The 50’s will go down in history as the greatest decade of all time for science fiction films. During this 10 year period we were introduced to Godzilla, Rodan, giant insects and arachnids and of course every type of alien being bent on invading Earth imaginable. It truly was a great time to be a fan of not only movies, but of science fiction. Some of these films were great; some not so great. The one thing they all had in common though was great imaginations at a time where Hollywood was chock full of original ideas.
This is part four of my ongoing series covering the alien invasion films of the nineteen fifties. In the past I have reviewed THE MAN FROM PLANET X (see HERE), THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (see HERE) and one of my all time favorites, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (see HERE). Now I am here to review another great addition, INVADERS FROM MARS.
For anyone that has read any of my posts in the past you will know that I am very nostalgic when it comes to my youth. I cherished being a kid for so many reasons. We had the weekly ritual of Saturday morning cartoons as opposed to today, where there are 24 hour a day cartoon channels. We also had a block of cartoons on each morning before school and another one waiting for us when we got home from school. The Saturday morning showings were on the major networks and the weekday showings were on UHF stations.
Saturday mornings were great because not only did you have the great Hanna Barbera and Warner Brother offerings but Sid & Marty Krofft were creating a regular variety of live action shows such as Land Of The Lost and Dr. Shrinker. It is the weekday showings though that I am currently here to talk about. These showings introduced me to a whole new type of animation; an animation from Japan. At the time we called it Japanimation and now it goes by the name of anime. The best of these, in my opinion, was a show called Star Blazers from 1974.
I have so many great memories in my life; many stemming from cheesy monster movies. As a kid I was glued to the television set every Saturday afternoon for the CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE and as an adult, I was glued to the television set every Saturday night for MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000! It was such a disappointment when Comedy Central cancelled MST3K and the SyFy Channel picked it up. Like all good things, the SyFy Channel usually ruins it. Thankfully it wasn’t long before the guys who made a career out of riffing on movies, something many of us did anyway, went on to create CINEMA TITANIC, THE FILM CREW and RIFFTRAX, all variations of the original concept.
One of the main reasons I decided to attend the Fright Night Film Fest in Lousiville was due to the addition of Gillian Anderson a.k.a. Agent Dana Scully from The X-Files. Like most of their top celebrity draws, she’d also represent one of their pricier ones. The cost for her autograph was $65 and an extra $20 if you wanted her to personalize or write anything in addition to her name.
Next to where the cast members of THE THING reunion were signing, was the amazing THING-FEST! This private collection owned by super-fan, Joe Hart, would feature the largest acquisition of props and memorabilia from the 1982 John Carpenter classic.
Though born and raised in New Jersey (a childhood friend of Kevin Smith), Hart now resides with his wife in Canada. What makes him so exceptional isn’t simply that he’s a fan who’s amassed lots of amazing goods, but that he’s one who willingly shares them with the rest of us. He does this utilizing his own time and resources and, in doing so, enhances the overall experience for everyone; something never more evident than at the Days of the Dead Indianapolis!
Days of the Dead’s THING-FEST; which not only included the largest gathering of actors from John Carpenter’s THE THING but also the biggest collection of props and collectibles, was well worth the trip to Indianapolis in itself. Russ and I are both huge fans of the movie and I’m expressing no hyperbole here when I say we were ECSTATIC to see a convention finally give it some proper attention.
From the film’s first pulse-pounding moments (enhanced even further by Carpenter’s fantastic score), I was captivated by it. And, in keeping with the film’s overall theme of paranoia, I also found myself rooting for the wrong side even before the opening credits had finished. Perhaps my devotion to THE THING is a prime example of how we, as adults, tend to be enthralled by the very things that provoked us as children.
…and seeing a “defenseless” dog getting shot at by a sniper in a helicopter absolutely provoked me.