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Film / Spaced Invaders

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"They're not really bad, they're just... stupid."

A 1990 sci-fi/comedy film in which the idiotic crew of a small Martian spaceship overhear a Halloween re-broadcast of Orson Welles' seminal The War of the Worlds radio-play, leading them to "invade" the small town of Big Bean, Illinois. All very cheesy.

Not to be confused with Space Invaders.

Contains examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: After crashing into Wrenchmuller's barn, the Martians' patrol craft seems to develop one problem after another, which Blaznee has to combat during the course of the movie. Its larger problem seems to be its sensitivity to gravity, which would eventually cause the Earth to explode, among other problems.
  • Alien Blood: Subverted. Blaznee is blasted by the enforcer drone, and seen lying in a green puddle. Later it turns out he merely landed on a can of green paint.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The plot being an (attempted) alien invasion deep within the Illinois farmland.
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  • Alien Invasion: A parody of the all-out invasion type. The only Martians participating in the invasion are these five idiots. There actually was a full-on invasion, but the target was another solar system entirely and this ship got lost.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: The whole mess happens because the ship intercepts a radio broadcast of War of the Worlds.
  • Back from the Brink: Wrenchmuller was going to lose his farm come the morning. The results of a single wild night helps him keep it.
  • Bad Ass Normal: Plural for Kathy, Brian (the kid in the duck costume), and Old Man Wrenchmuller.
  • Brick Joke: Wrenchmuller's trap. Blaznee doesn't fall for it, but he tricks Russel into triggering it later.
    • Klembecker asks Vern about his Cadillac toward the beginning of the movie. Later, Wrenchmuller swipes the clearly-labeled keys with a smirk, in a desperate bid to get back to his farm, drives the Cadillac through a cornfield. At the end of the movie, with his truck smashed, Klembecker is forced to drive the trashed Cadillac out to Wrenchmuller's.
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  • Butt-Monkey: Russel Pillsbury, deputy sheriff. In a single night, he has had his patrol car torched, half of his face visibly reddened from the heat of the Martian craft, misses his sought-for opportunity to catch Big Bean's first speeder, fails in his attempt to impress his parents with a video of him in action, and takes a bale of hay straight to the face. By the time the movie is half-over, he is visibly timid, panicky, and a tad agitated, drawing his gun on Brian at one point believing him to be a Martian.
  • Call-Back: Before he is turned into a robot slave by Captain Bipto, Vern makes reference to the "Farm-zoid" while brooding over Klembecker's visit to his gas station.
  • Car Fu: When Blaznee sees the enforcer drone flying at him while he's trying to fix the ship, he panics and pulls a control stick on his console. The ship's engine fires, and the enforcer drone bounces off the dome and lands in a nearby field with a thud and an audible "Ow!"
  • Cassandra Truth: At first, the whole town laughs at Wrenchmuller's assertion that Martians are invading Big Bean. His story, as well as Russel's chiming in about writing one of them a ticket, quickly loses merit when the captured Blaznee comes to and scurries off before anyone can see him.
    • Sheriff Hoxly also runs into this when trying to contact the appropriate authorities. Instead of taking the call seriously, the operator on the other end comments on "... an almost unlimited number of listings for 'psychiatrist'".
  • Catchphrase: Giggywig's "Prepare to die, Earth scum". Mocked by Pez later on.
    Pez: "'Prepare to die, Earth Scum. Prepare to die, Earth Scum!' I hope they write that on your tombstone!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: Wrenchmuller's box of TNT.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Sheriff Hoxly explains to Pillsbury why he moved out to Big Bean.
    Sam Hoxly: This kinda thing doesn't happen in small towns. I moved out here to get away from this.
    Russel Pillsbury: (Beat) This happened a lot in Chicago?
  • Cool Shades: Blaznee rocks them 95% of the time. Dr. Ziplock is just making a spectacle of himself.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Steve W. Klembecker, for trying to throw folks off their farms BEFORE the crops and farm loans are due, including Old Man Wrenchmuller.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The rest of the invasion fleet ends up in the right system, then promptly gets their asses handed to them.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A majority of the cast dip into this. Blaznee takes the cake and even drops a comment or two at the viewer.
