neck-checking nasties: invaders from mars


There are a lot of movies from my childhood that stand out just based on how much they scared me at the time. One of the most rewatched freakout flicks for me was Tobe Hooper’s 1986 take on Invaders from Mars. To this day it very much remains a “you probably had to be five when it came out” movie, but those memories are still vivid and easily poked and prodded.

Like Ghostbusters and the Large Marge scene from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, this was a movie I had to make myself watch over and over to zap away its power to scare me. I used to be convinced those big, lumbering Martian monsters would come trundling through my door at any second whenever I watched it, and I’m still not entirely sure they won’t!


Watching this again for the first time in ages was mostly a nostalgia trip. From the moment, ahem, DAVID GARDNER!! sees his teacher eat a frog to the swirling sand traps and the furious underground invasion in the third act, Hooper’s movie is all about stoking childhood paranoia. It reinforces the thought that something about your parents, your teachers, and everyone else in your life isn’t quite right. Maybe they know something you don’t, or maybe there’s something else cooking under it all that proves every adult around you is a dang ALIEN.

Hunter Carson should have gotten an award for best child actor that year. Just look at the way he reacts to all the horrific sights in this film! I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that no one told him he was filming a movie. This is the face of someone who believes it all, just like I did over three decades ago.


So, is Invaders from Mars a classic? It depends on who you ask. I still think it’s pretty fun, but I also still have the same diseased brain as that five-year-old kid who grew up watching a ton of weird shit on TV.


Halloween 2019 Movies:

1. Sequence Break
2. Deadtime Stories
3. Hell House LLC
4. Body Bags
5. Pumpkinhead
6. Friday the 13th Part III
7. Child’s Play 2019
8. Ghoulies II
9. Satanic Panic
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
11. Demons
12. You’re Next
13. Frankenstein
14. The Ranger
15. The Fly
16. Train to Busan
17. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
18. Army of Darkness
19. Lake Mungo
20. Popcorn
21. Beyond the Gates

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