Invaders From Mars (1986)
Mission Log: Martians land in a kid’s backyard and make everyone speak slower and have less emotions.
Here are some of my observations during playback:
- No cannibal movies this year right? Whew. OK, let’s initiate System 9…
- Golan-Globus and Tobe Hooper, three great tastes that go great together.
- It’s nice to see Karen Black finally get a Superman-swoosh style opening credit.
- Nurse Ratchett is in this. Oh shit.
- SFX by Stan Winston and John Dykstra. Good sign.
- Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon. Signs continuing to look good.
- The dad is played by Timothy Bottoms, which means we’ll have to listen to “One”* by review’s end.
- I’ll explain the * later.
- The mom is played by Loraine Newman and I can only hope that when the aliens land, she asks them if they’re from France.
- Four minutes into Schlock 9 and I don’t think anyone under the age of 40 has gotten one joke yet.
- Aside from Ethan Hawke in Explorers, David is the only other kid in the mid-eighties who wants to be an astronaut.
- Looks like Tobe “borrowed” some FX from Close Encounters of the Third Kind for this alien landing. That’ll teach him for that Poltergeist who-really-directed-it rumor debacle.
- While he’s watching the aliens land, David has the same face Bubba Ritter had while protesting his innocence.
- By that I mean his acting stinks.
- No one ever seems to be able to spot the signs of alien assimilation. Especially at the breakfast table.
- Shot-gunning your coffee after adding twenty tabs of NutraSweet to it always means alien assimilation! At least it did in my old neighborhood.
- Since the opening credits, I’ve had the Misfits’ Teenagers From Mars stuck in my head.
- The shot of David in class looking at the frog in the jar is exactly the same shot from E.T. What is with Hooper and Spielberg?
- Alright, it’s Frog Week!
- After Cuckoo’s Nest I guess Louise Fletcher was the go to woman when the script called for an evil cunt.
- Karen Black plays the school nurse, which is funny ‘cause she’s the real life mom of the kid playing David. Funny right? So I looked at IMDB trivia. Fuck you.
- I don’t know about you, but when I would get home from school and find the front door slightly open, which would then slam shut on its own behind me; I did nothing because it unfortunately never happened.
- David keeps a Kenner Rancor on a speaker next to the front door, right on. However, I doubt there will be as much Return of the Jedi product placement as there was in The Stuff.
- The TV has static on it. Again with the Spielberg shout outs.
- David changes the channel and starts to watch Lifeforce. Interesting foreshadowing there.
- Aaaaand Loraine Newman does the Conehead voice.
- I’m watching this opus on Tubi and have seen five ads so far for Honda – and still have absolutely no desire to lease one. That is all.
- Am I the only one who thinks that Joe Dante should have directed this?
- When going up the hill to look for David’s dad, the police chief says, “I haven’t been up here since I was a kid.” The actor playing the chief played David in the original 1953 version of this movie. What? I think that’s cute.
- Wait, how is the police officer now a NASA official? And was it ever said that David’s dad was one too?
- Wow, I’ve never been this lost twenty minutes into a movie before. Then again I do drink heavily while writing these reviews.
- No wonder Matt & Trey used Timothy Bottoms in That’s My Bush. The guy has always looked like W.
- So that isn’t the same actor playing the cop and the NASA official? What the fuck is going on here man?
- The cops are now talking slowly and touching their necks: assimilation.
- I get that this set is very stylized, but this hill is way too close to David’s bedroom window.
- Mom’s now touching her neck while frying bacon into what looks like strips of dried tar: assimilation.
- Every shot of the dinner table has a carton of Knudsen milk on it. Where they silent investors in this movie?
- Christ, the body snatchers didn’t whip through the townsfolk this fast.
- What kind of a fucked up teacher puts the science experiments in the coatroom?
- I guess the kind that sits in there and eats frogs. Well done Ms. Fletcher.
- Was David’s direction for this scene to run down the hall like a complete spaz?
- My school nurse never gave me the key to her back door. Bah-zing!
- Judging by the contents of her van, I think the teacher was really fucked up way before assimilation.
- Tubi just ran an ad for a store that’s fifteen minutes away from my digs. I’m being assimilated!
- Are we finally going to see some Martian invaders now?
- This Martian hideout looks like the alien’s ship from Explorers (again) mixed with the interior of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems over in Grover’s Mill, NJ.
- At 38:50 we finally have some fucking Martians.
