A stranger from Venus lands in Britain and forms a bond with a young American woman named Susan North. He comes with a warning to Earth's leaders that they must eliminate all nuclear weapons if the peoples of the solar system to survive.
One night, young David McLean sees a spaceship crash into a nearby sandpit. His father goes to investigate, but comes back changed. Where once he was cheerful and affectionate, he's now sullen and snarlingly rude. Others fall into the sandpit and begin acting like him: cold, ill-tempered and conspiratorial. David knows that aliens are taking over the bodies of humans, but he'll soon discover there have been far more of these terrible thefts than he could have imagined. The young doom-monger finds some serious help in a lady doctor and a brilliant astronomer. Soon they meet the aliens: green creatures with insect-like eyes. These beings prove to be slaves to their leader: a large, silent head with ceaselessly shifting eyes and two tentacles on either side, each of which branches off into three smaller tentacles. It's up to the redoubtable earth trio to stop its evil plans.Written by
The genesis of this film was when the wife of writer John Tucker Battle woke him up one morning to recount a vivid and disturbing dream she had of Martians invading Earth. He had her tell him as much as she could recall, and he developed the rest of the story from there. See more »
The artillery barrage, originally started as a diversion to distract from blasting the second entrance, goes on far longer than makes any sense for that purpose. Many of the stock footage explosions clearly show target vehicles being destroyed, which seems a poor choice considering they are supposed to be shelling empty land. See more »
The heavens. Once an object of superstition, awe, and fear. Now a vast region for growing knowledge. The distance of Venus, the atmosphere of Mars, the size of Jupiter, and the speed of Mercury. All this and more we know. But their greatest mystery the heavens have kept a secret. What sort of life, if any, inhabits these other planets? Human life, like ours? Or life extremely lower in the scale? Or dangerously higher? Seeking the answer to this timeless question, forever seeking, ...
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Because of pressures from UK censors the original ending of the American version was altered: it was believed that ending was too depressing and a more upbeat coda was appropriate. The British distributor recalled the cast and filmed new sections (with a dramatically older juvenile lead) to serve this purpose. This is the version referred to in a previous "alternate version" post. When Wade Williams obtained rights to "Invaders From Mars" he discovered that the original negative had been cut. For home video release, he constituted a "third" version of the film that contained some of the material from the UK version cut into the original American release, but retained the American ending (the "dream turns into reality" ending). See more »
Invaders From Mars is, arguably, a cult classic. William Cameron Menzies, of "Gone With The Wind" and "The Thief of Baghdad" and "Things to Come" fame puts his artistic expertise to work in creating a world of impending doom, seen through the eyes of an 11 year old boy.
It is because of this point-of-view that lends a nightmarish quality to a struggle this boy encounters when he tries to convince the authorities that a spaceship landed in a sandpit behind his house.
The sense of "something's not right" with Mom and Dad starts as the boy's parents are sucked below the sandpit into the evil arms of the Martians, made into zombie-spies, and returned to the surface. The boy's fear mounts when local police and even high-ranking military fall prey to the Martians' mind control.
Through the assistance of a well trusted astrophysicist and a school psychologist the boy convinces the local Army base to make a beach head in the boy's back yard... and the battle to return the boy's parents and the villagers to normalcy begins. Eventually, the boy and the psychologist confront the Martian intelligence (midget Luce Potter as a convincing body-less head with tentacle-like arms in a glass sphere). In a poor "race against time" sequence in which the little boy and psychologist are rescued from the spaceship before it blows up, the film reaches its climax to the cacophonous din of artillery explosions, and Raoul Kraushaar's eerie, disharmonious a capella choir.
Many criticize the poor production values, the over use of stock footage, the idiotic costumes, and the fact that the film had TWO endings (one popularized in Great Britain, one here in U.S.A.).
Yes, I agree that production and set values were cheap (green condoms to represent molten rock "bubbles" in the tunnels and obvious zippers in the velour-like jump suits of the Martian slaves, to name a few.)
Nevertheless, Menzies applies forced perspective to his sets, and the skillful use of background mattes to lend an unearthly tone to the scene Remember folks, this is 1953... a time when Communism infiltration and subordination of Mr. and Mrs. Joe America was the chief "fear of the day". There are few other films of that period that deftly portrayed this paranoia so aptly as "Invaders From Mars"
If one overlooks the "rough" edges of its obviously low budget, one can still appreciate the helplessness, fear and mistrust the little boy develops as his parents and others are turned into "tools of the Martians". Is it truly a nightmare, or did it actually happen? The viewer is left to make that choice.
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