Invaders from Mars (1986)

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Invaders from Mars 1986Invaders from Mars (1986)

“Don’t worry, Son!
We Marines have no qualms about killing Martians!”

 

I didn’t know what to expect from this given the low score it has online but it has an eye catching poster and is from the 80’s so I’m a sucker for that.

Then I find out it is directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974) written by Dan O Bannon (The Return of the Living Dead 1985) and starring Karen Black (Trilogy of Terror 1975) and Louise Feltcher (Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) so now I have to watch.

It is also an 80’s remake of a 1950’s Sci-Fi film and let’s be honest when it comes to remakes that is the right combination of decades for the remake to work.

So in small town USA there is a meteor storm being observed by wannabe astronaut David (played by Karen Black’s real life son Hunter Carson) and his dad.
After going to bed he witness an alien spaceship land just over the hill behind his home and pesters his dad to go investigate which he duly does eventually.
Young David soon notices that his father is acting oddly but manages to escape being taken over to the hill by him when the school bus arrives.

While in class he cuts himself and is taken to the nurse by someone who can only be described as his nemesis his teacher (Louise Fletcher) to someone who will become his ally school nurse Linda played by Karen Black.

At this point the film is like a children’s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a letter received coming from a town sharing the same name as the town from Body Snatchers Santa Mira.

Easy to spot the infected by a sore on the back of their neck David and Linda try to figure out what is going on and convince local army General played by James Karen (Frank from Return of the Living Dead) of the alien attack.

One of the staples of early Tobe Hooper films was his use of soundstages, the lighting in them and how he would make them destructible all of which are present here and despite being a relatively low budget film have a better look about them than in a modern film using CGI without the budget to make it look good which is usually most.

The acting is sadly a bit poor from Karen Black, it is as if she didn’t know what she was doing but we do still have the pleasure of watching her. Louise Fletcher hams it up at times yet isn’t as anywhere near as bad as people make out.
She was fun to watch and the child playing David is bland but passable. If anything all this adds to the charm.

The aliens look silly apart from the Supreme Intelligence that resembles Krang from the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles which is a very nice animatronic puppet and we have to remember this is a children’s film.

I think it is?

That’s the beauty of the 80’s in that films for children regularly swayed into adult territory with Invaders being no exception.

Very easy to miss if you haven’t seen the original like I haven’t are a couple of homages to the original including the actor that played David who plays the police chief that goes to the hill and says “Gee, I haven’t been up here since I was a kid” as well as a “Globe Head” prop from the original placed upon the top of a locker.

There are other references like the magazine Davids dad reads in his room which had an article on the making of the original plus the film David is watching on TV is one of Tobe Hoopers earlier films Lifeforce (1985).

If this sounds like your thing or you have have children then turn your brain off and give it a go. It’s this or Frozen.