Martian Heat Ray & Disintegrator Beam


Hi everyone,

I need your thoughtful input on something that has been bothering me for a very long time. Your serious imput would be greatly appreciated.

Remember the classic 1953 film, "The War Of The Worlds"? The Martian War Machines came to earth well prepared for battle. As a defense, they had an electro-magnetic shield-an invisible dome that would envelope the ships and essentially protect them from every single attack directed at them.

They had three very powerful weapons. Their primary weapon was the infamous "Heat Ray" projector which was mounted at the end of their "cobra necks" on top of their machines. (This particular weapon taken from an idea from the original book.) The heat ray was a powerful and versatile weapon that allowed the Martians to project an intense laser -type ray of incredible power and heat that would destroy objects nearly instantly..

The Martians also had two wingtip mounted "Disintegrator Beams" These emitted green bursts of energy that would instantly cause the target to simply vanish in a flash of green light. In the movie, these were called "skeleton beams" because of their effect on humans when hit by them. A person hit would glow green and their skeleton would be briefly made visible as the victim vanished into nothingness.

The Disintegrators woked (like most disintegrators) by severing the magnetic bonds (mesons) that hold all matter together. Once these lines of magnetic energy are cut, the item hit will simply cease to exist. Indeed, an extremely effective and powerful weapon... which brings me to my question.

WHY would the Martians even NEED a Heat Ray when the Skeleton Beams are a far more powerful and effective weapon? My point being that the heat rays are rather primitive when compared to the destructive power of the disintegrator beams that destroy things at a clean molecular level.

Can you think of any reason why the War Machines might need to have this "Heat Ray" in spite of having a "Skeleton Beam"?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Happy Thoughts,
Paul Pacific


Creative Writer
erm, one for animal targets, one for hard targets like buildings and vehicles? Maybe one worked in a vacuum and the other in an atmosphere? Energy requirements?

I've not read the book so don't know what the author envisioned in his time, and then the film makers decided to use for SFX purposes.


Thanks Tim,

I posted this question on another forum and got a great many responses. In the movie, both weapons were used to hit all targets but somebody noticed that the Disintegrators were used on tanks and smaller items, while the Heat Ray was used on larger items and often used in a sweeping motion as well.

I DO know that the Heat Ray had a longer range than the Disintegrators and the Heat Ray can target items in any direction whereas the Disintegrators could only shoot straight ahead.

On a related note, The Martian War Machines never moved when their sheilds were deployed. Perhaps this is another energy issue where all the energy required to move the ship is re-directed to the magnetic shields while they are in defense mode.

Watch this clip. At the five minute mark, you can see both weapons being used. Watch the tank that's hit by the pulses from the Disintegrator!



Code Monkey
Staff member
Can you think of any reason why the War Machines might need to have this "Heat Ray" in spite of having a "Skeleton Beam"?
Perhaps different weapons for different intended results. EG: A heat wave weapon against tanks & the such so that the aliens could reuse the destroyed materials, an alien recycling program if you will, while the disintegrators would be used against objects that they did not care about. Depending upon what their battle environment was the aliens could then cherry pick their level of destruction based upon their intentions while at other times if their only goal was conquest then they would use either weapon type indiscriminately.

Starbeast from Planet X

Benevolent Galaxy Being
Can you think of any reason why the War Machines might need to have this "Heat Ray" in spite of having a "Skeleton Beam"?

My answer is simular to Kevin's. The Heat Ray would be used primarily for massive destruction or singled out objects. The Skeleton Beam
would be used for biological targets, or by increasing the power it could also be used for massive destruction.

Bunnies star in "The War Of The Worlds"

I like the Bunny short films.

Check out the War of the Worlds related tunes in the "Cool Tracks" section, go to the thread called "Starbeast Techno Trance" and then go to the 6th post. You will find two tunes there.
My thoughts are the aliens have different weapons for different targets because of biological molecular structure. Its different from eliminating a fighter jet completely, whereas, a soldier being eliminated completely, calls for a different weapon.:D
hi _ Martian.

[my thought to your question, re: the "heat" weapon ...]

: i think that maybe the term "heat" is used "Jargonistically".. if u will _
and maybe may have not been intended "to have been understood" so literally..... like in SF, Science runs "parallel" sometimes _! i think that in this case: "heat" is LESS 'true' .... but still makes a "story" continue. _ its just: "continuance" ... if u will _

_ that's how i see it ..


Yet another question has been bothering me... Any ideas about this?

If the aliens have no mouth, and one assumes no vocal chords, then how did it produce the unearthly scream it emitted when Dr. Forrester nailed it with the axe in the farm house?


Ha, ha. I thought Martian was just being facetious, but now I realize that this is
a serious business. And it could happen.
I should say also that different weapons can be use for different reasons or purpose. It depends on the situation to use the specific type of weapon. I recognized that everytime I will watch movie just like Star Wars. The characters there used different weapons to protect theirselves.