The 80s were a treasure trove of films from almost every genre. One of the most beloved would be the fantasy family film. Legend, Labyrinth, The Goonies, The Dark Crystal, Willow, The Neverending Story, Ladyhawke, Clash of the Titans, Explorers, the list is endless. And moreso than kids movies today, these movies were actually edgy, often containing legitimate scares, foul language and intense situations. They served as our gateway to more grown up movies in horror, sci-fi and fantasy. But thanks to director Tobe Hooper, he of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre fame, we also got a film that straddled that line between the ages with Invaders from Mars.
In this remake of the classic 50s sci fi film of the same name, Hunter Carson plays David Gardner, a young boy who witnesses an alien spacecraft land behind his house during a meteor shower. When David starts to notice his parents, then teachers, then the townspeople acting strangely, he discovers it is the beginning of an alien invasion that is slowly taking over all the people of Earth. Along with a school nurse, Linda (Karen Black), David enlists the help of the U.S. Marines to help him save the world.
Invaders from Mars is a unique 80s film in that it blends many aspects of genres that we loved so much at the time. Obviously the alien invasion is the heavy sci fi element, also thrown in is the horror element with the people being taken over (the jury is still out on whether Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a sci fi or horror film, I say both), and it also has the family element with the protagonist being a kid. But there is something so creepy and unsettling about the film when it hits its third act. When David finally confronts the aliens, although they are big practical fx monsters straight out of any other 80s movie, there is something sinister about them that I can’t put my finger on. It takes you for a dark spin and you can’t help feeling there is something hopeless about Invaders from Mars, especially in the ending, that just wasn’t present in other 80s kids movies. The kid usually ends up the hero or the day is somehow saved. That isn’t necessarily the case in Invaders from Mars though. A very unique and memorable 80s flick worth checking out. And the Shout Factory Blu-ray looks phenomenal with a stellar restoration that looks so much better than any previous incarnation. Fans of the movie can also rejoice at the plethora of great special features as well including an audio commentary with Tobe Hooper, a great making of documentary, a trailer and TV spot, original storyboards and an illustration gallery with commentary. Lots of love here, Invaders from Mars is highly recommended.