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Invaders From Mars

By Eric Allen Hatch | Posted

Usually, there's nothing more annoying that someone who shows up at a repertory film and starts guffawing at the droll datedness of it all, but William Cameron Menzies' 1953 science-fiction thriller Invaders From Mars welcomes such a response. Like many of its Cold War sci-fi counterparts, Invaders From Mars boasts sappy dialogue, wooden acting, subfunctional sets, crappy ray guns, and heaping doses of xenophobic paranoia. Budding astronomer David Maclean (Jimmy Hunt) wakes his parents to report a flying saucer landing in their backyard; when his dad humors him by investigating, he disappears, only to return later that morning with a small puncture wound on the back of his neck and a really bad attitude, leaving it up to David to convince the authorities that the aliens have landed. As funny as Invaders From Mars is today, it also merits serious reflection as evidence of metaphorical Red Scare propaganda; unlike, say, The Day the Earth Stood Still, there are no aspirations for a multicultural utopia nor any exposé of provincial thinking to be found here. Show up and laugh, but don't wait 50 years to ponder today's mass entertainment and the stupid fears it instills in us right now.

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