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The Day Mars Invaded Earth
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Day Mars Invaded Earth More at IMDbPro »

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35 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

tepid, atmospheric shocker

Author: akersbp from post-apocalyptic wasteland
6 December 2000

Upon first seeing this film as a youngster, I was frankly disappointed at the lack of a "bear" (to borrow the term used to describe the weekly monster featured in vintage Outer Limits episodes). What kind of monster movie is this, without a monster? They really saved on their budget by having their Martians be invisible--how lame, I thought. But upon seeing it again more recently, I was pleasantly surprised at its subtlety and stylistic nuances. There is a surprising and happy comparison with the Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur horror films of the 1940's, which stake their appeal on mood, atmosphere, and things the imagination conjures up--as opposed to the old Universal horror films which center on a classic monster. The other comparison would be with some old Outer Limits episodes, which often used a subplot founded on tensions in human relationships (e.g. a troubled husband/wife pair) as a driving force of the story, along with visually rich settings. This film does a similar thing, taking an unusually mature approach to its juvenile subject matter with interesting results. The musical score is effective and classy. In one scene, the wife/mother has to go out and check on a door which is reportedly open when its not supposed to be. This scene (reminiscent of a scene from the original "Cat People") builds tension almost subliminally, with her looking around anxiously, as if someone is there watching. Suddenly she hears footsteps and gets scared. Soon she is fleeing, running down long outdoor landscaped corridors, overwrought. She almost stumbles upon a poolside statue which scares her--even ordinary things become menacing to her in her psychological state. There's nothing hitting the viewer over the head, but rather a careful, slow drawing back of the curtain to reveal what's happening, in a way that builds intrigue and suspense, versus having a boogie man jump out and go "boo!". This zero-budget film has worn a soft spot in the heart of this scifi movie buff for its attention to little things that other offerings neglect. I recommend it to grown-ups nostalgic for the thrill they knew as youngsters watching saturday matinee monster movies, now frustrated because they can no longer suspend their disbelief at the sight of a rubber-suited alien monster as easily as when they were young. Story and characterization are this film's strong suits, and it builds up to a shock end

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Honey is that you?

6/10
Author: evilskip from With Marvin the Martian
27 December 2000

Don't kid yourself as this is a very low budget shocker.But it is a shocker and a pleasant one at that.99% of the film is shot in one location but what a location!

A scientist with a troubled marriage sends a probe to Mars.Unknown to all concerned the probe sends back a little something,namely Martians as invisible energy beings.They become doppelgangers of the scientist and his family. Their mission is clear;to stop earth from travelling to Mars.(They like their high property values obviously).The Martians play havoc with his home life until the very end.

A small budget flick with an appealing cast of old pros.Quickly paced and well written by Harry Spaulding.Even a downbeat ending to add to the menace.Better than average and worth a look in a forgiving mood.

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

don't dismiss this one because of the less than stellar rating

7/10
Author: kalibeans from Georgia, USA
29 February 2012

This was a 60's sci-fi movie that had somehow escaped my radar until today. I'm a particular fan of the genre. I almost did not watch it due to the low 4.8 rating on IMDb. This is one of the rare instances where I'm glad to say I disagree with the general consensus. I can see where the under 40 crowd, used to CGI and faced paced action/thriller type sci-fi movies would be bored with this film. Actually I would consider it a combination paranormal/sci-fi flick. The estate on which the film was made is stunningly beautiful, even in black and white. Not your average backdrop for a science fiction film. The premise is terrifying. There are the obvious flaws of "why in the world would they stay once they've seen what they did?" and other arm-chair quarterbacking thoughts that I'd have done a lot differently in their situation. I think it's difficult for 21st century viewers sometimes to put themselves in a 50's or 60's setting. How could they if they did not live during those times? I found the film to be suspenseful and entertaining. Doubt it will make to anyone's "top 10 film" list, but it was a very pleasant surprise and great way to spend a rainy afternoon. There is something primeval about the plot of the film that is very unnerving and thus makes it so scary. There are no cheesy costumed Martians or monsters to spoil this one. It's all intellectual type fear. Give this one a shot - especially if you are age 50+, you won't be disappointed.

