Monday, November 28, 2011

Invaders From Mars (1953)

Seen: On netflix instant on my tv.
86/100 on the
Sci-Fi List.

It's 1953 and you know what that means! Communists EVERYWHERE! Even in unsuspecting smalltown America! EVEN ON MARS. In Invaders From Mars, young David (Jimmy Hunt) sees a spaceship land in his backyard and soon notices his parents behaving strangely- after they investigate the ship they return as cold, snipey jerks with strange marks on the backs of their necks. He realizes quickly that they've probably been taken over by evil alien lifeforms bent on world domination and works to find adults he can trust, convincing the sympathetic Dr Pat Blake (Helena Carter- I already checked, no relation) and astronomer Dr Stuart Kelston (Arthur Franz). They try to halt the imminent takeover by involving the military.

I saw the 80's remake of this movie at the Coolidge Corner Horrothon last year, and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Turns out the remake took some liberties with plot and characters that actually made it better, so I'm kind of disappointed with the original. I like the premise, with the child's point of view offering a nice twist to the alien invasion tale, and there are some killer sets/make-up effects towards the end. The cast is fairly strong, with Leif Erickson and Hillary Brooke really biting into their roles as the possessed parents from hell, it's kind of awesome. The kid is creepy-looking though. He's got like a middle-aged man face.

Though I enjoyed parts of it, Invaders From Mars failed to keep me interested. The main lady (who is some sort of doctor but I have no idea what, and doesn't do much except go to her astronomer friend for help all the time) and dude are boring, the kid's kind of annoying, and I was pretty much rooting for the aliens. Maybe I'm secretly Communist, oh NO! It drags in the beginning with lots of fake-science talk and then it gets all militaristic and not in an exciting way. The finale is explosive and sports some spooky prosthetics, but they are coupled with really bad alien costumes and poorly-staged fight scenes.

So in the end it's pretty middling.


Pair This Movie With: For obvious reasons, Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes to mind, either the '78 or '56 versions. Or The Faculty.

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