Mackinaw Mail

A Pioneering Film That Helped Shape Future Alien Narratives

MOVIE REVIEW
Invaders from Mars

    

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Year Released: 1953, 2023 Ignite Films Blu-ray
Runtime: 1h 18m
Director(s): William Cameron Menzies
Writer(s): Richard Blake, John Tucker Battle
Cast: Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Jimmy Hunt, Leif Erickson, Hillary Brooke, Morris Ankrum, Max Wagner, William Phipps, Milburn Stone, Janine Perreau
Where To Watch: available exclusively on the Ignite Films website, including on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and the just dropped DVD www.ignite-films.com


RAVING REVIEW: INVADERS FROM MARS presents a unique story that blends science fiction with everyday life, setting it apart from the pack. This film borrows from countless films that came before it, everything from THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD to THE WIZARD OF OZ. Alien invasion films of the 50s had a very consistent feel to them but are ultimately responsible for helping create the prototypical idea of what we as a society view aliens as.


The narrative unravels through the perspective of a young boy who unwittingly uncovers a Martian invasion bent on controlling humanity after spotting something falling from the sky near his home. This angle was pretty unique for the time and helped create an almost cliche aspect that would help shape the future of films like this.

Although it's a modest production, INVADERS FROM MARS boasts several remarkable features including a stellar cast, and the movie's soundtrack is groundbreaking for being the first to feature a theremin (an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact.) The film had varying levels of success with its effects, with some being revolutionary and others feeling a bit forced. While the special effects may not dazzle contemporary viewers, some were considered revolutionary at the time. For the time, there was a rather heavy female presence behind the scenes which helped shape the heroine of the film as not just being a damsel in distress.

The storyline follows David, who wants to grow up to be an astronomer, uncovering a hidden spaceship and the ensuing alien takeover that slowly affects those around him. Desperate for assistance, he befriends a teacher who introduces him to a scientist. Together, they strive to halt the invasion before it's too late.

INVADERS FROM MARS is not only a classic sci-fi film that caters to genre enthusiasts but also a solid experience showing this period of cinema, thanks to its fast-paced action for the time. The film portrays extraterrestrial beings as a mix between human-like and the “little green men.” These creatures induce a sense of unease and present a more psychological menace than a physical one. 

Despite its imperfections, INVADERS FROM MARS is a delightful and absorbing film that takes viewers back to a time when the movie industry prioritized creativity over profit. Essential viewing for sci-fi fans and those interested in the genre's roots, the film underscores early Hollywood's influence on future generations of filmmakers.

In summary, INVADERS FROM MARS is an intriguing and entertaining film that captivates both sci-fi buffs and those who love the history of film as well. It reminds us of early Hollywood's role in shaping the genre's trajectory and provides a window into the origins of science fiction. Despite its flaws, the movie delivers a valuable and enjoyable experience for those eager to explore the genre's rich history.

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[photo courtesy of IGNITE FILMS]