Invaders from Mars (1953)

invaders from mars poster 1953 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great sci-fi with a bit of horror

Has low-budget feel

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Invaders from Mars

Studio:  20th Century Fox

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  April 22, 1953

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

invaders from mars jimmy hunt ufo landing

I call dibs on the UFO!!!

David MacLean (Jimmy Hunt) sees a UFO land in the sand pit behind his house during a storm and notices his father (Leif Erickson) is acting strange after investigating the source.  As more and more people seem to be acting different, David looks for help and anyone else who will believe him.  Finding help from Dr. Pat Blake (Helena Carter) and Dr. Stuart Kelston (Arthur Franz), David is about to discover that the invaders from Mars have a plot to take over the world!

Directed by William Cameron Menzies, Invaders from Mars is a science-fiction UFO thriller.  The film was the first UFO/alien picture to be released in color and received mixed reviews.  Multiple versions of the film exist including the British release which eliminated dream aspect of the ending.

invaders from mars head alien

I will keep you as a slave to keep my forehead nice and shiny

I remember wanting to see Invaders from Mars after learning about it from a documentary.  Like the terrifying Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the idea that only a few (in particular a child) knows the truth about a massive plot is a child’s nightmare.  Invaders from Mars in that sense works as science-fiction, but also a horror film.

The movie is classic 1950s sci-fi.  It could easily be watched by kids who will enjoy the idea of a kid as the hero, but the idea of no one believing him could be problematic for children by painting adults as the enemy.  The amusing thing about the film is that the adults come to accept David’s “I saw a UFO” quite quickly.  The first couple of people that David encounters of course reject his ideas, but most are already being controlled.  It would be easy to have the theme of the story be adults simply don’t believe children, but everyone is subject to the alien invaders.

invaders from mars laser jimmy hunt

Sure, David…you can help us destroy the aliens…you have no military training, but what the hell…you’ve earned it!

The reason David is believed so easily could be that it is a poorly written movie, but it could be for a really smart reason.  The whole story is supposed to be a dream in David’s mind.  In a dream, David would be the main focus, scientists and the military would believe David, and he would be allowed to be around during the attack on the Martian ship.  It doesn’t make real sense in the big picture, but if you are having a dream, are you usually sidelined?  No.  You are the main focus of the dream so of course David is part of the military forces.

The special effects of Invaders from Mars are actually quite good at points.  The sand trap pits aren’t that impressive (with actors falling off screen when they are “captured”) but some of the aliens and the technology stuff looks good, and the bonus of having the film in color helps.  The sets of the film are pretty weak with a generic UFO insides but some of the movie’s minimalistic sets are fun and fit that 1950s feel that movies like Mars Attacks! mocked.

invaders from mars alien monsters

Dang…Lothar gets all the chicks

Invaders from Mars is one of those good classic ’50s sci-fi films that still holds up today.  It is a bit more of an Outer Limits or Twilight Zone feeling film stretched into long format and probably could have been shorter.  The ideas and vision of the movie still hold up and the horror of the situation is something that is universal, even if you aren’t a child…you still remember that feeling of helplessness that only you can see what is really going on.  The movie was remade in 1986 (which I actually saw before this film), and it isn’t as good as the original movie simply because it lost some of its charm…but it does have  more glitz and special effects.  The invaders are here…and unstoppable!

Related Links:

Invaders from Mars (1986)

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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