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Label:
Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT178-BR

STRANGE INVADERS (1983) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Wallace Shawn, Nancy Allen, Louise Fletcher, Paul Le Mat, Diana Scarwid, Michael Lerner, Fiona Lewis
Directed By:  Michael Laughlin
Composed By:  John Addison

“Loss of face gets a whole new twist in this unexpectedly well-developed pastiche…Some brilliant SFX and stabs of humor in the midnight vein…Hugely entertaining and refreshingly gore-free.” – Time Out London

“Hovering unclassifiably between nostalgia and satire, this amiably hip genre movie confirms Laughlin as a deliberately minor but unique stylist…offers a good deal of laid-back fun.” – David Ansen, Newsweek

Michael Laughlin directs Strange Invaders (1983), 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. Also starring Nancy Allen as a helpful journalist, and a lively supporting cast including Michael Lerner, Louise Fletcher, Wallace Shawn, Fiona Lewis, and period icon June Lockhart.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1983 / Color
93 MINUTES
RATED PG

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Audio Commentary with Director Michael Laughlin and Writer William Condon / Original Theatrical Trailer

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Posted by Mark Turner on March 22, 2016 9:34 PM
A NICE HOMAGE

I remember back in the early eighties when director Michael Laughlin was the talk of the town in numerous horror and science fiction fan magazines. Everyone was raving about the one two punch of two of his films, first STRANGE BEHAVIOR and then STRANGE INVADERS. Then in 1985 he made the little seen film MESMERIZED and suddenly disappeared never directing a movie again. As to why, who knows? But he left behind these few films as well as a few others he produced that can still be enjoyed. Twilight Time has chosen this film to release and done as good a job as possible with the film.

The movie is a tribute to the classic alien invasion films of the 50s where the paranoia would run rampant and everyone was trying to make sure they were not eliminated by the aliens sent here to take over. While a tribute to those films it twist some of the standard conventions used in them to make a slightly different sort of movie.

Paul Le Mat stars as Charles Bigelow, a professor of entomology (the study of insects) at a university in New York. Divorced from his wife Margaret (Diana Scarwid), his young daughter comes to spend some time with him. But his wife doesn’t return to pick up the child and when calling to find her he discovers she has completely disappeared. Unsure of what to do, he packs up his dog leaves his daughter with his mother and heads to the small Midwest town of Centerville where Margaret grew up.

When Charles arrives in town it appears like an idyllic location but he finds few people wandering around. He checks into the local hotel and asks about his wife’s family. The owner tells him he’s lived there all his life and never heard of Margaret or the family. As Charles begins searching for Margaret the locals seem less and less friendly, his dog disappears and he finds himself racing out of town being pursued by a group that have fired what seem like lasers at him.

Returning home he continues to worry about his ex-wife. Looking at the news stand he sees a picture of a bug eyed alien on the cover of a tabloid and recognizes it as one of the things that was pursuing him when he headed out of town. He contacts the writer of the piece Betty Walker (Nancy Allen) and asks about the picture, telling her his story. While she first doesn’t believe him she changes her tune when the townspeople show up in New York and try to abduct his daughter.

They succeed in capturing the girl and Charles heads back to Centerville with the hopes of finding her and Margaret. With Betty along for the ride all will be revealed before the final reel. But will that be in time to save not just his daughter but Charles and his friend’s lives as well?

The movie does a great job of catching not just the feel of those classic B movie science fiction films it is written in that style as well and performances are less Oscar worthy and more Comic-con quality. Before you get angry, that’s a compliment. The film even uses minimalist sets, costumes and locations to give it the feeling of those old films. And it works.

As is always the case, Twilight Time has offered the best reproduction of the film. That being said it has a hazy quality to it that blu-ray or any format will never fix but that’s on purpose. Other extras include an isolated score track, an audio commentary with director Michael Laughlin and writer William Condon and the original theatrical trailer.

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