  • Distress Call: One from the lead ship of the Martian battle group catches attention from Bipto's patrol ship way back in the Sol System. Played with since the patrol ship doesn't know where it came from and have to start scanning for additional signal. They then pick up War of the World and mistake it for a human Distress Call. The trope is then immediately subverted in that they don't want to send aid; they think that the battle group went to Earth and decide to join their fleet in conquering humanity.
  • Double Take: "Nobody gets away with going three thousand miles-per-hour in a fifty-five mile-an-hou... Damn..."
  • Drives Like Crazy: Blaznee gives us this when he crashes their ship into Wrenchmuller's barn.
    "Kids, 3D and driving just don't mix."
  • Duck!: While riding with Sheriff Hoxly as he is following the mob of townspeople looking for the Martians, Pillsbury utters the word duck. He shouts it out next, prompting Hoxly to crouch against the steering wheel of his truck. Pillsbury is very quick to correct him with "No! DUCK!!" while pointing out the front window. Sheriff Hoxly brakes short of running over Brian, still in his duck costume. Given Pillsbury's lack of cohesion all night, the mistake may be a little understandable.
  • Emergency Cargo Dump: done in the climax with an Excrement Statement.
  • Killer Robot: The Enforcer Drone.
  • Jerkass: Klembecker for drinking, driving, womanizing, handing out cigarettes to kids on Halloween when they wanted candy (last year it was dead rats), stealing Vern's Zorro hat by rolling up the window and trapping it, and not paying for gasoline after intentionally parking on the wrong side of the pump with Vern having to pull the gas nozzle to the other side of the truck!
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: Both the Martians and the humans have issues.
    • Pez doesn't realize that it's a bad idea to fire a weapon called a "heat-seeking Annihilator" inside a small motor vehicle (his only saving grace being he aimed it out an open window). Twice more, the Martians fire weapons stupidly: neither do they understand their weapons nor do they really realize what they're firing at.
    • Meanwhile, when the townspeople of Big Bean posse up, they are constantly firing weapons in the background as they hunt down the Martians. Casualties include a cat and a rabbit, both of which were shot at under the mistaken belief that they were Martians.
  • Land Poor: Woe unto Old Man Wrenchmuller. He gets better, though.
  • Large Ham: Pretty much anyone on the Martians' side of the issue. Lieutenant Giggywig is constantly spouting typical invader lines and, at one point, imitates General Patton. Captain Bipto is just a few shades under him. Blaznee might as well be Jack Nicholson. Doctor Ziplock is a consistent critic on how his fellows handle weapons, and his target is usually Pez. After Bipto takes control of him, Vern's personality takes on a combination of Lieutenant Commander Data and a game show host. And the Enforcer drone seems to channel Darth Vader in both appearance and attitude.
    • Klembecker for the humans. In the beginning, he comes across more like a car salesman. But once he puts on his Hulk Hogan costume, he is loud, obnoxious, and incredibly trigger-happy.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Martian invasion winds up costing Klembecker. His truck is smashed by Vern's Farmzoid and his Cadillac, after being swiped by Wrenchmuller, is messed up after being driven through a field (the results of which can be seen at the end of the movie), and it's indicated that he prizes both vehicles. In addition, he is denied his right to kick Wrenchmuller off his property due to the fertile effects of Martian dookie on Wrenchmuller's crop.
  • Not Quite Dead: Somehow, Captain Bipto manages to survive being hit by Klembecker's truck. The rest of the crew, after regrouping back on their spacecraft, are understandably scared shit-less when he announces himself after casually taking his seat where they can't see him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Humorously enough, the Enforcer drone when he sees his charges pull out the Donut of Destruction. Just seconds after they cart it out, he starts digging himself a hole to hide in.
    • The whole town gets one when Vern's "diversion" shows up.
    • When Ziplock, Pez, and Giggywig are done laughing at their big mistake, they realize that they need to get the hell off Earth fast. So Giggywig activates the Distress-O-Matic. Cue every piece of Martian technology flipping out and trying to get to the device as fast as possible.
      • Including the ship, causing Blaznee to panic.
  • Only Sane Man: Sheriff Hoxly.
