Strange Invaders (1983)

strange invaders poster 1983 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good effects on the aliens

Bad acting and story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Strange Invaders

Studio:  EMI Films

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s):  September 16, 1983

MPAA Rating:  PG


After a long day of work, I just got to get out of this human!!!

Aliens invade the town of Centerville, Illinois in 1958.  Twenty-five years later, they’re planning on leaving, but a problem arises.  A woman named Margaret Newman (Diana Scarwid) has married a human and produced a daughter named Elizabeth (Lulu Sylbert).  When Margaret’s ex-husband Professor Charles Bigelow (Paul Le Mat) travels to Centerville, the aliens strike back!  Charles’ daughter is kidnapped by the aliens and a tabloid journalist named Betty Walker (Nancy Allen) must stop the aliens from leaving with Elizabeth…but the aliens have allies in the government who cannot allow it.

Directed by Michael Laughlin, Strange Invaders was meant to be part of a trilogy which began with Strange Behavior in 1981.  Strange Invaders was met with so-so reviews and poor box office returns so plans for the third film were scrapped.  Diana Scarwid was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress.

Strange Invaders is pretty cheesy, it is pretty poorly acted, and rather generic.  The attempts to spoof B-Movies of the ’50s kind of backfired because it doesn’t feel like a big enough spoof.  Instead, it comes off as a bad horror sci-fi film that just doesn’t hit any target.


I saw this thing…in Heavy Metal! Look out!

The movie’s story is pretty strange (so the title isn’t inaccurate).  The aliens arrive on Earth and mix in on Earth by taking over this city.  Their goals are kind of a question, and the ending of the film is kind of anticlimactic with the aliens leaving and everyone coming back…petty much negating the entire drama of the last hour and a half of film.  Also, the ties to the government are unexplained and why the aliens’ journey from Centerville to the city for a day out is a bit unclear.

The one thing that the movie did get from the ’50s B-Movies is the acting…and it was unintentional.  Paul Le Mat has to be one of the dullest leading men of all time and he (like everyone else in the cast) seems to just be reading lines.  Nancy Allen never could act and she continues her streak here.  Louise Fletcher might have won an Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (which she was awesome), but since then I’ve never seen her in anything where she’s impressed me.  Diana Scarwid probably like to pawn off her acting as being “alien” but I have a feeling she’s just not that good or had no direction to her character…all around most of the acting is terrible and laughable.


Dad…I can make lightning and kill people!

The one thing where Strange Invaders does a decent job is in the department of special effects.  The aliens are pretty goofy as a threat, but they do look good.  The scene where the alien in the hotel takes off his skin is actually pretty horrifying…this of course backfires with plans to mock sci-fi films which always had horrible special effects.

Strange Invaders has a lot of problems, but it is kind of amusing…just not for the reasons that the filmmakers intended.  The parody of sci-fi horror from the ’50s just doesn’t work and it is backed by bad looking sets and horrible acting.  If you are a fan of bad ’80s films, you should check it out however and just revel in the mediocrity of the film.

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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