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Invaders from Mars (Special Edition) (1953)

1 rating: 3.0
Classics and Science Fiction & Fantasy movie directed by William Cameron Menzies

The cold-war paranoia of the McCarthy era had America in its grip when the originalInvaders from Marswas released in 1953, and this atmospheric, highly influential science fiction film--the first of its kind to be filmed in color--was perfectly in tune … see full wiki

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1 review about Invaders from Mars (Special Edition) (1953)

Hugely Influential Sci-Fi Movie

  • Apr 23, 2010
Rating:
+3
Back when I was in kindergarten, I stayed up one evening to watch CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND with my parents on HBO. There are a lot of images in that movie that stand out and are memorable, but the one that stands out the most to me is the one where little Barry is running down the road up a hill past a white fence looking for lights. It wasn't until years later that I discovered this scene (as well as a few others) was inspired by INVADERS FROM MARS. Not only did it influence CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, but INVADERS FROM MARS influenced countless other sci-fi movies from INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHER to INDEPENDENCE DAY. I tried to find the movie at local video stores, but no one carried it. It wasn't until this 50th Anniversary Special Edition DVD was released that I was able to obtain a copy and view the movie for the first time.

The plot of the movie is fairly simple. Young David Maclean (Jimmy Hunt) sees a U.F.O. land in a sandpit over a hill by his house. He tells his parents and his dad goes to investigate. When he comes back home he is a completely different person. Other people David sees walking over the hill change, too. David notices markings on the backs of people's necks and it doesn't take David long to figure out there are aliens somewhere over the hill and they are taking over human bodies. David seeks out help from a woman doctor and a male astronomer. Together they get assistance from the military, leading to a final showdown in tunnels and the alien space craft underground

When I first watched INVADERS FROM MARS, I was amused by how out-dated much of the movie is. The aliens are referred as mutants (the movie's characters pronounce the word "moo-tants" instead of "mute-nts"), most of them appear as people dressed up in green rubber suits, etc. Despite this, the movie still remains a certain amount of charm and has some rather great visual effects. Jimmy Hunt gives a great performance and Leif Erickson as David's father also provides a great turn from being such a loving father to one that is being controlled by aliens. Many of the visuals in the movie still retain much of their original power, from the hill with the broken fence, the swirling sand that swallows people, and the first few moments of seeing the interior of the alien tunnels. Also worth mentioning is the creepy music that still provides chills.

My biggest complaint about the movie is the ending. The final sequence is a cop out, one that has no connection to the movie and seems to have been tacked on at the last minute in an attempt at providing and extra thrill. Without any explanation, the sequence takes away from all the good things that happen in the movie.

The extras on the DVD include both the American original release and the alternative British version of the film, which has the better ending; a color theatrical trailer; a comprehensive still gallery; and an Easter Egg on the Extras menu that provides black and white trailers for several movies including BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA.

INVADERS FROM MARS isn't a great piece of science fiction, but it is an extremely influential one. It's a movie that all film buffs should see and one that serious ones will want to own.

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