The mind behind The Texas Chain Saw Massacre behind a family sci-fi romp? The hell, you say? That’s what we get with Tobe Hooper’s remake of INVADERS FROM MARS, recently re-released by Scream! Factory. David Gardner is just your normal kid, having a blast with his dad watching shooting stars and collecting coins, when he witnesses something coming from above that isn’t just another meteorite.
During a thunder storm that woke him up, David (Hunter Carson, PARIS, TEXAS) notices some lights from over the hill behind his house. Seeing a large spacecraft land, he wakes up his parents (Timothy Bottoms and SNL’s Laraine Newman), with his dad eventually going and checking out what happened. In the morning, his dad is a little off. With an injury to the back of his neck, and a vacant stare, David is worried and immediate aware that his dad may have come across more than he said.
Eventually more and more people from his town start acting as odd as his dad, all with similar injuries to the back of their necks. David’s least favorite teacher, the hard assed Mrs McKeltch (Louise Fletcher, Nurse Ratched from ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO NEST), even becomes afflicted, with David catching her mid-morning snack on a frog meant for dissection. With his parents and friend all taken over by the outside invaders, David can only turn to the school nurse, played by the amazing Karen Black.
Carson’s performance as David is top notch for a child actor, making his fear believable and you really get behind him when he chooses to fight back. His chemistry with Karen Black is amazing as well on screen, as they share a unique friendship despite being split by a generation. This is made all the more believable once you find out that in real life, Black is really Carson’s mother.
Beside the fun story being kid-centric, we also get some amazing creature designs, originally supervised by Stan Winston, but handled by William Stout and crew. From the Martian soldiers using a unique 2 person design, to the pretty amazing Greater Intelligence that had to be an inspiration for many things, including Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Included on the Blu-ray from Scream! Factory, is a nice 30+ minute documentary from Red Shirt Pictures interviewing Tobe Hooper, the SFX crew behind the film Alec Gillis and Gino Crognale, the score composer Christopher Young, and an all grown up Hunter Carson. All involved have some great stories about how the film came together, including an awesome story of how they got the military involved playing themselves. There is also a nice little featurette narrated by William Stout, talking about the creature design work, with a lot of the original concept work.
As a film, INVADERS FROM MARS is a lot of fun, adding just the right amount of terror to the science fiction action. And this release by Scream! Factory looks and sounds great, and the extras really sell it!