Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Episode 7: Nightmare - 2/21/67

A schoolmarm drives up to a farm and steps out with many books in arm. She walks toward a barn where a humming sound can be heard from the open door. The sound intensifies as she enters the barn, and as she looks around, she is startled by the appearance of Fred. She asks what he's doing on his feet and tells him he should be staying off his ankle. His face is unemotional and he does not respond. As she explains that they have a history test on Monday and that she brought his schoolbooks, she notices the Constable and Mr. Danielson standing by a metal contraption with geometric designs and colorful lights. As she walks over to them, the Constable flips a switch and the lights go out on the machine.

Fred circles around her menacingly and she asks what he's doing as he picks up a large stick on the ground. She drops her books and runs, and he takes off after her, while the other men follow. Even in her pencil skirt and prim pumps, she is able to evade Fred before the other two call him back to the barn. The Constable switches the device back on and we see the bravehearted teacher ducking under a barbed wire fence, stopping to notice a powdery substance on the plants, as the sky blackens with a swarm of locusts. She dashes through a dead cornfield and seeks shelter in a shed, but some of the insects find their way in and attack her.


Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars:
Kathleen Widdoes as Ellen Woods

Robert Emhardt as Oliver Ames

Jeanette Nolan as Miss Havergill

James Callahan as Ed Gidney


Written by:

Directed by:

Act I 

Thirty miles from the geographical center of America, at its very heart, is the town of Grady, population 5,312. Principal industry: farming. Grady, Kansas, the American Gothic. Rigid, proud of its tradition, protective of its own, resentful of any threat from the world outside. 

As William Woodson narrates, two men are standing by a car talking, and stop and take notice as David Vincent walks by on the other side of the street. One of the men breaks away and begins to follow as he stops at a house, looking at a newspaper article entitled, "Third Locust Attack on Grady." The man watches from across the street as he approaches the open door and enters. 

He knocks on an apartment door and two ladies, Clare and Lena Lapham, from across the hall open their door to tell him she's moved, and when he asks where, they say they don't know and slam the door.

He begins to leave, but the man who was watching him blocks the hallway and asks if he's looking for Ellen. He says he is, and when the man asks what it's about, he tells him he wants to ask her questions about the locusts. He begins to explain that she was scared and said a lot of wild things as Clare and Lena come out of their apartment. He tells him that questions will upset her and David says she'll let him know if she doesn't want to talk to him. The man becomes agitated and tells him to forget it and catch a bus out of town. He says he'll think about it, as the man watches him go, slapping at an insect on his ear. The two women watch from the screen door, and Clare slaps at an insect and says, "Honestly, one of these days we'll all be eaten alive."

David Vincent continues walking down the tree lined neighborhood, as a man passing by turns to look at him. He stops at a large house and knocks on the door, calling for Mr. Ames, who enters the room carrying a tray of tea and rolls. He assumes he's a newspaper fellow from the city, but David says he's not and introduces himself. He explains that he's looking for Ellen Woods to ask her some questions and thought that he might know since he's the principal at the school where she teaches.

He says he can't tell him where she is and he asks why not. He says after talking to five people, it seems everyone is trying to keep him from talking to her. Mr. Ames explains that she's a sensitive girl and that her parents were killed a year ago in a terrible accident, just before she was to be married. He tells him that she refused to believe they were dead for a few weeks and spent a few months in a sanitarium in the city. He says she was getting along fine until the business with the locusts, as she begins to descend the stairs, unseen by him. He tells him she's getting married in a few weeks and he's afraid that questions will upset her. She interrupts and says she won't be upset. He tries to get her to go back upstairs, but she refuses.

She walks over to David and asks what he'd like to know. He asks about the metallic box she saw that brought the locusts. She says she imagined the box, that she was still hysterical from the attack when the newspaper men questioned her, and that there was no box. David presses her to describe what it looked like. Mr. Ames intervenes, saying she just told him she imagined it. She says she doesn't remember and he asks if she also forgot that the Danielsons and the Constable were also there. Mr. Ames tells him that the Danielsons denied having been in the barn that afternoon and that one of the deputies vouched for the Constable. David says he thinks they're lying and she gets up and repeats that she didn't see anything in the barn. He asks what scared her so much that she ran all the way to the next farm. He continues to press her until she gets agitated and runs upstairs and throws herself down on the bed. The principal asks him to leave.

He heads over to 'The Lunch Counter' for a cup of coffee. He asks the woman who serves him about the people who own the farm where the girl was caught in the locust attack, and she informs him that they sold their farm and moved the day before. He asks who bought it and she tells him it was bought by Ira Danielson, who owns the farm next door.

She cheerfully calls out to Ed, who enters with two other men, and then rushes at David, grabbing him out of his seat and throwing him into the other two as she screams. They hold him while Ed punches and knees him in the gut several times.

