Invaders From Mars (1986) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Karen Black, Hunter Carson, Timothy Bottoms
Rated: PG/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Scream Factory
This space-age creature feature is crawling with horrifying hordes of Martians hell-bent on stealing your soul: as well as your planet! Little David Gardner’s starry-eyed dreams turn into an out-of-this-world nightmare when invaders from the red planet land in his backyard and unleash their hostilities on unsuspecting earthlings! Paralyzed with fear as the aliens take over the minds of his mom, dad and even his schoolmates, David must somehow find a way to stop them: before they turn the whole human race into brain-dead zombies!
I recently saw this on VHS for the first time. Thankfully, Scream Factory soon announced after I watched it that they’d be releasing it on Blu-ray! That basically brings us to here and my second dose of Invaders from Mars. A movie that can be a great midnight movie, but a movie I still have a few issues with. I love Tobe Hooper movies and I also love horror films directed at kids that came out in the 1980s. The kid horror film is a lost art that doesn’t get done half as well these days as it did back in these days. There is a vibe to them that just can’t be duplicated. The two things being combined here for a movie should have been a can’t miss hit out of the park for me, but sadly, I had trouble keeping as into this one as it went along. The movie starts off really well. Maybe, I should say it starts off exceptionally well, because I really did love things at the start (I really, really did!). We have a dreamy like setting of a father and son looking into the stars and it seems to have that magical 80s feel until the son spots something in the sky before bed. This kicks off our typical routine of nobody believing the kid, the Dad checks it out, he’s now acting strange, and it goes from there until our kid lead finds the one person who believes him (The great Karen Black)and tries to help. I really dug the first half of the film and I really wish things had went on like this for the entire film. However, that isn’t the case all together when it comes to Invaders from Mars.
The movie is more or less 80s fun up until the military comes into play about half way. And, just like the military in most horror films, they ruin things. While they don’t do that as bad plot wise in the film, I think it gives the movie a punch in the gut it never does really recover from and then finally the movie is finished off once we get a look at one of the over-sized aliens. I mean, I get it. I really sort of do. I just still don’t think these aliens needed to look like they ended up looking, even if the guy who worked on Star Wars had a hand in creating them. I can handle silly, after all I do love 80s horror. This just didn’t seemed a little too goofy. And, I say that as a guy who tends to love goofy in horror films from the time. From there I was kind of out of it and I don’t feel the movie ever gets back on it’s feet as the cheese starts to flow in a un-cool 80s fashion and it ends on a typical note that seems like a cop-out in some ways and just a way to keep the door open for a sequel that we never have gotten in another way. Or maybe we could just look at it as a film that ends in your typical midnight movie fashion, since after all, that is what it is supposed to be. Or maybe I’m just looking too much into it. It is still a fun movie in spots, it just doesn’t stay consistent in any way. I still had fun with it, but it does get a bit silly near the middle to the end. Still, fun either way.
– Audio Commentary with Director Tobe Hooper
– The Martians Are Coming! – The Making of “Invaders From Mars”, an all-new retrospective featuring interviews with Director Tobe Hooper, Actor Hunter Carson, Special Creature Effects Artists Alec Gillis and Gino Crognale, and Composer Christopher Young
– Theatrical Trailer
– TV Spot
– Original Storyboards
– Original Production Illustration Gallery from Artist William Stout with Commentary by Stout
– Still Gallery
Quality of the Transfer: 91%