I couldn't remember much of the details of 1983's Strange Invaders before I sat down to watch it again for the first time in twenty-seven years, but I could remember one specific, horrifying scene. Michael Lerner, as Willie Collins, is sharing his story of loss in flashback to the two main characters, played by Paul LeMat and Nancy Allen.

In the flashback, he hears some commotion in his son's bedroom, races upstairs, and is confronted with the sight of a bug-eyed alien standing over his son's bed with an outstretched hand. The boy's feet and legs dehydrate and shrivel from the alien's power, and he screams out in pain. Soon his whole body implodes, shrinking like a raisin, through his screams, as Collins looks on, horrified. Quickly, the boy's body becomes a glowing orb of light. Collins attacks the alien with a large plant, beating the creature to death. His son, in his new ethereal form, floats above the bed, calling out for Daddy.

It's still a shockingly graphic scene in what's otherwise a pretty tame homage to 1950's alien invasion flicks. For a short time in my youth, Strange Invaders was a cable mainstay, and I must've seen it a dozen times back then, but it's that one scene -- that minute or so of pure horror -- that has stayed with me all these years. The effects (by James Cummins) still hold up well, but I think a big part of the reason why it stuck with me was that the kid was my age, and I'd never seen someone just like me die in such a bizarre, horrible way. Thanks a lot, Michael Laughlin (director) and Bill Condon (writer), for traumatizing my little brain.
categories Sci-Fi