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Strange Invaders (1983) - Blu-ray Review

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Strange Invaders (1983) - Blu=ray Review

3 beersAre your neighbors really who they say they are?  That question – thanks to an unhealthy amount of horror films at an early age – always comes to mind when I meet someone new.  Thankfully, I live out in the country and there’s literally no one around for miles.  But what if?  When a businessman enters a bathroom, you don’t expect a shrunken head-looking alien to come out in the man’s place.  But that’s exactly what happens in the wonderfully kooky Strange Invaders, a science fiction film that is memorably punctuated by a man removing his own scalp thanks to a glass of freshly poured water.

When your cast features Kenneth Tobey (from The Thing), June Lockhart & Mark Goddard (from Lost In Space), and Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Exorcist II), you best be not taking yourself too seriously.  Hopefully, as is the case here, you are paying homage to some serious dramatic and over-the-top science fiction.  That’s exactlly the purpose of Strange Invaders, a B-movie about an alien invasion that goes all astray when a man reports his missing ex-wife to a tabloid ... after the FBI refuses to believe him.

Suddenly, the entire town of Centerville, Illinois is after poor university lecturer Charles Bigelow (Paul Le Mat).

With some nice practical effects of alien harvesting and alien possession thrown in, Strange Invaders gets a passing grade for all you B-movie minded musketeers out there thanks to a seriously engaged tribute to a bygone era of filmmaking from Michael Laughlin (Strange Behavior) and a fabulous wonky script that is co-written by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters).  Yes, this is another in the line of "so bad it’s groovy" movies out there.  The early 1980s are full of those cheesy flicks.  That is, arguably, by design but one listen to the filmmakers and you can't help but nod along even if the frenetic editing might leave you to suspect otherwise... 

Truthfully, it is a tad suspicious but, ultimately, those scenes of common everyday sort of shenanigans violently butchered by an editor only add to the overall zany feel of this cult-appealing flick.  Outside of its own laser-brained hilarity, the film doesn’t really have an identity of its own; sometimes this is the sad case of parody.  Sure, it’s an alien invasion movie.  And, at times, we dip into monster lore for a bit of a cleansing.  But, when the political drama is this silly – the Eisenhower administration orchestrating with alien invaders?!  Tell me more! – one cannot help but be drawn into the mashed chaos. 

And then there is the search for Bigelow’s former wife Margaret (Diana Scarwid) who may in fact be more alien than anything else.  All of these points come together is this homage to other (and better) science fiction flicks like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Day the Earth Stood Still.  Co-starring Nancy Allen, Michael Lerner, Lulu Sylbert as a human/alien hybrid, and Bobby "Boris" Pickett, the writer and singer of the novelty song, “Monster Mash”, Strange Invaders is harmlessly quirky and all sorts of fun as it satirizes the flicks of yesteryear. 

Strange Invaders, in all its loopy madness, is available on blu-ray thanks to Twilight Time.  This is a limited release.

Strange Invaders (1983) - Blu=ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
92 mins
Director
: Michael Laughlin
Writer:
Bill Condon, Michael Laughlin
Cast:
Paul Le Mat, Nancy Allen, Diana Scarwid
Genre
: Sci-fi
Tagline:
25 Years Ago They Arrived From Another Galaxy. Surprise--They're Still Here.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Look, Earl, I, I know this is gonna sound ridiculous but I think a strange woman's locked herself in my bathroom."
Theatrical Distributor:
Orion Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 16, 1983
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 13, 2015
Synopsis: an affectionate homage to science fiction/alien takeover films of the 1950s that stars Paul Le Mat as a university professor searching for his ex-wife (Diana Scarwid), who seems to have disappeared while visiting her hometown of Centerville, Illinois. In fact, the place turns out to be a hotbed of aliens, in place since the Fifties and weirdly unaware of how the outside world has changed.

Strange Invaders (1983) - Blu=ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Twilight Time
Available on Blu-ray
- October 13, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region Free (A/B/C)

 

Twilight Time presents Strange Invaders on 1080p High Definition with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  The results are to be expected due to the age of the film and its storage conditions.  While black levels are good, some of the color is a bit drained of its saturation.  It is unsure by this reviewer if that is by design or by age.  Regardless, the film looks solid in this its likely ONLY HD release.  This is a region free release and it is limited to 3000 units.  The Audio is presented in an adequate English 1.0 DTS-HD MA track.

 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  

    The release comes with an audio commentary from director Michael Laughlin and writer Bill Condon.  Both talk with a great deal of fun and breeziness about the making of this nostalgic look back at the science fiction flicks of the 1950s.

     

Special Features:

As is the usual for Twilight Time, we get an Isolated Score Track, the feature-length commentary from Michael Laughlin and Bill Condon.  the original theatrical trailer and a booklet featuring photos and a brief commentary about the movie.

  • Isolated Score Track
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Strange Invaders (1983) - Blu=ray Review

Strange Invaders (1983)

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