Despite the poor execution, there’s a good deal of inherent charm that still seeps out every now and then: the characterization of the aliens, the small-town vibe, the autumnal setting. The Halloween zeitgeist is showcased a bit early on with Kathy going trick-or-treating (to one house) with her friends, a costume party, various adults dressing up in costumes, and even the aliens themselves donning different outfits.
Both intentionally and unintentionally dumb, the film has just as much trouble getting off the ground as the aliens’ ship does, even if there are some valuable, albeit empty, quirks sprinkled in here and there, such as a local gas attendant, Vern (Wayne Alexander), who’s dressed up as Zorro and gets put under the control of the aliens. Alexander’s skills as a ranged comedic character actor are one of the few bright spots here.
Another is the memorable makeup and costume design of the aliens themselves, which very much fits into the look of similar films from that era, drawing comparisons to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and even Howard the Duck, garnering the enigma of the latter.
Alas, the idea of Spaced Invaders is far more fun than the movie itself. And it’s more frustrating that a movie with this much potential is this boring. Completely undeveloped characters and a convoluted script prevent any such imagination to flourish in the minds of the adults watching this hoping for at least something edgy. At least kids will be sure to enjoy it, providing years of vivid memories in a way that Killer Klowns from Outer Space will do for them in their teenage years.
Perhaps with the same spirit for both nostalgia and quality effects, this film could be remade nowadays in a way that would correct the wrongs of the original. Neither taking any risks nor playing it safe, Spaced Invaders just seems to float there with utterly incompetent storytelling covering up a fun idea that just never gets realized.