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While it may not be great sci-fi cinema, I have a particular fondness for Toby Hooper’s campy remake of the minor fifties genre classic INVADERS FROM MARS ($15). The plot of INVADERS FROM MARS concerns a young boy named David Gardner (Hunter Carson), who seems to be the only one in his town that is aware of an alien invasion. Unfortunately for David, he comes be this information the hard way- since both of his parents (Timothy Bottoms and Laraine Newman) are taken over by alien mind control. Things become progressively worse for the film’s young hero, when David discovers that his belligerent biology teacher Mrs. McKeltch (Louise Fletcher) is also under the alien’s influence.

With nowhere else to go, David turns to the school nurse, Linda Magnusson (Karen Black), who is able to shield him from the clutching grasp of the nasty Mrs. McKeltch. With Linda on his side, David sets out to save his town from the invaders from Mars. Sporting some funky special effects and a scene stealing, over-the-top performance from Louise Fletcher, INVADERS FROM MARS proves to be giddy genre fun. The supporting cast of INVADERS FROM MARS features the talents of James Karen, Bud Cort, Eric Pierpoint and Jimmy Hunt, who starred in the original version of the movie.

MGM Home Entertainment has made INVADERS FROM MARS available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that is also enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. As with earlier releases of the film, the image on the DVD sometimes has a somewhat soft and grainy appearance. Not that INVADERS FROM MARS looks particularly bad, just that this presentation isn’t one that shows off the potential of the DVD format. Since previous home editions of the film had the same general appearance, this is how the prints of the movie looked, so MGM really can’t be faulted for the shortcomings in image quality. Still, the picture is entirely watchable, with most sequences being reasonably sharp and offering pretty good definition. Colors are fairly well saturated and pretty stable, with little fuzziness amongst the most intense hues. Blacks are solid and the level of shadow detail is respectable. Digital compression artifacts did not mar the presentation in any way.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack decodes to standard surround. This is a typical mid-eighties mix, that doesn’t tax the older non-discrete format. There is some channel separation in the forward soundstage and a bit of ambient activity in the rears. Dialogue reproduces with complete intelligibility, although some of the voices do have a "looped" quality. The bass is unimpressive, but adequate for the material. French and Spanish subtitles are present on the DVD. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Included on the DVD are two publicity featurettes produced at the time of the film’s release, plus a theatrical.

INVADERS FROM MARS is good campy sci-fi fun that will appeal to genre fans looking for a laugh. MGM’s DVD edition of the film looks and sounds respectable, so is worth investigating because of its low list price.


Invaders From Mars


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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