Film (1974; vt Hell Fire; vt They). Rebane Productions. Produced by Bill Rebane. Directed by Rebane (credited as Ito). Written by Barbara J Rebane. Cast includes Robert Arkens, Paul Bentzen, Nick Holt, Debbi Pick and Karl Wallace. 94 minutes. Colour.
After a prologue in which officials are told the situation is extremely grim and widespread, the action switches to Jake Anderson (Holt), who with his sister Sarah (Pick) runs an air transport service from Bear Creek Lodge deep in the wilderness of Manitoba, Canada. Their current passengers are three ecological researchers, Andy (Arkens), Eric (Wallace), and Stan (Bentzen), returning to the town of Hightower some miles away. Radio reports tell of a quickly-spreading plague (see Medicine), now rapidly killing people worldwide. Disbelieving this as a hoax, Jake flies the three to Hightower, but is warned against landing at the airport by a man obviously seriously ill. Running low on fuel, Jake lands at a lodge where fuel is stored; the group returns to Bear Creek, briefly encountering a UFO along the way. From increasingly distressing radio news fragments, it seems that an Alien Invasion is under way, with the plague being one of its Weapons. Andy tries to escape on an old snowmobile, but vanishes; likewise Jake while trying to reach help on foot. Nevertheless the three survivors decide to walk to Hightower; only Sarah and Stan survive. In a surreal conclusion, they are transformed by the unseen aliens into loincloth-wearing children, with the implication that they are to repopulate the Earth as a new Adam and Eve.
Bill Rebane was one of a number of regional filmmakers who flourished in the US from the late 1940s to the mid-1980s, producing films which mainly played to a local audience and might then with luck be sold to television or, later, the home video market. Rising production costs mostly killed this film-making model in the 1980s. Rebane here attempted to exploit reviving interest in UFOs; though his aliens have apparently lived for millennia in the Hollow Earth, guiding humanity but finally giving up hope for a positive outcome and deciding to start over. Rebane soon produced the better-known films The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) and The Alpha Incident (1978), plus several later horror productions. The obscure Invasion from Inner Earth is interesting in its way, though badly let down by a near-zero budget. [GSt/DRL]
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