Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Invaders From Mars (1986, Tobe Hooper)


I think I’ve seen some of the original cult flick Invaders From Mars which came out in the 1950s. What I saw of that was good, yet dated. You can make the same argument about Hooper’s remake, still I rather liked this one well enough. The ending is gusty, the cast is good, there’s some awesome freaky moments and the movie is very 1980s. Which is fine as Hooper did some pretty good work during that decade and became further established in his own right.

However compared to other 1980s remakes this one isn’t as good as the other ones, although I definitely prefer it over Not Of This Earth, which was not a good movie. Louise Fletcher is wonderfully sinister in this movie, the parents are played by famous actors Timothy Bottoms and Laraine Newman, and Karen Black has a prominent hero role as the school nurse who believes the kid protagonist. Hunter Carson is quite good as young David, the hero, and James Karen plus Christopher Allport pop up as high ranking soldiers who come to David’s aid.

There are several pretty cool sequences too, particularly the one in the saucer alien lair yet also one involving a swirling sand vortex of doom. Stan Winston and John Dykstra do a fine job with the special effects, and even though the movie drags a bit in the middle the finale more than covers for the weaker aspects. I’ll have to view the original in it’s entirety to compare the two, however for now I’m very satisfied with the remake.

A Brood of Brainwashed Blood Thirsty Killers (Strange Behavior, 1981)


Note: This is a lost Horrorfest review that after some changes and editing I’m presenting to you horror fans:

As much a slasher movie as it is a sci-fi “Science gone amok” movie, the under rated cult film Strange Behavior is a rather odd, and thus stands out from its brethren. By the time of Strange Behavior’s release, slasher movies were a large part of the horror genre and 1980s was about to usher in the sub-genere’s heyday. Created a year after Halloween clone Friday the 13th, Strange Behavior has been somewhat forgotten, perhaps because of its weird plot. Or maybe the numerous slasher movies that followed left more of an impression upon viewers.

Having now seen way more 80s slasher movies since viewing this film, I now realize even more how unique and original this movie really is. Weird experiments taking place at a local college are resulting in the studies’ willing guinea pigs killing people at random. What it all really means is a mystery, however someone is maybe pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

The film’s dreamlike 80s pop style soundtrack, well executed by Tangerine Dream, only makes this movie feel and seem even more bizarre. However the film doesn’t seem to go far enough with its commentary on conformity and leaves behind the science implications in favor of gory yet well crafted terror inspiring moments that really fail to be scary if you have viewed a horror movie before.

What really sticks out in my mind is how the film ends-the last act is really quite unexpected. Considering that it was fairly well made and is clearly smarter than most of the slasher films that followed, Strange Behavior is a rare gem. I thank TCM for airing the movie when they did back in 2010, and I hope that more people get a chance to check out a most welcomed addition to the slasher genre. 82/100

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