Mind Blowing Movies: Invaders from Mars (1953), by Douglas Rushkoff

Mm200This week, Boing Boing is presenting a series of essays about movies that have had a profound effect on our invited essayists. See all the essays in the Mind Blowing Movies series here. — Mark

Mind Blowing Movies: Invaders from Mars (1953), by Douglas Rushkoff

[Video Link] The first film that blew my mind was Invaders from Mars — the 1953
version. I was 6 when I saw it, in a motel in Phoenix (my first motel
stay) with my family on the way to the Grand Canyon. There was a metal
box on the nightstand, and if you put a quarter in, the bed would
vibrate for ten minutes.

And on that vibrating bed, with my brother and father, I watched this
movie about a kid whose dad changes into this other guy who looks the
same but is actually a bad man. And no one believes the kid. And I
totally knew what the kid felt like. And he does everything right —
even going to police when the stakes get high enough, but by then the
chief of police has been turned into one of these alien people, too.

It ended with the kid seeing the head alien octopus creature in a
glass bubble, but even though that was supposed to be scary I saw it
as vindication. There really was an alien invasion, and it was
captured on film. (My sense of reality watching TV hadn't been fully
formed, yet.)

And from then on, whenever my dad was mean I'd check the back of his
neck to see if he had been changed.