At a crossroads where E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, Critters, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and Invaders From Mars all meet, Spaced Invaders is a cute kids movie with some great make-up and creature effects, and while it’s a little too long at 100 minutes, it never strays from being concerned with goofy, slapstick humor sort of in the vein of a Three Stooges movie.
Dimwitted Martians drop into a little Illinois town on the day that the local radio station happens to rebroadcast Orson Welles 1938 “War Of The Worlds”.
On Halloween, a small mid-western town called Big Bean is going through a severe spell of draught, and the banks are inching closer to foreclosing on all the farmers whose dry land hasn’t produced crop in ages. A new sheriff moves into town with his young daughter (played by Ariana Richards who would later star in Tremors and Jurassic Park) who has no friends to trick or treat with later that evening. The town seems to have been plucked straight from the 1950’s, complete with the old country bumpkins who remember when Orson Welles read “War of the Worlds” over the radio and scared the crap out of the country, thinking that aliens were invading from outer space. To commemorate the occasion, the local radio station plays the old Welles record when it gets dark, and by chance, a group of misfit pint-sized Martians are on a mission from their overlord when they intercept the radio transmission that seems to announce their arrival. They make a pit stop on Earth, right in the town of Big Bean, and their appearance – on Halloween night of all nights – doesn’t alarm anybody, especially the trick or treating children out and about who think they’re a bunch of weird kids with masks on. The Martians march around, planning the destruction of Earth while making brain-enslaved minions out of Earthlings, but it’s up to the kids to befriend them and convince them that Earth is worth saving.
At a crossroads where E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, Critters, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and Invaders From Mars all meet, Spaced Invaders is a cute kids movie with some great make-up and creature effects, and while it’s a little too long at 100 minutes, it never strays from being concerned with goofy, slapstick humor sort of in the vein of a Three Stooges movie. The special effects are charmingly cheap and homemade, and it takes place on Halloween, so there’s that seasonal appeal too. I saw this theatrically as a 10-year old, and I remember sort of enjoying it then, and while watching it to write this review I showed it to my six-year old who seemed to enjoy it, so it has retained its appeal for youngsters. Writer / director Patrick Read Johnson clearly had his heart in the right place with this one, and fans of fun PG-rated sci-fi flicks should take a look at it.
Kino Lorber really loaded their new blu ray of Spaced Invaders with tons of special features, including a new audio commentary, more than six individual interviews, and a trailer. It took me some time to comb through all the supplements. Thanks, Kino, for bringing Spaced Invaders into high definition! Earth will never be the same!