara Wilson), experiences an extraterrestrial visit, awakening to a horrible, ear-splitting sound that only she can hear. Overcome by confusion, panic, and pain, she runs outside in her nightgown and sees a weird light in the sky. By the time paramedics take her to the hospital, she is catatonic and no longer able to explain what she has experienced. Doctors cannot explain her mysterious seizure. Local newspaper headlines wonder if what happened to her has something to do with a reported UFO sighting in the same area the night of her experience. Before this can be determined, she recovers completely from the coma, leaves the hospital, and flies to Sweden. At this point, the plotline of the original Swedish film begins.[15]

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Swedish film's original end-title ballad, "Midnight Sun Lament", is based on an old Swedish melody (music and Swedish lyrics by Gustaf Unger, English lyrics by Frederick Herbert).

Home media[edit]

A Special Edition DVD of the original 1959 Swedish theatrical release, under the film's international title Terror in the Midnight Sun, was released by Something Weird Video on July 10, 2001; it still remains in print. The DVD also includes Jerry Warren's heavily re-edited 1962 US release, Invasion of the Animal People, and a selection of short Swedish films and Swedish movie trailers from the same period, rounding out the package.

The film was mocked by Rifftrax as a VOD release in 2018.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Warren, Bill (1986). "Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 749
  2. ^ Henenlotter, Frank (2001). "Terror in the Midnight Sun" (dvd liner notes). Something Weird Video Inc. ID9751SWDVD.
  3. ^ Warren, Bill (1986). "Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 749
  4. ^ "Rymdinvasion i Lappland" (in Swedish). Swedish Film Database. 19 August 1959. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Elin Fjellman Jaderup (22 April 2005). "Superobskyrt" (in Swedish). Sydsvenskan. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  6. ^ Henenlotter, Frank (2001). "Terror in the Midnight Sun" (dvd liner notes). Something Weird Video Inc. ID9751SWDVD.
  7. ^ Henenlotter, Frank (2001). "Terror in the Midnight Sun" (dvd liner notes). Something Weird Video Inc. ID9751SWDVD.
  8. ^ Henenlotter, Frank (2001). "Terror in the Midnight Sun" (dvd liner notes). Something Weird Video Inc. ID9751SWDVD.
  9. ^ Warren, Bill (1986). "Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 749
  10. ^ Henenlotter, Frank (2001). "Terror in the Midnight Sun" (dvd liner notes). Something Weird Video Inc. ID9751SWDVD.
  11. ^ Henenlotter, Frank (2001). "Terror in the Midnight Sun" (dvd liner notes). Something Weird Video Inc. ID9751SWDVD.
  12. ^ Weldon, Michael (1983). "The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film". Ballantine Books. ISBN 345-34345-5. Page 701
  13. ^ Henenlotter, Frank (2001). "Terror in the Midnight Sun" (dvd liner notes). Something Weird Video Inc. ID9751SWDVD.
  14. ^ Ray, Fred Olen (1991). "The New Poverty Row". McFarland and Co. Inc. ISBN 0-89950-628-3. Page 9
  15. ^ Henenlotter, Frank (2001). "Terror in the Midnight Sun" (dvd liner notes). Something Weird Video Inc. ID9751SWDVD.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties (covers films released through 1962), 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009 (First Edition 1982). ISBN 0-89950-032-3.

External links[edit]