Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Pink Scare

Remember the Cold War?  Sure, we all do!  Who could forget the drills during elementary school where pupils were told to stop, drop, rock, and roll whenever a bright poison Mario mushroom would appear in the sky?  I'll tell you who - the British.

"Invaders From Mars" is the re-telling of the incredible true story about the time I woke up at 4 a.m. by a thunderstorm only to find an alien craft slowly crashing into the homemade beach on top of the hill outside of my bedroom window.  Of course, director William Cameron Menzies took some creative license here and there, but what he delivers is a harrowing, surreal, and originally fairly accurate depiction of what went on during those few terrifying summer days back in the early 1950s.  When I say "originally", I'm referring to the initial U.S. release of the film.  A later, recut version was released by the same country who stole french fries, lost to Bret "The Hitman" Hart, and gave us the Spice Girls - "Great" Britain.

Let's focus on the vastly superior U.S. version, since, like all American media, is the most accurate.  The movie wastes no time in letting you know what's going on.  A sexy green spaceship's GPS leads it to Earth and digs itself into the crust, marinating the soil around it to create a camaflouged hideout.  The landing site seduces humans to its location and sucks them underground only to drill mind-controlling little thingies from Radio Shack into their brains and control their every thought.

The first real shock comes when the possessed father, played so elegantly by the founder of Canada's great great grand nephew, Leif Erickson, smacks little mister main character right in the schnoz.  What ensues is a brooding, psychologically blending narrative that doesn't let up; not even after the end credits roll.  In fact, I'm being affected by it right now.

There are lessons abound in this film, but perhaps the most important one is that we should not let foreigners inject their poisonous ideas into our fragile and easily manipulated minds.  Be sure to catch the more philosophical and "confusing" original version of this film, as it is a much more satisfying and gut wrenching experience. 

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