He gets in his face to ask if he got the message and yells at him to stay away from her, as they let him drop to the floor.

The Constable enters with a deputy, who peels up his eyelid, stating that he's out cold. The server tells the deputy it was his brother, Ed. He notes the open back door and asks if he should go after him. The Constable responds by asking if he wants to get his brother in trouble and says David had it coming anyway. He says they're taking him in and they lift him up and carry him out.

It's going to be difficult to tell who is an alien and who's not in this episode. The irony of this episode is that a small town of suspicious townsfolk, wary of outsiders, have allowed the Invaders to slip into their midst unrecognized. Clare's comment on being eaten alive someday feels somewhat prophetic which makes me hope for all out mayhem in Act IV.

Act II

David Vincent is locked up in a jail cell straight out of Mayberry. Constable Gabbard unlocks the cell door and issues him out, letting him know they're driving him to the next town where he's to catch a bus. He asks what he'll do about the guys who beat him up, and the constable says it's his job and not to stick his nose into other people's business.

Ellen is still on the bed when she hears a knock on the bedroom door. Ed comes in and she rushes to hug him while he comforts her, telling her that Vincent guy won't be bothering her any more. She says that he believed her and wonders how he could believe what she doesn't. Ed asks her to tell him the truth about what she saw in the Danielson's barn. She tells him she saw Ira Danielson, his son, Fred, and Constable Gabbard with a metallic box that had dials and made a loud, whining noise. She believes it brought the locusts. Ed holds her and tells her he loves her and has since they were kids, that he'll stay with her until she forgets about this nightmare.

David Vincent rides in front with the deputy, who is driving, while Constable Gabbard rides in back. When they are out in the middle of nowhere, the constable tells the deputy to pull over. David presses his foot down over the deputy's on the gas peddle and grabs the wheel, causing the car to swerve all over the road. When it comes to a stop in a cornfield, he jumps out of the car and runs. Constable Gabbard fires shots at him and a bullet hits his arm, taking him down. The constable gets on his radio and asks to be put through to Danielson. David gets up and continues running until he collapses in a field.

Locusts begin swarming in the sky as Clare joins Mr. Ames at the window to watch them. She comments that she doesn't understand it, that she's never seen anything like it in all the years she's lived there. Ellen runs downstairs, saying the locusts have come back and that they need to get to the Danielson's to see the box for themselves. Mr. Ames forbids her to go out and tells her to go to her room, as he grabs her wrist. She breaks away from him and takes off in her car as he yells after her.

David regains consciousness in the field, noticing a powdery substance coating the plants in the field. He hears the locusts and sees them behind him and heads for a silo. Ellen sees him as she is driving by and pulls over. She runs after him and grabs his wounded arm, causing him to yell. He grabs her with the other arm and the locusts descend just as they break into the silo. She screams as he brushes them off her and asks her to brush them off him, telling her to calm down.

They head up the stairs and enter a room with a map, lots of technical equipment, and several glass containers housing live butterflies. He examines a dish holding a powdery substance and another holding a cut of raw meat next to one of the butterfly houses. He presses the meat into the powder in the dish and tosses it into the butterfly house. The butterflies converge on the meat, emitting a humming sound, until all that is left is the bone.

It appears the Invaders are training insects to devour flesh. They are crafty and inventive creatures who are willing to go to a lot of trouble to subjugate earthlings. More evidence that there may be some flesh eating by episode's end. I'm betting Principal Ames is an alien.


David and Ellen exit the silo and look over the wasted fields. David sees Constable Gabbard and Ira Danielson running across the devastated earth toward them and grabs Ellen by the arm and runs. They make it to the car and drive away.

Ellen asks where they're going and he says he's going to call state police. He asks if she can trust Ames and she says she thinks she can. He tells her to go to his house and call Ed and ask him to stay with her until he gets help. He tells her she's in danger. She doesn't understand why anyone would want to hurt her and asks why they didn't do it when she saw the box. He responds that it would have caused too much curiosity, but now they have no choice because she's seen too much. He points out the lunch room where he'll make his call and reminds her to call Ed to tell him what happened and to wait for him at Ames' house.

He goes in to 'The Lunch Counter' with his arm oozing Hammer Horror blood and asks for a telephone. He is directed to its convenient location in the men's room and places an emergency call to state police as he locks the restroom door. He identifies himself and his location but the officer taking his call says it's not in their jurisdiction, but says he'll see what he can do. He calls Constable Gabbard and gives him all the info he needs to bag David Vincent.

The constable grabs his hat and lies to his deputy about where he's going and asks him to lock up when he's through. David begins removing his shirt to clean his wounded arm in the washroom sink while Ellen arrives at Principal Ames' house. She runs inside to find Clare, Lena and Miss Havergill gathered in the living room with Mr. Ames. Clare says they were about to look for her in Miss Havergill's car and Ames begins to apologize as she runs to the phone and begins dialing.

