Invaders From Mars (1953 – Review)

Invaders From Mars

Jimmy Hunt as David Maclean
Helena Carter as Dr. Pat Blake, MD
Arthur Franz as Dr. Stuart Kelston
Morris Ankrum as Col. Fielding
Leif Erickson as George MacLean
Hillary Brooke as Mary MacLean

One of the first generation of 1950’s alien invasion movies. Almost a classic. Almost a failure. Almost
unforgettable. Almost Famous. Excuse me… This movie predates Invasion of the Body Snatchers, yet shares some of the same themes. Those themes seem to be paranoia and fear of Commies. Instead of dwelling on them, the movie changes course midstream and become a aliens kidnapping children and women movie, where the military might of the USA must destroy those dirty Martian Commies and make outer space safe to become the fifty-first state. The kid in this movie is one of the few non-annoying children in science fiction movies you will come across. That is a big plus, as science fiction children are the most annoying children ever to grace this planet of ours. I hope that the Earth is not judged one day by alien races that have only older science fiction movies as their sole source of information, they would destroy this planet before the second reel.

This movie starts out with a stereotypical 1950’s bang with a narrator waxing poetic about space travel and wondering about life on other planets. At this time, this was probably avant guard and cutting edge. Now it just comes off as par for the course. The print on this DVD is old, grainy, scratched to high heaven, and colored with “cinecolor” which thanks to the print looks like they hand painted every frame into it’s full color glory (much of the stock footage’s full color is achieved by giving it a blue tent.)

David MacLean is a young boy astronomer, who wakes up at 4 am to observe space phenomena. His parents send him back to bed, but he is soon awoken by a UFO landing in the sandy area out back. He alerts his father the scientist, and his father sends him back to bed, but then goes looking, as they are worried about top secret things that he can’t tell his wife at the place he works. George MacLean the father wanders out back, and is sucked into what looks like an overgrown ant lion pit. He fails to return, and the next morning his wife Mary MacLean calls the police. The two officers go out to look, and they are both sucked into the ant lion pit as well. This seems weird enough, but soon George MacLean is back, missing a shoe, and carrying a short fuse. He snipes at his wife, and smacks around David. The cops soon arrive back as well, also acting bizarre. These Martians are pretty lazy, they just sit back and wait for the invasion to come to them. Slacker Martians!

David is sent off by his father, who now has some sort of device sticking out of the base of his neck. This is in no way like the creatures from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Conspiracy,” which the writers obviously came up with independently. Also, I have a bridge for sale… David spies some young girl walking around the sand area, and she gets sucked underground as well. Lazy Martians. He runs to tell her mother, but the girl shows up right thereafter. Her father is some top secret scientist as well. Minutes after she returns, her house is on fire, and it is plan that she started it, as she smiles a creepy Martian smile. At last the great plot is revealed, the Martians are firebugs and want to play with matches. Interplanetary conspiracy at it’s finest!

David tries telling more adults, but no one believes him. He heads to the police station, but the chief is
already infected. The Chief locks up David and calls his parents, but Desk Sgt. Mack Finlay calls in a doctor to see him, Dr. Pat Blake. She interviews the boy, and finds him believable. When his parents show up, they act all weird, and the Martians have switched their dastardly plans from setting fires to dressing all in black and acting like abusive drunks. Needless to say, Dr. Blake soon won’t let the boy go with them, and they leave to avoid trouble with Sgt. Finlay. She takes David to a mutual astronomer friend, Dr. Stuart Kelston (her favorite astronomer, according to her.) There, Dr. Kelston uses his telescope to show off a top secret rocket. He and David talk about how Mars is only a few hours away. Then Dr. Kelston advances the theory that Mars is inhabited by underground cities, and that the Martians have breed their own form of synthetic humans called Mu-tants. These Mu-tants don’t wear neat costumes and fight giant robots, but instead serve their Martians masters. The Martians are threatened by human space technology and will do anything to stop it. This is surprising information for a random astronomer to know and speak about so casually. Dr. Kelston then plays Peeping Tom with his telescope and spies on the field with the sand, and sees a military general get sucked underground. He alerts the Pentagon through his well-places astronomer connections, and soon the army is mobilized to meet the Martian threat under the command of Colonel Fielding, who looks like the 1950’s version of Dennis Farina. Colonel Fielding commands several minutes of stock footage into action, and arrives in the small town. There, they find the young girl dead, of a brain aneurysm. Dr. Blake performs an autopsy on her as the military surrounds the sandy field where the ship is. Dr. Kelston theorizes the Martians have a radioactive ray that digs through sand. Some military experts arrive later, and say the Martian ray is Infrared, which are also useful in digging through dirt. In fact, we use Infrared rays to dig tunnels all the time. Your dentist uses infrared drills to get to cavities in your teeth. The holes in donuts and DVDs are produced by infrared. Yes, Infrared has been a great benefit to mankind. So let’s take a minute, and salute infrared!

