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Invaders from Mars (1986)

PG | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 6 June 1986 (USA)
A boy tries to stop aliens who have taken over his town and are attempting to brainwash its inhabitants.


Tobe Hooper


Richard Blake (based on a screenplay by), Dan O'Bannon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Black ... Linda Magnusson
Hunter Carson ... David Gardner
Timothy Bottoms ... George Gardner
Laraine Newman ... Ellen Gardner
James Karen ... Gen. Climet Wilson
Bud Cort ... Mark Weinstein
Louise Fletcher ... Mrs. McKeltch
Eric Pierpoint ... Sgt. Maj. Rinaldi
Christopher Allport ... Captain Curtis
Donald Hotton ... Old NASA Scientist
Kenneth Kimmins ... Officer Kenney
Charlie Dell ... Mr. Cross
Jimmy Hunt ... Police Chief
William Bassett ... NASA Scientist
Virginya Keehne ... Heather (as Virginia Keehne)


In this remake of the classic 50s SF tale, a boy tries to stop an invasion of his town by aliens who take over the the minds of his parents, his least-liked schoolteacher and other townspeople. With the aid of the school nurse the boy enlists the aid of the U.S. Marines. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He knows they're here. See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

6 June 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Invaders from Mars See more »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,046,576, 8 June 1986

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cannon Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo


Color (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When young David is talking to his mother, he removes a canned beverage from the refrigerator. The drink is in fact a Doctor Pepper - director Tobe Hooper's favourite drink. See more »


When the son and father leave for the school bus the shadow of the cameraman is on them. See more »


Supreme Intelligence: [Mocking David] Poor little guy... Poor little guy...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK cinema version was cut by 1 minute for a PG rating with edits to shots of neck drillings, fire spurts from pellets emerging from neck wounds, and shots of a woman's shuddering leg as she is eaten by a Martian. The 1987 Rank video featured the same cut print. See more »


References Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Fun Horror for Kids
15 June 2005 | by spacemonkey_fgSee all my reviews

Title: Invaders from Mars (1986)

Director: Tobe Hooper (the man!)

Cast: Karen Black, Hunter Carson, James Karen

Review: Tobe Hoopers resume includes many great films (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Lifeforce, Poltergeist)...and many so-so ones (Spontanious Combustion, The Mangler). Invaders from Mars the re-make of the original alien invasion flick from the 1950's is one of his good ones. Not great, just good.

Early on in the film an alien spaceship crashes in David Gardners back yard, slowly but surely everyone in town starts acting weird...soon David must be the one responsible for stopping the aliens from conquering his home town...and maybe the world! This movie is a remake of the 1950 original, and just by the simplicity of the story you can tell that. It has that simple, light hearted, almost innocent feel that the movies had back in those days. But Hooper adds his only brand of weirdness and surrealism to the film that makes it feel like its some sort of nightmare you might have had while falling asleep watching midnight alien invasion films on your TV. Its the type of movie in which people start acting not quite themselves and you get that " something is wrong here" vibe going on, not unlike Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The aliens look great thanks to Stan Winstons always excellent work. But I must admit they do seem kind of harmless. They don't seem like they could be a threat. I mean yeah they got huge gaping mouths with rows upon rows of teeth...but they feel dumb and stupid. For example they have these big ass laser guns attached to their noggins...but they get overtaken by the us army in the blink of an eye? Still, they look cool. Specially their leader who looks like a huge giant brain that comes out of a slimy worm-whole type of thing. If you ask me he also looks pretty harmless....but who cares! They are supposed to be evil! And they are trying to take over earth! Kill them! The sets are awesome, the interior of the the ship is great looking, it kind of has an organic look and feel to it. But it always beats the hell out of me why aliens from mars would have disco lights inside of their ship. You kind of get the feeling that at any moment an alien DJ is going to pop up and spin a couple of cool tunes on his two turn tables and a microphone. Anyhows, the over all effect looked cool so I ain't complaining.

Obviously production values ain't the real problem with this flick. Its sets and creatures are awesome looking.

The acting is what hurts this film a bit. Karen Black and the Kid just didn't do it for me in certain scenes. The kid sucked as an actor which explains why we probably haven't seen much of him in any other movie. His dialog was to robotic. Like he just read it and blurted it out without any actual thought or preparation as to what he was supposed to be going through in the scene. Sorry dude, but facts are facts. The only actors worth mentioning are the evil teacher and James Karen as General Wilson kicking alien ass all over the place.

Invaders from Mars is the type of film you want to show your little kid brother or cousin or son if you want to start him into horror. It goes in my collection right along side other great kid friendly horror films as The Monster Squad and The Gate. Give it a shot.

Rating: 31/2 out of 5

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