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The 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies

45. Invaders From Mars (1953)

Director: William Cameron Menzies
Stars: Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Jimmy Hunt, Leif Erickson

There's no denying that the effects and costumes in Invaders From Mars haven't aged well at all. Revisited today, the movie's accessories look cheaper than K-Mart Halloween get-ups, but that's what makes the underlying creepiness in director William Cameron Menzie's camp classic so damn effective. Able to maintain a thick feeling of dread in light of its many dated flaws, Invaders From Mars is an exercise in mood over visuals.

At the beginning of the film, a little boy wakes up in the middle of the night to watch a spaceship land in his backyard. Since he's still a little pipsqueak, none of the adults believe him, though every grown-up who scopes out the supposed landing sight returns curiously different in demeanor.

Invaders From Mars taps into the fears of being a kid whose voice is unheard and whose boogeymen are laughed off. So what if little man's monsters wear green pajamas so crappy-looking that viewers can see the zippers on the backs? It's still scary, damn it!

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