Invaders from Mars (1986)

invaders from mars 1986 poster
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 5/10

Very '80s movie

Bad acting, poor remake

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Invaders from Mars

Studio:  Cannon Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s):  June 6, 1986

MPAA Rating:  PG


I loved you in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!!

David Gardner (Hunter Carson) sees a spaceship land over the hill from his house on a stormy night.  When his father (Timothy Bottoms) investigates, he comes back…different.  With his mother (Laraine Newman) soon transformed as well, David turns to help at school but finds his teacher Mrs. McKeltch (Louise Fletcher) is also leading others to the ship on the other side of the hill.  With the school nurse Linda Magnusson (Karen Black), David must inform his father’s friends at the military led by General Climet Wilson (James Karen) and stop the alien invasion before it spreads.


Worst day at the beach…

Directed by Tobe Hooper, Invaders from Mars is a remake of the 1953 film of the same title.  The movie received poor reviews from critics and a big loss at the box office.  The film received two nominations for Razzies for Worst Supporting Actress (Louise Fletcher) and Worst Visual Effects.

Invaders from Mars is like a kid’s nightmare of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (it actually predates the novel).  The first film was charming and a great example of ’50s sci-fi.  The second film is a good example of ’80s special effects excess and failed attempts at kid horror.


Louise Fletcher eats frog…

The story for Invaders from Mars was updated, but mostly remains the same.  Everyone who should protect and help David trying to hurt him, and no one will believe him…it’s a childhood fear.  This aspect of Invaders from Mars is good.  Unfortunately, Invaders from Mars is hindered by awful acting.

When a movie is based around a kid, there is already a risk of problems since kid actors can either be good…or bad.  Hunter Carson isn’t as bad as some of actors, but he cannot carry the movie and often overacts his scenes (he was great in Paris, Texas).  Despite this, he’s possibly the best actor in the movie (including his mother Karen Black).  Even before the people are overtaken by aliens, they are wooden and painful to watch.  I have never thought Louise Fletcher was a good actress except in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest because there her wooden acting came off as cold and calculating.  The one saving grace you could say for the film is that it takes place in the mind of a child who can be imagining the adults as horrible actors.


These stuffed monsters are fun!

The movie has special effects by famed special effects creators Stan Winston and John Dykstra.  The movie looks big and flashy, but without the actors, the flash is worthless.  The main alien is cool though it resembles Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.  I like the big mouth puppet-y looking aliens though they look like something you’d see at an amusement park or even a local fair…it isn’t good, but it is amusing.

I saw Invaders from Mars when it was new and had fun with the movie.  Watching it now, it is all flash and spectacle, and the acting is atrocious.  It isn’t a good movie, but if you saw it when you were young, you can still have fun with the cheesy film.

Related Links:

Invaders from Mars (1953)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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