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Low budget suspense

6/10
Author: S Gill from Warwickshire, England
31 December 2000

This film was a pleasant surprise and reminded me of "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" and "The Shining" both in plot content and, more particularly, the methods used to build atmosphere and suspense.

The film struggles to overcome its budgetary constraints and suffers from some rather wooden performances from the limited cast. It is unfortunate that when dealing with such a small cast a below par performance is a great deal more obvious than it would be in most films. A case of not enough flowers to hide the weeds.

I was surprised to see comments from another viewer who attributed this film to the UK, as far as I can see there are no links to the UK. The writer was Canadian and the cast, director, studio and locations all American.

It's certainly worth 70 minutes of your time to give this production a chance, if nothing else it is a refreshing change from the hideously unconvincing "rubber monster" flicks that were so prevalent in this genre.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The 'Marienbad' of Sci Fi ?

6/10
Author: Steve Ellison (movie.store@virgin.net) from Manchester, England
9 February 2007

The perpetrators of this confused, yet strangely effective low budget sci fi 'thriller' had obviously seen Alan Resnais' Last Year In Marienbad the night before shooting started. The interminable tracking through the estate was obviously lifted from Resnais' confuserama, one of my favourite movies, and the blandness of the acting, while probably not deliberate as it was in the classic French movie, means that you can't take your eyes off the screen, in case anything actually happens, which it very rarely does. The two movies would make a weird, but engrossing double feature. I'm very concerned now, because I LIKE both movies a lot. Strange ?

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

failed mars probe inspires search

7/10
Author: penpan from birmingham, UK
2 January 2004

the recent disappearance of the mars probe, the beagle, made me think of this film - although i had no idea what the title was. .. but i knew that i had seen it as a young child, and so i thought that it had probably been released in the 60's. so, went to teoma.com and looked for sites which might allow me to narrow the search. came up with a couple of possible titles, then followed a link to IMDb and typed in each possible before reading the plot line that seemed to fit.

this is the one.

this film creeped me out as a child - i remember having dreams about it afterward, and that the feeling of foreboding and threat, the horror of there being no escape, and the way that the characters never knew whether they were talking to their real family members or not, would sometimes enter my thoughts for years...

the ending i think was especially threatening - the sense of there being no way that anyone could find out the 'truth', when the evidence of their existence was washed away.... eeeughhhh.

so saying, i'd love to see it again now.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Twilight Zone style Martian flick

6/10
Author: krorie from Van Buren, Arkansas
27 June 2006

Were it not for the fact that the classic sci-fi feature, "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," appeared nearly a decade earlier, this film could have been a noteworthy original alien movie. As is, it would have played better as an episode for Rod Serling's legendary "Twilight Zone." More realistic than many Martian monster stories, the aliens here are comparable to electrical charges of energy, intelligent forces that are without physical form yet can assume the shape of earthly beings, becoming non-genetic clones.

Writer Harry Spalding does an admirable job with story and script. The ending is effective and keeps within the plot framework. Most of the action takes place in one locale. So Spalding had to write for a restrictive setting. With less skill behind the pen, the movie would have played as a stage drama. Director Maury Dexter met the challenge well, for the show moves along at a fast pace.

The acting is first rate. Kent Taylor, TV's "Boston Blackie," was originally groomed by Hollywood to be a major romantic lead, but he never quite made the big time. He ended up making many B features during his long movie career. Yet he was an able actor who could be counted on to give a good performance, as he does in "The Day Mars Invaded Earth." Need I say Marie Windsor was one of the screen's favorite femmes fatales? She was such a convincing actress that many believed her screen image was the real thing. As with Taylor, Windsor never gave a bad performance. The surprise in this film is William Mims as Dr. Web Spencer who makes the most of his supporting role.

