A meteorite crashes to earth and a machine looms from the rubble, shooting lasers and killing everyone in it’s tracks. More ships appear all over the planet and now it seems that the war for planet earth has begun!
War of the Worlds was filmed in 1953 and directed by Byron Haskin and stars Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. An adaptation of the H.G. Wells book, War of The Worlds follows Dr. Clayton Forrester as he tries to find a weakness to the Martian invaders. It is a famous film and probably one of the greatest works of sci-fi horror from the 1950s. Setting a standard in alien invasion films.
I love alien invasion films and of all the silver age science fiction horror; non-other has had such an impact as War Of The Worlds. Even though by today’s standards the film does seem a little out-dated, I still love watching it. This was one of those films I remember watching when I was a kid with my dad. I’d be camped out on the floor with my blankets and pillows. Watching intently as the spaceship comes out of the ground. Then hearing that awesome sound of the Martian death ray shooting at everyone. It was a spectacular sight and weirdly enough I was routing for the Martians the entire time. Nothing could fight these things off. The military fails and even a pastor tries to have peace with them. But they fry his balls proving that they have no desire for peace. The Martians are here to destroy everyone!
Inevitably the martians are defeated, but by the most unlikely thing. It wasn’t a bomb nor a peaceful demonstration that melted the Martians cold hearts. They die from a common earth bacteria that the Martians bodies couldn’t defend against. That blew my mind as a kid! THEY DIED FROM THE FLU!! I get the flu every year. I puke my guts out for a day and then go back to work! You mean to tell me that an intelligent species from another planet that has flying death machines that can’t be destroyed are taken out by the common flu? You would think these creatures wouldn’t have overlooked something so simple.
But in all seriousness it is a great way to end a film. The idea that a virus, the one thing that has been mankind’s biggest merchant of death is the one thing that saves us. Now that’s a paradox. The Black Death, Spanish Fly, Small Pox, Yellow Fever, Cholera, Scarlet Fever, Typhoid Mary, Polio… Scariest stuff on the planet. Yet something like that saves mankind. It puts out existence into a more minuscule perspective. Through all our technological advancements, all it took was a simple germ.
I will say the Martians are a tad bit ridiculous. From what I know, the original depiction of the aliens are meant to be bear size creatures with drooling beaks and lots of tentacles for legs. This 1953 version makes them look like the classic 80’s game Simon covered in Silly Putty!
I don’t know if this was as scary back in the 50’s but I remember seeing it as a kid and laughing. However all that aside, the movie is a great picture that captivates the essence of alien invasion horror. The movie is both ground breaking for it’s time and it will forever be a crown jewel in the history of horror.