Strange Invaders (1983)

STRANGE INVADERS (1983)
Article 3661 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-8-2011
Posting Date: 8-23-2011
Directed by Michael Laughlin
Featuring Paul Le Mat, Nancy Allen, Diana Scarwid
Country: USA
What it is: The Aliens are among us

When his ex-wife vanishes after leaving their daughter in his care, a professor decides to visit his ex-wife’s hometown to look for her. Everyone in the town is slightly hostile and no one claims to know his wife. When he is prevented from leaving town and his car is destroyed, he begins to realize that the town is populated by space aliens.

When I first saw the movie years ago, a big deal was made about it being a homage to the science fiction movies from the fifties. I was disappointed with it then, largely because it lacked that certain vibe I get from science fiction movies from that era; it feels too much like an eighties movie. In terms of plot elements, one can draw parallels; though I hear INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS mentioned a lot in comparison with this one, I think it would be closer to say that it’s a reworking of I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE, one in which the marriage actually resulted in a child (and the movie is enough like a fifties movie to leave the details of that transaction to your imagination). Watching it again, I still feel somewhat dissatisfied; I think the main problem I have is that the movie doesn’t seem to know what effect it’s trying for. It tries to be funny, scary, suspenseful, mysterious, and have a sense of wonder, but it does all of these things only slightly, and the overall effect is rather bland. My favorite performance comes from Kenneth Tobey as the leader of the aliens, though I also like Michael Lerner as an asylum resident who also had an encounter with the aliens. All in all, I thought it was a nice try, but it doesn’t really work.

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