When “Hot Ones” host Sean Evans asked about Burton’s filmography, Ortega — easily blinking through the effects of the show’s eponymous chicken wings — expressed her enthusiasm, especially for Burton’s bizarre 1988 haunted house film “Beetlejuice,” but also for “Mars Attacks!,” which was released six years before she was born. Ortega said:  

“I feel like ‘Beetlejuice’ is a staple. I’ve always appreciated ‘Beetlejuice.’ But also, when I was younger, I wanted to be the aliens from ‘Mars Attacks!’ so bad. But not the Lisa Marie one. The one with the exposed brain. It’s got Jack Nicholson! And Glenn Close in there! It’s an incredible movie. I feel people don’t give it the credit it deserves.” 

Evans agrees that it is wildly underrated. In “Mars Attacks!,” Lisa Marie played a Martian in disguise as a human woman, with its outsize brain hidden under an enormous beehive hairdo. She was a parody of humanity. Despite her human face, the Lisa Marie character still looked as strange and as Martian as any of the aliens. That Martin Short’s character cannot sense anything wrong with her is a testament to his character’s horny stupidity. 

“Mars Attacks!” was a disappointment when it was released, earning only $37 million domestically on a sizeable $70 million budget. Even to this day, it has a middling 56% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Likely because of its budget and extensive use of special effects, “Mars Attacks!” falls into a strange crack between “fascinating blockbuster failure” and “quirky outsider production.” It feels like a cult filmmaker like, say, Lloyd Kaufman somehow attained a massive studio budget, but wanted only chaos.