Invasion Earth: The Aliens Are Here (1988) poster

Invasion Earth: The Aliens Are Here (1988)


USA. 1988.


Director – George Maitland, Screenplay – Miller Drake, Producer – Max J. Rosenberg, Photography – Austin McKinney, Music – Anthony R. Jones, Visual Effects Supervisor – Dennis Skotak, Creature Creator – Michael McCracken, Production Design – Michael Novotny. Production Company – New World Pictures/Rearguard Productions/Invasion Earth Productions.


Christian Lee (Billy), Janice Fabian (Joanie), Larry Bagby III (Tim), Dana Young (Mike), Charles Wycoff (Willie), Mel Welles (Mr Davar)


Aliens invade a smalltown movie theatre that is holding an all-night screening of 1950s science-fiction B movie compilations where they start replacing the staff and members of the audience with pods. Only a teenager and his girlfriend understand what is happening. Laughed at by the authorities, they decide to stop the invasion on their own.

Invasion Earth: The Aliens Are Here has been assembled principally in order to string together a series of clips from old 1950s science-fiction films. The release of compilations of trailers from in particular old science-fiction and horror films began with Coming Soon (1982) and there were numerous copies soon after on the newfound video market.

The difference between Invasion Earth: The Aliens Are Here and these other clip compilation films is that it attempts to add a dramatic story to the mix as well. Although going by the results, one feels the purpose would have been better achieved by simply using the clips to make a documentary or a compilation tape. The filmmakers have worked themselves into an embarrassing corner – despite some thirty years advance in filmmaking techniques, the old film clips on display only succeed in showing up the 1980s scenes as even more cheap and shabby than the originals. Indeed, the clips from the originals are the most interesting thing on display in the film.

An extraordinary range of films is represented and, certainly, they are very well edited together, arranged into bursts of material on common themes. These themes are often coordinated to mirror the action going on in the film’s story – for example, the cinema scene from The Blob (1958) plays while the aliens take over the theatre.

Although, for all Invasion Earth‘s featuring of numerous clips from 1950s films of aliens being blown away, it disappoints in the expectations it leads up to – the film is so parsimoniously made that it lacks any confrontation with or destruction of the alien invaders at the climax. There is no plot to the film – the middle hour or so is taken up by a series of extended clips while one waits for something to happen.

The brief alien ship effects are good but the alien makeups themselves vary considerably in quality – and worse the dubbed voices come in irritable modern vernacular. All the characters in the film, bar the nominal teen hero and heroine, are played as morons. The film’s only tone is that of bumbling slapstick.

Trailer here

Themes: , , , ,