Awfully Good: Spaced Invaders

Here's a Halloween movie I bet you don't remember…


Spaced Invaders (1990)


Director: Patrick Read Johnson
Stars: Ariana Richards, Douglas Barr, Royal Dano

Spaced Invaders poster

On Halloween, a group of aliens hear Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast and mistakenly come to Earth thinking they're supposed to be invading.

File this under "Movies I Completely Forgot Existed." When someone suggested SPACED INVADERS as a Halloween movie, I thought it sounded familiar, but a quick Google search brought back a flood of memories. I distinctly remember seeing the cover of this flick at Blockbuster, renting it, enjoying it, and then promptly never thinking about it ever again.

Spaced invaders alien surprise
The expected reaction when the alien requests to be taken to your leader and you bring him to the current President.

SPACED INVADERS is a stupid cartoonish relic of the early 90s, part of a wave of movies where kids befriended various creatures; think E.T. meets the braindead humor of the ERNEST films. I wouldn't call it a hidden gem or anything but you may get a kick out of revisiting what passed for high entertainment when you were a child.

The idea is kind of clever, with Orson Welles' famous radio prank working its way through space and also convincing extraterrestrials that Earth was under attack by beings from another planet. A spaceship full of dim-witted Martians decide to join the fight, but instead, crash land in the small town of Big Bean, Illinois. Usually this would alarm the locals, but unfortunately for the tiny aliens, they came on October 31st and everyone just assumes they're children dressed in costumes and find their constant declarations of "Prepare to die!" just adorable. Eventually their true nature is discovered by the sheriff, his daughter (JURASSIC PARK star and Jell-O jiggler Ariana Richards), and a local farmer played by Royal Dano, who also played a farmer dealing with extraterrestrials in KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE. (Do these movies exist in the same universe? [head explodes])

spaced invaders alien duck
The Venom and Howard the Duck crossover prequel explained EVERYTHING.

Watching SPACED INVADERS now, I really enjoy all the practical in-camera effects, even if they do look hysterically cheap. (I'm pretty sure the Martians' communication device is made of birthday party blow horns.) The alien makeup and effects, while a little goofy, also have a certain charm to them and are convincing enough. I wish I could say the same about their voices though. One alien has what sounds like a German accent; another a stuffy British accent; and one is clearly doing a bad Jack Nicholson impression the entire time.

Do you remember watching THE PHANTOM MENACE for the first time and seeing the Trade Federation Viceroy speak in the weird voice that didn't match the puppet's mouth? This is pretty much an entire movie like that, although at least this one is supposed to be bad on purpose.

spaced invaders aliens
Still more threatening than John Travolta in BATTLEFIELD EARTH.

At least I'm assuming SPACED INVADERS is supposed to be purposefully stupid. I mean, you don't call your film's big doomsday device the D.O.D. (Doughnut Of Destruction) otherwise. Other gags involve the aliens shooting their space gun at what they think is a missile silo but is just a normal silo full of corn that turns in to a cubic square mile of popcorn, as well taking over the mind of a guy in a Zorro costume and turning him in to an oddly-dressed slave. The film is also full of a nonstop stream of bad jokes and one-liners, like.

Cop: I caught you going 3,000 miles per hour. That's 2,945 miles per hour in excess of the posted limit.
Alien: Great. There goes my insurance.

Alien 1: Meet us at the Wrenchmuller farm.
Alien 2: [turns to human] Hey, where do you guys grow your Wrenchmullers?

However, my favorite bizarre thing about this movie is the character of Brian, a little kid in a homemade duck costume who really commits to being a waterfowl. He spends the entire movie saying the weirdest stuff and occasionally saving the day with his trusty garbage can frisbee—all while dressed like a Donald Duck's simple cousin. I truly have no idea what they were going for with this character.

spaced invaders duck
I bet this wouldn't have happened if the duck was white

I also don't think I ever really grasped the magnitude of the film's ending when I watched this 30 years ago. In a final act of friendship as they fly back to Mars, the aliens dump their ship's sewage container on the Earth below, which just happens to be the magic manure needed to rescue the town's crops and save it from being bought by developers. Yes, the film ends with the entire town cheering and celebrating because the aliens emptied their Space Port-a-Potty on to the humans' main source of food and income. Now I know why we never got a sequel to this movie.

The dumbest things said by aliens.


Alien hijinks, carnivorous ducks and old men with dynamite.


Of course not, you sicko.

Come in peace? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • An alien tells someone to prepare to die
  • Brian the Duck acts or says something weird
  • Dynamite is suggested as a solution
  • There's an especially bad one-liner

Double shot if:

  • Someone blows up the offramp


Thanks to Steph for suggesting this week's movie!


Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com



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