Twilight Zone: The Invader
The Twilight Zone is possibly the best anthology series ever shown on television. Anthologies are not that common, but they give the producers flexibility to tackle different stories and characters from week to week. The Twilight Zone was the product of Rod Serling, who had become sick of the censorship he felt from network executives. Like Gene Roddenberry later in the decade, he felt that placing the show in the realm of fantasy and science fiction would allow him to address issues of the day without any network interference, and they were both right. Thankfully, the audience was brighter than the executives or maybe the executives knew, but simply played along so the show would be made. Either way, the result was a new story every week
The Invaders is interesting for several reasons. For one, it has very little speech in it and the story is told through excellent pantomime acting more than dialog. The other reason is that the ending of it is in the 'gotcha' tradition of leading you in one way and then making an about face at the very end to something that you didn't think of. The simple synopsis is that a woman who lives in a remote area finds herself invaded by two tiny men in suits, and they terrorize her. She is able to defeat the small invaders, but as the last is finished off the episode turns on its head. Suffice to say, you'll want to go into it without any preconceived notions. One thing to watch for is the visible strings when the saucer has landed on her roof and it spins around as she is investigating it. This episode is available on DVD with the rest of the episodes either in several collections or as individual DVD's with 3-4 episodes each.
The Invaders was a second season episode of The Twilight Zone, and originally aired on January 27, 1961 - scarcely a week after John F Kennedy was sworn in as President. The story was written by Richard Matheson (though there is scant text for the entire episode), who also wrote for the original Star Trek series. Matheson was known as a top-notch science fiction writer, and he was just one of the many superior writers that Rod Serling recruited for The Twilight Zone. Matheson's work would also end up in the 1980's revival of The Twilight Zone show, and on Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories.
This isn't the first foray into a dimension of sight, sound or toys for Sideshow Toy. They have previously released other figures from The Twilight Zone, including a pair from Eye of the Beholder, the Gremlin from Nightmare at 40,000 ft and Kanamit from To Serve Man.
What Sideshow has created here is not so much a toy, but more a prop replica. The Invader figure was designed at the same size as the one used in filming the episode of The Twilight Zone, and so you can reenact scenes or just place him in a nice spot to scare someone. Earlier pictures had the color set as silver, but this was changed to gold because that was the actual color used for the prop (though it isn't obvious since the episode was in black and white). The figure is rotocast vinyl (and he has a very strong smell of vinyl) and has limited articulation built into twisting joints. The shoulders can twist as does the antenna, and that's about it for articulation.
The figure also includes a small weapon, the same one used on the show. What exactly it does or how it works was never made entirely clear, but it seems to be a heat ray (or more likely microwave radiation) used to blow holes in walls and give the weird lady in the cabin some nice burns on her skin. On the show the weapon lit up when used (not so on the toy) in case there was a dire need for an encore.
Mat Falls is the sculptor for the Invader, and his work can be seen in plenty of other Sideshow figures like S-Mart Ash. Like all Sideshow Toy figures, this one is limited to ensure collectability and also to fit the right size for the audience. For the Invader, there are 5000 in the run and this is just 2500 times the original run for the episode. You can burn or crush them if you'd like, but don't feel bad if they decide to fight back after that!
More pictures of the Invader
|Where to buy the Invader: The Invader figure is a limited edition of 5,000. It retails for about $30 to $40 and is available through Sideshow's online store and in specialty stores such as Suncoast, as well as various online toy retailers.
Several such online stores are RTM sponsors AisleSniper.com and Big Bad Toy Store. (Be sure to check the other RTM sponsors, listed on the Shop Center.)