Apparently produced for the drive-in crowd, this seldom seen little gem deserves a second look.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Murky, Cerebral, but Slow-Moving 60s Sci-Fi

6/10
Author: mrb1980 from Arizona
6 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The presence of Kent Taylor, Marie Windsor, and William Mims as the main three actors in this film is a sure invitation to sci-fi B-movie fans everywhere. The film--a sort-of remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"--is no classic but will hold your attention for the most part.

David Fielding (Taylor) and his assistant Web (Mims) are space scientists who sent a probe to Mars. The probe quits functioning within about a minute, so Taylor decides to fly to California, and to his crumbling marriage with Claire Fielding (Windsor). The Fieldings and their two children are living as guests on a huge estate.

The Martians, meanwhile, are quite irritated about the probe and dispatch exact doubles for the Fieldings, as apparently their first step toward taking over Earth. The rest of the movie consists of Taylor and Windsor seeing their doubles wandering around the estate, as they try to figure things out. Taylor has a final confrontation with his double, Mims is roasted alive by some sort of mind power the Martians have, and the movie ends with the Fieldings reduced to ash and the Martians taking over. The end is surprisingly downbeat for a movie of this type and for its era.

The movie, though mostly entertaining, moves like a glacier most of the time, although it does pick up toward the film's end. The title's promised "invasion" simply consists of the Martian doubles driving off in Taylor's car. Fans of Taylor and Windsor will certainly want to see the film, but be prepared for some pretty slow going. I still think it's a good "B+" effort.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Very familiar but with a very odd ending...

5/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
26 March 2012

It was a very interesting coincidence that I watched this film when I did--right after seeing "Ramona" (1936). That's because Kent Taylor was one of the stars in both films. However, here in "The Day Mars Invaded the Earth", he was late in his career--and in a lot less prestigious film! Now this isn't to say that sci-fi films of the period are all bad--they can be great fun. But they don't have the huge star power of this earlier film--when Taylor was on his way to being a major Hollywood star (though, it never exactly came to be--though he did appear in a huge number of films--mostly Bs). In addition to Taylor, Marie Windsor (who played a great film noir 'dame' in the 50s) co-stars as his loving wife--but she looks quite different with her blonde hair and 60s hairstyle.

The plot of this sci-fi/horror film is very familiar and reminded me of many sci-fi and horror films of the day. A man (Taylor) is working on a project that has sent a probe to Mars. Soon, weird things start happening to him and his family--as Martians come to Earth disguised as him or family members. It seems they do NOT want humans bothering them.

This is all very, very familiar territory but with one twist. The ending was NOT at all predictable and was pretty off the wall. Otherwise, a decent film for those who love the genre. Not a great film--but worth your time and it makes do quite well with a small budget.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Is it real or is it doppleganger?

6/10
Author: Brian Manville (Sterno-2) from Frederick, MD
19 February 2001

This is an interesting little movie. The viewer's hopes are not raised when the opening credit sequence is on top of stock footage of a rocket blasting off. The movie struggles to gain altitude, barely avoiding clipping the trees with its cheesy Martian landing scene. But, baby, does this plane take off after that!

It turns out that the smoldering probe was actually the launching pad for the Martians -- essentially beings of pure energy -- to invade earth and produce dopplegangers of the scientist who built the probe and his family. It gives an interesting juxtaposition: Just who is invading whom? We tell ourselves that we're "exploring" Mars, but what would we do further down the line except colonize? Wouldn't it be reasonable to expect that sentient beings, seeing the planet being explored by another race, might take matters into their own hands?

In another light, one could look at the dopplegangers as the alternate face we show to others (even loved ones) that we may not even wish to recognize ourselves. This could be seen in the way the scientist and his wife relate to each other, especially when it is the "real" person meeting up with the doppleganged spouse. The final 10 minutes of this all-too-short movie are both shocking and thought-provoking.

Sterno says join the invasion forces.

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