Synopsis of Strange Invaders
In 1958, a spaceship controlled by an alien race lands in Centreville. The aliens kill the inhabitants of the city and manage to slip into their body. 25 years later, the New York university professor Charles is asked by his ex-wife Margaret to watch over their daughter Elizabeth for a few days so that she can go to her mother's funeral in Centreville. When Margaret still hasn't shown up after a few days, Charles decides to go to Centreville himself to look for her. The town and its inhabitants still seem to have stopped at the end of the 60's and are very suspicious of Charles. When Charles is doing research, he is attacked by the aliens but he barely manages to escape. Back in New York, he discovers a newspaper article by Betty Walker with a picture of the aliens printed next to it. Betty admits to having made up the article based on a picture she received of a man who happened to be stranded with his family in Centreville. Charles and Betty continue to investigate, but the aliens already follow them.
After Strange Behavior, Strange Invaders was supposed to be the middle part of a Strange trilogy, directed by Michael Laughlin. But after the bad box-office results of Strange Invaders, the two movies were the only ones to be made. The film is basically an homage to the 50's sci-fi alien invasion movies, especially to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which an alien force also takes control over human bodies. The visitors from outer space don't show much adventure spirit, because after landing they apparently have nothing else to do than to follow a regular daily routine. Only the arrival of Charles apparently brings some momentum into the so far so regulated alien life in exile. Especially the effects are worth seeing, because the aliens can shoot light flashes out of their eyes with which they mainly detonate cars. Humans are packed into light-orbs and if the human disguise scratches, one may admire how the disguise is pulled from the alien head in slimy fashion. But what use are the best effects if the action is slow to progress. Plot twists like Margaret being an alien herself or government involvement in the events of Centreville make you frown.
The German theatrical poster was certainly inspired by some other examples.
Published uncut in Germany, but something is missing in the US
While the film was released in Germany as Das Geheimnis von Centreville (The Secret of Centreville) with a poster motif that suggests more of a voyeuristic alien thriller, the film was released on VHS under the original title. Unfortunately a lot of picture information gets lost by zooming to fullscreen, but the VHS releases are uncut despite some slimy effects. However, it looks a little bit different with the US DVD. When the alien ship appears at the beginning, 11 seconds are missing here, which were still contained in the German VHS release. Apparently, the movie was reworked a little bit, because there are some more minor differences. For better chronological sorting, the US DVD shows a rather irrelevant text at the beginning. While the German VHS contained "The Present" after the jump into modern times, the DVD contains the more appropriate note "25 years later". Another difference can be found during the opening credits where Walter Davis appears as author.
German VHS: 89:06 min.
The German VHS by Cannon was compared to the US DVD by MGM.
The US DVD starts with the text "A Michael Laughlin Production".
US: 6 sec.
The German version lacks the text for the chronological classification. The location of the action is therefore shown a little later.
No time difference.
In the German version, the spaceship can be seen much earlier.
GER: 11 sec.
In the VHS, the German film title is shown.
The US shows the original title.
GER: 13 sec.
US: 14 sec.
It seems that the "Screenplay by" and "Story by" credits have been recreated for the DVD.
GER: 4 sec.
US: 8 sec.
Other text display as the university can be seen.
No time difference.