The Twilight Zone
Rod Serling’s Opening Lines – “This is one of those out-of-the-way places, the unvisited places, bleak, wasted, dying. This is a farmhouse, handmade, crude, a house without electricity or gas, a house untouched by progress.
This is the woman who lives in the house, a woman who’s been alone for many years, a strong, simple woman whose only problem up until this moment has been that of acquiring food to eat, a woman about to face terror that is even now coming at her from… The Twilight Zone.”
Directed by Douglas Heyes
The Invaders is a shining entry in Season 2 of the Rod Serling classic series The Twilight Zone. It is once again written by Richard Matheson (Steel, I Am Legend, Trilogy of Terror) and co -written by Serling. It stars Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte) as a woman introduced with no name and happens to live in a run down, shabby shack of a home in some desolate rural location.
Immediately upon starting, director Doug Heyes (Ice Station Zebra) establishes a dreary and isolated existence for the Woman. She solemnly prepares her dinner, cutting up vegetables and the like. As she does she hears a very unique and disturbing sound that seems to come from above her house. She becomes alarmed and thus begins a terrifying descent into fear and desperation for “The Woman”
Matheson brilliantly omits any kind of dialog for this episode having Moorehead portray a woman that is either mute or just does not speak aloud when alone. She grunts yells and murmurs throughout the episode as she is slowly forced to defend herself from what appears to be intruders trying to get in from above. The story shows us how she seems to live very remotely, rustic and isolated. Serling and Matheson explore this theme of isolation by having her quiet and uneventful existence being torn asunder by “visitors” or as it would appear by the way they have infiltrated the house – “Invaders”
What ensues is classic Serling and classic Matheson. A struggle to the death between a woman who is desperate and some entities that break into her house. But why are they there? And why her? She doesn’t care for the answers and just runs on pure rage and survival instinct. Moorehead is just hands down brilliant here. Her pantomime mannerisms, facial gestures, grunting and screaming really impress. So far and beyond the norm back then for a 30 minute TV performance.
She relays fear, vanity, dread and horror while facing these unseen demons that are attacking her. Moorhead just lets it all go here. She discovers that they are actually very small beings. What are they and where are they from? Well, I can’t tell you because it is one of the best twists that Serling and Matheson have ever dreamed up. It is a twist that makes the jaw drop and forces you to shout “No Way!”
Lastly is how well shot the episode is. Heyes is economical like Matheson’s almost dialog free story. The episode is cut together nicely and lit very starkly in spots. The camera is almost voyeuristic and seems like another character in the episode. The story builds nicely and reaches a fervor at the end and the climax never disappoints. It is an episode not to be missed among other great entries in Season 2. Enjoy! The Twilight Zone is available on Netflix Instant Streaming.