He asks her what she's doing and she hangs up and says Ed's not there. She says she wanted him to stay with her until the police get there. He asks her what happened and what she saw. She says she doesn't know and can't remember. They all exchange meaningful looks while she continues to ask for Ed, saying she wants him to take her back to the sanitarium. The ladies begin to leave and she asks if at least one of them can stay and have tea. Miss Havergill tells her not to be afraid, that she'll stay by her every minute, as she helps her be seated on the couch.

David emerges from the bathroom and seats himself at the lunch counter. The cook asks how his shoulder is and he says it's fine and requests coffee. He asks about the double silo next to the Danielson's farm and the cook tells him it was owned by a man named Kirby until the locust attack, after which Constable Gabbard bought it. He goes on to say he brought some family from out of town to work on it, that he doesn't know them well since they don't mix with folks. David thanks him as he hears tires screeching outside. He goes to the window and sees Constable Gabbard parked outside.

The constable enters with gun drawn and the cook asks what's going on. Gabbard asks if a stranger was there using the phone and the cook directs him to the restroom. The constable doesn't find him in the men's room or out the back door and he leaves.

Ed arrives at Mr. Ames' house with Clare and Lena and asks where Ellen is. Ames tells him she's upstairs with Miss Havergill and he stops him from going up, asking if he wants to lose her for good. He says he called doctors in the city who advised Ed not to see her. He argues with them and they convince him not to see her.

Miss Havergill covers Ellen with a blanket and Ellen asks when Ed is coming. She tells her she wants only Ed to take her to the city, and that when he arrives she should send everyone away so she can talk to him. Miss Havergill agrees and tells her not to worry.

Things aren't looking good for Ellen. I was expecting Miss Havergill to be giving her a good ol' brain hemorrhage via lighted metal disc. David Vincent is surely on his way there. Will he get there in time to rescue her? The cook didn't seem too surprised by David's bloody gunshot wound. I guess it's the type of town where there are a lot of hunting accidents with people stopping off for a spot of coffee before heading to the hospital.

Act IV

David approaches a house undergoing renovation and calls for Ed. Constable Gabbard arrives at Mr. Ames' house and they talk before the constable departs and Ames returns to the house. Ellen is downstairs asking the three ladies why they wouldn't let her see Ed and they tell her it was doctor's orders. Ames says they have to leave now and he begins to lead her out, telling her not to be difficult. She breaks away from his grasp and runs away, but is blocked by Miss Havergill. Ellen begs Clare and Lena to get Ed, saying they're trying to kill her, and Clare says she's twisted. Miss Havergill gets a bottle from her purse and pours it into a cloth which she presses over Ellen's nose and mouth as Ames restrains her.

David is waiting in Ed's half painted kitchen as Ed walks in and asks what he's doing there. David asks for his help and he tells him to get out. He tells Ed that Ellen is in danger and asks if he spoke to her. Ed says that Ames wouldn't let him, that they're taking her to a mental hospital. David tells him that Ellen is going to be killed and they've got to stop it. Ed doesn't believe him and goes to the phone to call the Constable. David tells him he'll regret calling the constable, who took a shot at him, as he points out his bloody sleeve. He says that if he wants to make a call, he should call the hospital to see if they're really taking her there. He picks up the phone and requests the number for the Forsythe Clinic.

David spots the constable outside and ducks behind a door before he enters and asks Ed if he's seen Vincent. Before he can respond, the operator comes on the line and gives him the information he needs. Ed tells him he hasn't seen him and says he'll let him know if he sees him. David comes out and asks what the operator said and Ed tells him that there's no such hospital. David tells them they have to go and Ed starts to question why anyone would want to kill her. David says there's no time and they leave.

Mr. Ames and Miss Havergill help a groggy Ellen walk to the car and load her in back with Ames. Clare and Lena grasp hands and stare after them. Ames asks Havergill if she called Danielson and if everything is ready. She says she did.

Ed and David are at Mr. Ames' house. When they meet Clare and Lena coming in the front door, Ed asks where Ellen is. They tell him that she just left with Oliver and Miss Havergill, that she'd been saying crazy stuff about Oliver trying to kill her until they quieted her with some medicine. Ed goes to the phone to call his brother Carl to ask him to stop Ames and Havergill on the highway, telling him that Ellen's life may depend on it.

Ellen begins to come to and Oliver grasps her by the hand and holds on to her. As Ed drives, he tells David that he's not saying he believes him, but asks why Grady would be an alien target. David guesses that since Grady is near the center of the US, they will use the machines in the silo to send out vibrations causing insects to attack every point in America. He explains the vast number of insects on Earth would be quite an ally. He tells him that he saw butterflies eat flesh in the silo.

