Invaders From Mars (1986 – Review)

Invaders From Mars

Karen Black as Linda Magnusson
Hunter Carson as David Gardner
Timothy Bottoms as George Gardner
Jimmy Hunt as Police Chief
James Karen as General Mad Dog Wilson

A big budget remake of a science fiction almost classic. Yet, they made it worse. So worse. So much worse. The story is the same, but the kid is now an annoying whiner without a lick of sense, the plot moves slower, and the aliens are still goofy looking, just expensive goofy looking. There are a few, few things going for this movie. Very few.

Let’s begin with the same old same old, David is now David Gardner instead of David MacLean, I guess so you won’t think he’d start singing American Pie (though that’s Don McLean). Once again young David sees a UFO (this time and expensive model with computer effects instead of a dish on a string) and tries to alert his parents, only to their disbelief. The next morning, father George Gardner enters the house all disheveled, and acting odd. Not abusive drunk odd like in the last movie, but putting dozens of Tic-Tacs in your coffee and drinking it odd. The fiendish Martian plan must be to give us all heart attacks or diabetes. David goes to school, where we see his teacher is Louis Fletcher, who always plays evil villainesses, so he’s doomed off the bat. He gets sent to the nurses office when he is cut by a scalpel, and the nurse is Linda, played by Karen Black. Later, the movie tries to be all suspenseful when he returns home from school, but just ends up with some characterization between him and his mom. Why the director made the creative choice to slow down the pacing of this film I’ll never know. Dragging plots do not a good invasion movie make. George doesn’t come home, so Mother Ellen Gardner calls the police, who go search beyond the hill. The police chief is played by Jimmy Hunt, who was David MacLean in the original version. He even says “I haven’t been up here since I was a boy” when climbing the hill. I must recognize that this was pretty good.

George pops out of the bushes, along with another man who is the father of one of David’s schoolmates. Both men look infected, and when the police return, they are infected as well. David is now pretty worried, and later that night he sees his father leading his mother over the hill, and he yells in an overly dramatic fashion that will make you roll your eyes in terror. David is played by Hunter Carson, who was the original choice for Bud Bundy on Married…With Children, and his acting chops show here that he would have dragged that series down into the toilet bowl of TV history had he remained. The next morning, mom is burning bacon and devouring it, as well as dad. David runs off to school, where he sees Louis Fletcher talking to the infected police chief, then sneaks up behind her and sees her eating whole frogs. This freaks him out, and he runs past and infected female schoolmate to the nurses office, where she keeps him safe for a bit, as he tells her the story. She starts to believe him when she goes to ask Louis Fletcher something, and she acts all weird, including calling her “girlfriend” a lot. Linda gives him the keys to her house to hide out there (I guess she doesn’t believe children’s stories about aliens as much as she wants to lure them to her house to molest them!) He leaves out the window, but it is apparently the end of school, because all the kids go outside to go home, as does Louis Fletcher and the infected girl, who are looking for him, and his parents show up. He ducks into an unlocked van, which is Louis Fletcher’s van. It’s full of taxodermed animals and caged animals. Louis Fletcher somehow doesn’t notice a 12 year old boy in her van and drives into the countryside, where she goes for a walk into a new tunnel system, and David follows her.

The tunnels lead to the underground spaceship. These Martians leave their doors open just like in the original movie, and Louis Fletcher and David both wander inside. Louis strolls up to a platform guarded by two ridiculous looking aliens with big jaws, the modern Mu-Tants. They call out the Martian, who is a giant tentacled brain connected to the middle of the ship, and with a face. He looks very similar to Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The brain finally notices that there is an intruder in the ship, and sends Mu-Tants after David, but once again they don’t shut the doors and David escapes the ship. A locksmith would go broke on Mars, no door is ever shut, much less locked. David runs into Linda, who tells him they are both in trouble, and she can make up a story to cover them. Linda’s good with the stories, she kidnaps little boys each week for flings. David tells her about the aliens, “Huge giant slimy Mr. Potatoheads!” He takes her to the tunnel, but it is sealed off. They then head to the sands on the hill, and there is nothing there, but they see two NASA guys go up the path and get sucked underground, and now she believes him. They are leaving, and almost hit a school bus full of children, Louis Fletcher is having a field trip to the hill! This would have been a neat plot point had the infected kids ever showed up later in the film. Also, since school is out, why are they having a field trip at like 6 pm? Weird school.

The phones are messed up and Louis Fletcher is chasing them yelling “I’ll get you, David Gardner” like she’s Skeletor or something. The confused pair head to the basement of the elementary school, and hide out on a bed hugging each other (good lord is that woman a freak!) while the Police Chief searches for them. In the basement is also one of the Martians from the original film as a background prop. The Chief spots them, and he and his deputy raise their weapons to fire, but they are interrupted when a Martian drilling machine erupts from the ground and gives enough distraction David and Linda can escape.

