Strange Invaders (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Apr 19, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Strange Invaders (Blu-ray Review)


Michael Laughlin

Release Date(s)

1983 (April 5, 2024)


Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment/Orion Pictures (Imprint/Via Vision)
  • Film/Program Grade: C+
  • Video Grade: B+
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: C+

Strange Invaders (Blu-ray)

Buy it Here!


Strange Invaders came along in 1983, and much like Invaders from Mars (released three years later), it was a tribute to the sci-fi films of the 1950s, with plenty of nods to classics like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Day the Earth Stood Still. However, it was released to less than stellar reviews and a poor box office take, but managed to garner a small cult audience who appreciate it today mainly for its technical merits, of which there are plenty.

Unfortunately, what holds Strange Invaders back as a compelling film is its script and performances. Most of the time the actors feel lost without much to go on. A basic story about a race of invading alien beings taking over human bodies as hosts has the potential to be effective, but everything is played very stiffly. It seems to want to spend more of its running time paying homage than actually having a voice of its own. It’s basically a Youtube or a TikTok parody of sorts, long before either entity existed.

The film’s greatest attribute is its visual prowess. It’s downright beautiful, with lush colors and soft filtered images, giving it a fantastic aesthetic. Look no further than seeing the mothership appearing from behind the clouds above the country skyline. Creature effects and other special effects are also impressive, and among the artists who put them together are none other than Robert and Dennis Skotak, who went on to work on many of James Cameron’s films, including Aliens and Titanic. In other words, the film has a pedigree when it comes to how it looks.

Yet, the most unfortunate truth about Strange Invaders, at least in this reviewer’s option, is that it’s mostly forgettable. It’s not that everything about it is poor, but it doesn’t make much of an overall impact. It’s only a 93-minute film, but it leaves much to be desired, particularly in its pacing, which is no more than a crawl. Long-time fans will know that it was set to be the second part of a trilogy, with the former being the film Strange Behavior, but once Strange Invaders failed to capture everyone’s attention, those plans were scrapped.

Strange Invaders was shot by director of photography Louis Horvath on 35mm film using Panavision Panaflex Gold cameras and Panavision C and E series lenses, finished photochemically, and presented in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Imprint Films brings the film to Blu-ray once again after Twilight Time’s 2015 Blu-ray release, which has been out of print for some time, and MGM’s recent bare bones Blu-ray release. It’s the same scan, but with what appears to be a fresh encode, with a bitrate that hovers close to around 30Mbps. The soft-filtered look makes sharpness nigh impossible, but it’s remarkably improved from the lower resolution presentations of old. Color reproduction is gorgeous with vivid colors and fairly deep blacks with nice shadow detail. It’s also stable and clean outside of some minor speckling. It’s a nice presentation, but a UHD upgrade would do wonders for a film of this scope.

Audio is included in English 2.0 mono LPCM (the previous Twilight Time release was a DTS-HD Master Audio track) with optional subtitles in English SDH. The various elements are given plenty of support, including dialogue, score, and sound effects. It’s a dual mono track, so there isn’t much in the way of spatial activity.

Strange Invaders on Region-Free Blu-ray sits in a clear Amaray case that features a still from the film on the inner sleeve and the original UK theatrical poster artwork on the front. Everything sits in a slipcase featuring the original US theatrical poster artwork. The following extras are included in HD:

  • Audio Commentary with Michael Laughlin and Bill Condon
  • Isolated Score Audio Track in 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Strange Films: The Unfinished Trilogy (24:51)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:26)

One of the best things about this release is that the bonus content from the Twilight Time release has carried over, which is good since it’s been out of print for such a long time. First is the 2001 DVD audio commentary with director Michael Laughlin and co-writer Bill Condon, which isn’t a very good one, but it’s good to have them both on record. Next is the film’s isolated score, presented as a stereo DTS-HD Master Audio track, which is great to have retained. New to this release is Strange Films: The Unfinished Trilogy, a video essay by film historian Jarret Gahan about the film’s many influences. Last is the US theatrical trailer. Not carried over are Julie Kirgo’s liner notes from the Twilight Time Blu-ray release, anbd the UK theatrical trailer, which is the same as the US outside of the closing titles.

By and large, Strange Invaders didn’t light the world on fire when it was released. It might have fared a bit better if it had spent more time developing stronger characters and picking up the pace, possibly gaining a more widespread audience. Regardless, Imprint Films giving it a more substantial set of bonus materials than MGM’s stateside offering should give die-hard fans who missed out on the Twilight Time Blu-ray a chance to enjoy it that much more.

- Tim Salmons

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