David and Ed reach Carl who is blocking the road with one of the Constable's cars. He tells them he hasn't seen them and that they must have turned off on Iverson road. They realize it's just past the Danielson's place and David tells him to call the FBI and Ed takes his gun as they both run back to the car and take off, somehow squealing tires on the dirt road.

Constable Gabbard and Ira Danielson come out of the barn as Ames drives up with Ellen and Miss Havergill. The Constable grabs the screaming Ellen and begins to drag her toward the barn until they see David and Ed coming up the road. Danielson goes out to shoot at them with his gun, but Ed runs him down. He glows red and vaporizes.

The Constable is using his car as a shield while Havergill and Ames run away from the barn. Ellen appears at the door and jumps Gabbard as he takes aim. David and Ed rush him and David high kicks the gun out of his hand while Ed helps Ellen on the ground.

David continues punching and kicking Gabbard in the barn and knocks him into a container of flesh eating butterflies.

We hear the Constable scream as a humming sound intensifies, and a red glow reflects off David's horrified face.

Havergill and Ames run into the silo and Ames pulls a lever down, causing a red light to flash. Ed is comforting Ellen when David steps outside the barn and sees the silo explode. 

Ellen escaped the flesh eating butterflies and the Constable became butterfly food in her place. It's not quite the all out mayhem of flesh eating insects I was hoping for, but nicely done anyway. I guess this particular group of aliens hasn't been requisitioned the handy lighted brain hemorrhaging discs or the hypnotic crystals, which would seem much simpler in taking care of humans who would talk than feeding them to insects. The Invaders are quite fond of their self destruct mechanisms, causing them to start afresh with new ideas in their conquest of the human race every week, though we currently are only aware of their efforts on American soil.



Ed enters his home where Ellen sits at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and her hair let down. David asks what he found out and he tells him that Ames, Havergill and half a dozen families have all left town. Ellen says they can't prove anything and David asks why not and tells them he wants them both to talk to the FBI. Ellen says she has Ed and she wants only to be left in peace with him and she can't live through the nightmare of having people listen to a story they don't believe and thinking her crazy. She asks if he understands and he says he doesn't after all that's happened. Ed apologizes and says they're not ever going to talk. He wishes them both luck and leaves.

Grady, Kansas, proud of its tradition, protective of its own, resentful of any threat from the world outside. David Vincent has faced the Invader here, and, for a little while, that threat has been pushed aside.

 William Bramley as Constable Gabbard
Irene Tedrow as Clare Lapham
Nellie Burt as Lena Lapham

Logan Field...Carl Gidney
John Harmon...Cook
Wayne Heffley...Deputy
William Challee...Danielson
Jim Halferty...Fred Danielson
Carey Loftin...Hank Braden  

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:

David Vincent rejects help from Lt. Lucather in backing his story of Invaders in the Genesis episode, but doesn't understand why a fragile woman with a history of mental illness doesn't want to go to the FBI. Although we have yet another sensitive female character, she turns out to be tougher than she looks when running from aliens and jumping the alien constable. I was hoping for more involvement from Jeanette Nolan and thought her talents were wasted in this episode. She could have been a truly menacing alien.

It certainly was a unique idea for the Invaders to somehow cause insects to develop a craving for flesh, even if it does make little sense, considering they aren't equipped with the proper mouthparts for tearing through flesh. It's unclear if the Invaders want to wipe out all of humanity or if it depends on the Invader of the week. I'd think by now they'd put a little more effort into stopping David Vincent, since he's caused them to engage their self destruct devices on more than one occasion, forcing them to lose all progress they make toward dominion over Earth.

William Windom and Andrew Duggan will be our guest stars next week.


  1. Because of it's rather absurd plot, this episode stands as probably the quirkiest episode in the show's run... and that DOES make for fun viewing! Yes, I agree that the aliens ultimate plot is rather murky, in creating flesh eating insects... especially when the alien constable proves to be just as susceptible to them as humans! Also agree that the great character actress Jeanette Nolan should have been given more to do; she made a perfectly sinister alien. Even more wasted was Nellie Burt as one of the spinster sisters; seems like they gave her 2 or 3 lines total? She was what really "made" the "Outer Limits" episode "The Guests". The image of a fat Robert Emhardt racing to self-destruct the silo is (unintentionally?) humorous. Makes one wonder why the aliens would choose such a "vessel" for one of their own! LOL Though hokey, I liked the scene where Vincent feeds meat to the caged butterflies -- it certainly was a shocker!

  2. Great synopsis and review, but I couldn't get into this one. The writer was not cut out for Invaders. His other script for the show, Storm, basically is 'MUHAHAHA!! We'll build a weather machine and rule the world!!!' I didn't know Simon Bar Sinister from the Underdog cartoon was now an alien.