They head to the army base that George works at to talk to the General there, General Mad Dog Wilson. General Wilson is skeptical at first, but when he asks the NASA guys who are there as well some questions, they try to kill him. The NASA guys are captured by him and a Captain Curtis, but the NASA guys are then killed by their neck implants. Some crazy-looking NASA scientists come in and start talking about Mars having underground civilizations that were hidden from the public. The Martians hijack a LOX (Liquid Oxygen) truck and crash it into an experimental rocket ship that was going to fly a new probe to Mars the next day. General Wilson is now mad, telling David: “Marines have no qualms about killing Martians!” The military heads toward the sandpit and the school. The army gunning down infected schoolchildren would have been an awesome scene, but is not present. Instead, they just enter the tunnel in the basement, meeting no resistance. Eventually, they run across two Mu-Tants, and the younger NASA scientists starts trying to talk to them, they understand but blast him anyway. The Marines then show the Martians that they aren’t impervious to human weapons, either. Back at the sand hill, this movie’s Sgt. Rinaldi falls into the sand and is sucked below. He is soon followed by this movie’s idiotic David, who tries to get captured and purpose to find his parents. Linda follows him and they are both sucked beneath.

General Wilson has some men set some explosives, and when they are being sucked down, they are pulled up by some machines, and the explosives are sucked down instead, which are set off. Now they have a path in, and the Marines storm the Martians! In the ship, David sees Louis Fletcher, who introduces him to the Supreme Martian Intelligence, who David punches. This causes a Mu-Tant to eat Louis Fletcher as another laughs. Hey, no consequences! Mu-Tants chase David, but he is rescues when the Marine groups meet up and blast the Martians, they storm the ship shooting Mu-Tants like it’s a game of Laser Tag against stuffed animals. The Martian Brain gets shot several times, as it’s strategy of just sitting there, lazily flopping some tentacles, and finally getting around to shocking two Marines doesn’t pay off. The Martian brain retreats as the Marines plant explosives. They also rescue Linda, so she will be free to perv on David later when the invasion is over.

Once again, the escape tunnel is sealed, and David grabs a Martian gun to clear a path to freedom, but this time they need to put a penny inside to power it. They blast through, and David’s parents appear behind him, and try to lure him onto the spaceship. He refuses, and they chase him all the way out of the tunnel and away from the Martian ship, which explodes. George and Ellen Gardner are then brought back to normal. We don’t get a long montage sequence of David running and having a flashback of the whole film, which is good because this film is way longer and would make the flashback like ten minutes long.

And it’s all a dream again, until it isn’t!

Why can’t people remake terrible movies and make them good, instead of remaking mediocre movies and making them terrible? This was vastly out shown by the predecessor, and after seeing how bad this turned out, I have new appreciation for the original. But not enough to change my score, just enough to lower this one even lower!

And now for a change of pace, since for the last movie we interviewed He-Man Character Moss Man, we shall interview another He-Man character, Two-Bad!

Greetings Two-Bad, how are both you gentlemen today?
Oonga-babble woodle we, my zunga Lowa, Hiku’titi, Ghwanfomanananana!
Indeed, you said it, old chum. Eternia is in an awful state these days, the bourgeois have failed to organized to bring down the capitalist oppressor He-Man, and his system of Monarchial Dictatorialism. The working class is in support of that man, due to his alliance with media mogul Orko and Orko News Channel, constantly pumping out false information about our movement and tarring Comrade Skeletor with a bad brush.
Wait, what? Are you spouting Marxist nonsense in defense of Skeletor’s efforts to conquer Eternia?
Moogle Hoonga! Bai-hoop Du’wunga! Beaychy lai tunga.
“Marxist nonsense” you say? My word, son, do you not know that Skeletor is the architect of an equalitarian society where all men will be treated equal no matter their status in life? Even the downtrodden mutants will be accepted as equals. Skeletor in charge just makes sense, he will lead Eternia into a new golden age, provide Universal Health Coverage, Public Schools, baths for all, Castle Greyskull and the oppression it stands for will be ground into dust!
Wait, Skeletor turned people to stone, transported people to another dimension, has attempted to steal countless jewels from the various tribes on Eternia, turned Man-at-Arms into crystal, and attempted to ram a floating island into a dam…
Lies, all lies and slander! Where do you get your information, from the mouth of Orko himself? That Devil Spinster stops at nothing to smear our side in the mud! Skeletor delivered new statues to Castle Greyskull of various Communist heroes, not turning anyone to stone! That floating island was in fact an ecological disaster perpetrated by He-Man’s crony Man-at-Arms, and when our forces went to the island to try to stop it, He-Man interfered, as the flooding of Eternia would have given him much more valuable beachside property.
Nunga tung wa!
I find this hard to believe…
Oh, believe it old chum. As we speak, He-Man himself is planning more actions to further oppress the hardworking people of Eternia. Please be kind and contribute to our fund to end Eternia of this menace!
Wait, I didn’t invite you here to give you money..
Uh, that’s enough for now. Once again, this is Minya for TarsTarkas.NET, signing off!
The capitalist oppressors will not be triumphant! We will rule one day, Prince Adam, and when we do, you will be cast out! Cast Out! OUT!

Rated 2/10 (Exploding Rocket, Thank god he’s not Bud Bundy!)

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