Invaders From Mars (1986)

A woman holds her son and looks disconnected over his shoulder.

Continuing my Tobe Hooper deep dive, Invaders from Mars takes us to small town America, a loving family, and a boy, David Carlsen, watching lights land in the field behind his home. Neither of his parents believe him, but the next morning his father has a cut on the back of his neck and is behaving strangely. Soon people all over town are doing the same and David is on the run.

Hooper is playing with a pastiche of black and white science-fiction films, but subverting it by having the aliens turn people into conformist fifties stereotypes instead of communists as in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I wish it were shorter, less of a children’s film, and with a sharper ending — there’s too much shouting and running around. Karen Black as school nurse Linda has fun hamming it up when the impressively gross and made-with-practical-effects aliens appear. Fun fact: David was played by her real son, Hunter Carson.

I didn’t know Hooper did this pivot from horror into sci-fi. He signed a three-movie deal with Cannon after Poltergeist, of which Lifeforce and Invaders from Mars were the first two. I’m not sure I’ve got the will for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Part 2.

All films in 2023’s #31DaysofHorror…