On the night of a meteor shower, young David Gardner sees an alien spacecraft land in a sand quarry behind his house. This is the beginning of an alien invasion that sees David's parents (George and Ellen Gardner), his teachers and the townspeople slowly assimilated by the alien life forms, returning with less emotions. The only one who believes David is the school nurse, Linda Magnuson. Together, David and Linda enlist the aid of the U.S. Marines to help save the world.
At the end, David awakes in his bed and tells his parents about the events, all being a nightmare. After he and his parents return to sleep, he is suddenly reawakened by the alien spacecraft beginning to land. Running to his parent's bedroom, the film ends with him screaming as an alien noise can be heard, leaving David's fate unknown.Hunter Carson as David Gardner
Timothy Bottoms as George Gardner
Laraine Newman as Ellen Gardner
Karen Black as the school nurse, Linda Magnusson
James Karen as General Climet Wilson
Bud Cort as Mark Weinstein
Louise Fletcher as Mrs. McKeltch
Jimmy Hunt as the Police Chief
Eric Pierpoint as Sargeant Major Rinaldi
Christopher Allport as Captain Curtis
Jimmy Hunt, who played David Gardner's counterpart character in the 1953 film (David Maclean), portrays the Police Chief in the 1986 version. David is seen watching this film's director Tobe Hooper's previous film, Lifeforce, on television when his mother surprises him. When the indoctrinated police officers are searching for David and Nurse Magnuson in the school's basement, they briefly shine a flashlight on some stored theatrical props, one of which is the Supreme Intelligence alien inside its clear orb as depicted in the original 1953 version. It is not known if this is the original prop or a replica made for the 1986 film. The Gardner's mailbox shows the name of the town as Santa Mira, an homage to the town where another sci-fi film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, was set.
The scenes shot on location at David's school were filmed at Eagle Rock Elementary School in the Eagle Rock suburb in Los Angeles, California. The school bore a temporary fake nameplate in the film that read "Menzies Elementary School" as a tribute to the 1953 film's director, William Cameron Menzies. The Gardners' home in the film is the same house that was purpose-built for the 1948 Cary Grant/Myrna Loy film, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and still stands as the administrative offices for park employees at Malibu Creek State Park. Other locations include Simi Valley, California.
Invaders from Mars was released on June 6, 1986 to a disappointing theatrical intake, opening in seventh place. In total, it earned a paltry $4,884,663 at the US box office, a major loss from its $12,000,000 budget.
The film received mostly negative reviews from critics during its release, and currently holds a 36% approval rating on movie review aggregator Web site Rotten Tomatoes.
Time Out wrote, "... whereas the original worked by building up an increasingly black mood, this version relies almost entirely on the special effects; and such limited brooding tension as it has is gratuitously undermined by a string of sequences played purely for laughs."
It was nominated for two awards at the 7th Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Supporting Actress for Louise Fletcher and Worst Visual Effects.
Scream Factory released the film first time on Blu-ray on April 7, 2015.