Stock footage deploys tanks as Dr. Blake returns with the autopsy results of the little girl, she had a Martian device implanted in her skull that caused her aneurysm, and so would all the other infected people. The military experts theorize that they can find the frequency that the Martians are using to broadcast information to their slaves with the device and locate their ship, so they get to work on it. A Sergeant goes out to look and is captured himself. The infected humans blow up a processing plant, and the two infected policemen are captured, and promptly killed by their Martian masters. The infected General Mayberry and the Police Chief are located by two MP’s, and shot and blown to smithereens, as they were carrying a large amount of explosives. The army starts to dig where they think the Martian ship is. Meanwhile, David’s parents try to kill the father of the little girl, as he is an eminent scientist. They fail and are captured by the military, and taken to a hospital for an operation to remove the brain devices. The Martians seem to be too distracted with the army to kill them. The army drops down into a tunnel underground. It’s empty, save for inflated condoms lining the walls. Those Martians sure are some kinky perverts. The Martians have moved to a new spot. Oddly enough, it’s still in the same field, so the military guys start using their device to locate the signals.

Dr. Blake tells David his parents are recovered and getting ready to be operated on, but suddenly both are sucked underground by the Martians. They see Mu-Tants. Mu-Tants look like the He-Man figures Moss Man with
Buzz Off eyes. The Martians themselves are little green heads with tentacles encased in glass hamster balls. Mu-Tants are also equipped with zippers, in case they ever need to change their skin I guess.

The Mu-Tants take them to a Martian Guy who uses the captured Sergeant to ask questions. Meanwhile up top, the military locates the Martian ship, and fire tank shells randomly to distract from their blasting through to the tunnels nearby. The army goes underground, and discovers the Mu-Tants are not bulletproof, they just need a whole ton to knock them down. The Mu-Tants do leave the spaceship door unlocked, and the military gets in. Colonel Fielding shows he’s an awesome commander by machine gunning down a Mu-Tant himself. Dr. Kelston saves Dr. Blake from getting a mind control device implanted in her neck. The military sets charges, as the mind controlled Sergeant wanders the tunnels with David. The Mu-Tants manage to seal the military inside the tunnel with the spaceship and start to take off. The military is trapped, but they rescue David, who then uses one of the Mu-Tant guns to blast their way to freedom. They escape the underground and run run run. David runs while a flashback of the entire movie overplays the shots of him running. This goes on for a long long long long long long long long time. The Martian spaceship flies up into the atmosphere, and explodes! Martian fiery debris rains down across the state. Or at least it should have.

And it’s all a dream.

But, then the now awake David sees the UFO!!! So will the town get invaded? Would this have been on the Twilight Zone had it been around then? Since this was remade, did David just see the ship that would invade during the remake? Will Commies take over America? Tune in next week for the answer, same Bat-time, same Bat-Channel!

Now as a special treat, we interview the Masters of the Universe Character Moss Man! Because he looks like a character from this film, all right? Sometimes we can’t get the A-list guests.

Hello Moss Man, legendary icon of the 1980’s, how is Eternia on this day?
Eternia has become plagued with an epidemic of logging, Minya! It has become a global problem, but
those fatcats in Castle Greyskull won’t do anything about it!
Really? That’s odd. You’d think He-Man would be pro-environmentalism…
He-Man? That Red State-living Republican? He-Man personally drove the bulldozer that took down the oldest tree on Eternia! The entire Eternia National Forest is being turned into the Prince Adam Condominiums! It makes me sick. I’m fielding an offer from the Evil Horde, and if Hordak can keep his promise of forest restoration in all logging areas, I’m going to throw my towel in his corner.
I had no idea things had gotten so bad…
It’s all TV’s fault. Once He-Man got all the ratings, and the merchandising, he changed. Now it’s all about the image. He doesn’t care about the little people anymore. Did you see my re-imagined figure? He totally made me into some sort of wild freak. I’m a hippy at heart. Why do you think I live in the trees?
Well I just..
And another thing, why does my cousin Beast Man get charged with vehicular homicide, while when Prince Adam was speeding drunk in the Talon Fighter and plowed into that school bus, he just got a verbal warning? The whole think reeks like a Stinkor family reunion!
Yes, well we seem to be out of time. I’d like to thank my guest Moss Man for joining us and giving us a glimpse of life in Eternia in the new millennium.
Hey, dude, is Courtney Cox still acting? Think she would do a sequel to the Masters of the Universe movie? I bet I can get a part in this one. I’d like to be her “friend” if you catch my drift. Hey, where are you going? Come back, please. I’m so lonely sitting here alone in the woods…so lonely…..

Rated 4/10 (Lazy Mu-Tants, Brain Device, Bubble Wall, Dynamite vs. Mars)

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