Invaders from Mars Blu-ray
Director: Tobe Hooper
Screenwriters: Dan O’Bannon, Don Jakoby
Cast: Karen Black, Hunter Carson, Timothy Bottoms, Laraine Newman Scream Factory
Rated PG | 99 Minutes
Release Date: April 07, 2015
Directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist), 1986’s Invaders from Mars is a remake of the 1953 science fiction film by William Cameron Menzies.
Synopsis: “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!”
Written by Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Lifeforce) and Dan Jakoby (Death Wish 3, Arachnophobia), with creature and visual effects by Stan Winston and John Dkystra, Invaders from Mars is a great sci-fi horror film… on paper. Unfortunately, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.
The problem with Invaders from Mars is that it’s entirely uneventful for a movie about an alien invasion. The film dilly-dallies around with the urgency of a Family Circus comic strip, with poor scripting and unconvincing performances. Hunter Carson (Paris, Texas) delivers a Jake Lloyd-esque turn as young David Gardner, a kid so annoying it’s no wonder the whole town wants to hollow out his brains and turn him into a pod person.
Invaders from Mars was the second film in Tobe Hooper’s three-picture deal with Menahem Golan and and Yoram Globus’ Cannon Films. His first Cannon film, 1985’s Lifeforce, was an expensive failure, and the pressure was on to deliver a hit. Instead, Hooper and Cannon Films’ Invaders from Mars earned a disappointing $4 million at the U.S. box office, a major loss from its $12 million budget.
Hooper’s Invaders from Mars should be every bit as good as John Carpenter’s The Thing, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, or Chuck Russell’s The Blob. It had the potential to be a return to form for the Texas Chain Saw Massacre director, and another great ’80s remake of a ’50s sci-fi classic. It failed to be either, sadly, and is by far one of the most mediocre, uninteresting films in Hooper’s entire body of work.
The visual effects are impressive, but the conflicted tone renders Invaders from Mars as little more than shrug-worthy. It’s a bizarre mix of camp and dread, silliness and paranoia, that makes it impossible to care about the characters or the fate of humanity. You’ve seen this idea carried out much better in films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and even Robert Rodriguez’s The Faculty. Despite the film’s inherent flaws, Scream Factory has treated Hooper’s Invaders from Mars like his best work, with an incredible 2.35:1 high definition transfer that highlights the effects work by Winston and Dkystra.
Still, I can’t bring myself to recommend Invaders from Mars as a must-own release, unless you’re a die-hard Tobe Hooper fan who absolutely must have his entire hit-or-miss filmography. Scream Factory’s Invaders from Mars Blu-ray is available now at Amazon. Check out the release’s bonus features, as well as a theatrical trailer, below:
* Audio Commentary with Director Tobe Hooper
* The Martians Are Coming! – The Making of Invaders From Mars
* TV Spot / Theatrical Trailer
* Still Gallery and Original Storyboards
* Original Production Illustration Gallery from William Stout