    • Notable, though, is the response he has upon discovering Kathy in the Martians' ship. For a moment, his sanity seems to slip as he delivers a question befitting a father catching his teenage daughter fooling around with a boy.
    Sheriff Hoxly: I don't suppose you'd like to explain what you were doing wandering around in an alien spacecraft.
    • Blaznee is this for the Martians. He suspects something is wrong from the very beginning, but nobody listens to him.
  • Pet the Dog: Captain Bipto freeing Verndroid at the end.
  • The Political Officer: The Enforcer droids are supposed to do this, but they really suck at anything other than killing their own underlings and anyone who questions their competence.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Averted by the five Martians; half of the time, they are bumbling around with their own technology and causing chaos. Blaznee seems to be the only one with any idea of how Martian technology works (he spends most of the movie fixing the ship), and he still comes up short when all five of them fail to assemble the D.O.D. the right way.
  • Puny Earthlings: Used ad nauseum by Lieutenant Giggywig.
  • Prepare to Die: Ditto.
  • Robot Buddy: Kathy is very quick to wrest possession of the Help-in-a-Can droid from Brian. It decides to stick around for a while.
  • Schmuck Bait: Averted with Blaznee, who can tell when a candy bar is in the wrong place.
  • Shout-Out: Several to The War of the Worlds, and a particular subtle one to an old video game.
    • Also a shout-out through two of the Martians' names; one of them is a brand of plastic bag, and the other is candy.
    • And to Star Wars: "Never tell me the decimals".
  • This Is Gonna Suck: As mentioned above, Russel is not having a very good evening. After he reads off a list of charges to Blaznee (including calculating just how far above the posted speed limit he was), Blaznee tells him to "step back and get the big picture". Russel then proceeds to step back. Onto the candy bar trap Wrenchmuller had placed earlier. The ensuing remarks before Russel's lights are put out are downright hilarious.
    Russel: I've just made a serious mistake. (listens to the overhead noises) Haven't I?
    Blaznee: Ain't life a bitch?
  • Toilet Humor: To lighten the load as they take off, the Martians empty their septic tank. The contents turn out to be a super fertilizer that cause Wrenchmuller's crops to grow enormously overnight.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Discussed between Doctor Ziplock and Corporal Pez:
    Doctor Ziplock: Perhaps if we ride in this transport, we can find their secret resistance headquarters.
    Corporal Pez: Come on! Let's shoot our way out of this! It'll be fun!
    Doctor Ziplock: Shhh! They don't know we're Martians!
    Corporal Pez: How can they NOT know we're Martians?! We're little green men with antennas!
    Doctor Ziplock: They think we're wearing costumes.
    Corporal Pez: What a bunch of MORONS! Let's flame these bozos! They're too stupid to live!
    • For all the enforcer drones' menacing qualities, they're about as competent as a bag of bricks with the intelligence to match. One drone is defeated when Wrenchmuller poses as the ambassador of Earth and convinces the drone that it has won an award for being generally awesome and he presents it with a lit stick of dynamite.
    Enforcer Drone: I don't know what to say!
    • Once the Enforcer Drones are introduced to handle command of the Martian fleet, they prove as incompetent as their Martian masters and command the entire battle fleet to its doom.
    Martian Soldier: Sir, the Arcturans have destroyed the remainder of the fleet. I sent a distress signal to all ships across the galaxy, BUT we're headed straight into their sun, and our engines are about to explode.
    Enforcer Drone: I have not yet begun to fight.
    Martian Soldier: Now would be a great time to start!
    • Ziplock fires something which resembles a cannon. Three of them scream "Hit the dirt!" Captain Bipto is the only one to respond with a confused "What?"
    Ziplock: The bomb, stupid!
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Except that the locals use shotguns instead.
  • You Have Failed Me: Right off the bat from the Enforcer Drone when it performs a "disciplinary review" upon a Mook who complains about having an Enforcer Drone giving the orders, and plays it straight with the pilot, Blaznee.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The commander of the Martians sends a message through hijacked TV waves:
    "Surrender peacefully, so we can execute you in orderly fashion!"
  • WPUN: The local radio station that broadcasts the War of the Worlds show and causes this whole mess is called WELZ, after Orson Wells.


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