“David says something landed in the field out back. It doesn’t make sense, but he seems so convinced!”
Young David (Jimmy Hunt) awakens at night to see a flying saucer landing under a plot of sand behind his house. When his father (Leif Erickson) goes out to investigate, he’s sucked into the sand and returns brainwashed; soon the same thing happens to David’s mother (Hillary Brooke), two investigating policemen, a neighbor girl (Janine Perreau), and others. When David finally convinces a kind, beautiful doctor (Helena Carter) that he’s telling the truth, the military becomes involved in a massive effort to stop the aliens.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that while Invaders From Mars is “not as good as… Invasion of the Body Snatchers [or] I Married a Monster” (both films dealing with similar themes), it’s “fondly remembered by those of us who saw it when we were children”; DVD Savant (see link below) is another fan, and his blow-by-blow analysis (he claims to have seen it roughly 50 times over the years!) shows just how deep an impression it must have made on many young boys. Viewers today will likely classify it as yet another low-budget ’50s sci-fi paranoia film (with possible overtones of “an anti-communist political allegory because the aliens use mind control”), and laugh at its uneven acting, campy special effects (those Martian costumes!), and over-reliance on stock military footage during the denouement. With that said, Invaders From Mars is notable both for its effective portrayal of a young boy struggling to make adults believe him (freckle-faced Jimmy Hunt is perfectly cast), and for director William Cameron Menzies’ truly unusual set designs, which add “to the film’s surreal look”.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An effectively paranoid portrayal of a happy nuclear family destroyed by alien forces
- The stylized low-budget set designs
- Campy special effects and alien costumes
- Several memorable shots
Yes, for its historical importance as a seminal alien invasion flick.