Sunday, October 26, 2008

Invaders from Mars

For the first time since I was a little kid, got to see William Cameron Menzies' Invaders from Mars (1953) and totally get why it stayed with me through the decades. Though definitely a B movie production, its enduring power derives from the primal story line. What happens when people you trust, love and depend on turn into something alien, suddenly capable of destroying you?

Memory plays tricks -- I must have conflated two scenes wherein the main protagonist, a kid, realizes his parents have been taken over by alien control with a later scene when aliens, operating underground, are about to drill into the back of the kindly Dr. Pat Blake's neck and place an implant there. (A still from this scene with Dr. Blake, played by Helena Carter, is pictured above).

What's a person to do when one minute all is well and the next, an atomic age equivalent of a horde of Mongols is streaming over the horizon? In its own endearing way, Invaders from Mars remains as creepy as The Bad Seed (1956) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962), as effective in tapping into fear of absolute -- and involuntary -- betrayal as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). It's no coincidence that remakes have been attempted of all of these spookathons.

The context of Invaders from Mars may may inspire another post down the line, as well as period details, golly gee dialogue and various SF/fantasy genre conventions.

Today's Rune: Fertility.


Charles Gramlich said...

Invaders from Mars definitely plays on the same kind of paranoia that Invasion of the body snatchers did. I also saw some TWilight zone episodes that did this very well.

Lana Gramlich said...

I still say that humans are scarier than any aliens or monsters they create, unfortunately.

the walking man said...

Do the Martians have a two party system?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lana. Humans have a wide capacity for various kinds of behavior, for good and for evil for what ever reasons. Has any body been watching the show on PBS called The Last Enemy? Scary stuff perpetrated by human behavior. The Eyes are everywhere watching everyone. And these are Earthlings!

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