Spaced Invaders came in a year that threatened to hold a minor spate of Martian invader movies, although most of the projects, including the long-promised one based on the Mars Attacks bubblegum cards that would eventually end up as the Tim Burton Mars Attacks! (1996), fell by the wayside, with the exception of this and a dismal adaptation of Frederic Browns Martians Go Home (1990) that hardly anybody saw. What is interesting about these films is that they were made in full awareness of their impossibility ie. that there is no prospect of any intelligent life on Mars meaning that the only possible tone for them to take was as parodies of former Martian invader cliches, something that says much about the currently eviscerated state of the science-fiction film.
Spaced Invaders, which was bankrolled by Disney, is a sad failure. It did no box-office and nobody liked it. It has some good model effects and some highly convincing heads for the Martians but the technical quality on show only tends to highlight the sheer waste that the rest of the film is. It would be more consolable if Spaced Invaders were simply a bad film made cheaply, but that it is a bad film made expensively makes it seem even more of a waste. The cleverness of the face-masks for the Martians is entirely undercut by the pratfalling inanity of the characters. The film operates on a level of lowbrow humour it thinks creatures in strange masks spouting colloquialisms is humour a scene with the Martians around a campfire singing Oh give me a home where the asteroids roam and one of them tapping his red boots and chanting I want to go home is dire. Worse the film repeats the slapstick caricaturisation of little people as being unable to do anything except trip up or, when in a group, hit each other all the time. There is nothing more to Spaced Invaders than a series of slapstick routines. There is however an intelligent performance from Ariana Richards who would go onto Jurassic Park (1993) fame a couple of years later.
Patrick Read Johnson went onto direct several other films including Babys Day Out (1994), Angus (1995), the childrens ghost story tv movie When Good Ghouls Go Bad (2001) and 77 (2007) about Star Wars fandom, which is based on Johnsons own childhood. Johnson has also written DragonHeart (1996).
Full film available online here:-