March 28, 2010
Strange Invaders-- Cover Art: Classic, Characterless, or Criminal?
Following up on my review of Strange Invaders (1983), let's compare its original North American VHS box art to its modern DVD art and see if either is worthy of the title classic, characterless, or criminal.
Featuring a tag line that sounds like the sarcastic exclamation of a exasperated husband ("Your sisters said they'd leave after dinner. SURPRISE! They're still here!"), the box art for Strange Invaders is otherwise fairly boring. I dig the long shadows being cast by the text, but the rest of the elements don't seem to mesh. Worst of all is the cheesy alien materializing out of the clouds, which clashes with the squiggly "Strange" text in terms of style and tone. By no means a crime against VHS box art, it's a fairly forgettable piece of art. At least it offers some air of mystery unlike it's modern DVD cover art.
Strange Invaders has had at least three different VHS box covers that I know of, including a fairly rare one featuring an alien head shot (currently available on eBay in the UK)
Modern VHS / DVD COVER
While the original box art offered some air of mystery, when MGM released Strange Invaders on VHS in 2000 and on DVD in 2005 they went with the philosophy of "You want aliens? Here's yer friggin aliens!" While this image certainly reflects the film's campy tone better than the VHS box art, it suffers from a bad case of collage-itis. It also puts too much emphasis on the alien faces which, let's face, look like brown prunes. Flying orbs and lazer fingers attempt to add a sense of excitement, but there's only so much outer-glow you can add to the composition before it starts to look cheesy and outstay its welcome.
While I prefer the original VHS box art, I like it only marginally better. In a somewhat fitting way, both these examples of cover art are as forgettable as the actual movie. A rare example of truth in advertising from the VHS art world.