- And they look like rocky mountain oysters on AT-ST legs. Bull’s balls and The Empire Strikes Back, I am a golden comedy god.
- What is obviously the alien leader just emerged from a door that looks like an asshole. No Star Wars reference for that one.
- These aliens are starting to remind me of Big Trouble in Little China.
- Speaking of which, don’t you think that Joanie Laurer’s sex tape should have been called, “Little Trouble in Big Chyna?”
- If I ever get Louise Fletcher’s autograph I’m gonna have her write, “David Gardner I’ll Get You!” It’ll never happen, but there it is.
- I’m really struggling with the geography surrounding David’s house.
- Gee, who saw these two guys getting sucked into the sand coming?
- David and Linda are truly two of the worst protagonists ever.
- There is a prop of the original 1953 version of the Martian leader in the basement. Again, cute.
- Why does a Martian drill pop up out of nowhere and save David and Linda?
- The much lauded General Wilson is none other than Mr. Pathmark himself, James Karen. I love this guy in anything he does.
- This movie really needs to hit the gas on the third act now.
- Hey everybody it’s Bud Cort!
- What exactly is launching in 12:23:09? I didn’t get that.
- Jesus, this 18-wheeler has enough explosives on it to take out Nakatomi Plaza.
- I swear that some of the background sound FX are from the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man.
- Have I mentioned yet that the acting isn’t really all that good in this?
- Oh, there was a rocket that was supposed to launch, but it was destroyed by the rig with all of the explosives on it. I get it now.
- The marines used in the scene where they raided the school were real and not actors or stuntmen. Judging by the look of the scene it’s a miracle we made it out of the cold war.
- Gotta give it up for Tobe though, this movie might suck but the visuals are truly gorgeous.
- There seems to be a Sarlaac pit in the school’s basement. That makes the Rancor cameo all the more sweet.
- Ha ha, Rinaldi got eaten by a Dune worm.
- After Bud Cort is burned to a pile of bones; the aliens are dispatched in one of celluloid’s worst deaths.
- Can this end anytime soon?
- How many more people have to get sucked into the sand before the military launches a nuke? This is the mid-eighties for the love of Pete.
- I just noticed that the AT-ST aliens have high heels on their back feet.
- Now I hear lightsaber sound FX in the assimilation chamber.
- Fletcher really has a hard–on for David, sheesh.
- David screaming down at Linda while she’s being assimilated looks like Benjamin Braddock shouting down at Elaine to stop the wedding.
- These Martians sure do laugh alot.
- Rinaldi’s plea of “shoot me,” echoes my own sentiments at this point.
- This movie is a total dumpster fire, but that Martian drill is really cool.
- All it took was one penny to re-charge the Martian laser gun. Fuck me.
- You’ve got be kidding me, the whole movie was the Bobby Ewing-all-a-dream thing.
- Newman does the Conehead voice again.
- David has a picture of Han Solo on his wall, maybe this will tie The Stuff.
- And as the movie ends, it starts over again. How fitting.
* Explanation: Timothy Bottoms played the soldier who gets his arms, legs, and face blown off in “Johnny Get Your Gun,” footage from which was used heavily throughout the music video for Metallica’s 1988 masterpiece “One.” You’re welcome.
Scare Stars: The quality of the acting sure as shit is, but other than that no. Dominating most of the scary scenes is Louise Fletcher, and the shot of her driving a school bus smiling at David is ball-shrinkingly terrifying.
Gore Galaxy: Barely any really, the alien probes are inserted into necks, humans are incinerated, and when the aliens are shot they don’t bleed.
Heavenly Bodies: Not a one.
Best Transmission: “Don’t worry son, we marines have no qualms about killing Martians.” I doubt if invasion ever happens for real it will come to warfare. I’m sure Space Force will just build a Space Wall.
Best Visual: If you can ignore how badly everyone runs in this movie, the end battle is decent enough.
Worst Visual: The whole scene where David pleads his case in front of the Martian leader is so fucking awful, you can only pray that not only does he not get into NASA; but any occupation that involves negotiation.
Damage Report: Being a fan of Tobe Hooper, I find it hard to shit on his movies (the exception is Funhouse – I never cared for that one). Like I mentioned before, I think Joe Dante should have directed this, some of the visuals just scream for his input and direction. Well, whatever – this movie is some sort of a cult classic now, but for my moolah it wasn’t one of Hooper’s best efforts.
Kobayashi Maru Score: