The Alien Encounters (1979)

THE ALIEN ENCOUNTERS (1979)
Article 2248 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-12-2007
Posting Date: 10-8-2007
Directed by James T. Flocker
Featuring Augie Tribach, Matthew Boston, Phil Catalli

An unemployed astronomer loses his job when a radio telescope is destroyed while he is hearing messages from outer space. He then tracks down a scientist who is building a machine to extend life, only to discover the scientist is dead. He visits with the scientist’s wife and son, and discovers about the scientist’s own encounter with UFOs.

This amounts to an extremely low budget variation on CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. With its indifferent acting, constant narration, static presentation, and IMDB rating of 1.9, you won’t be expecting much. Nevertheless, I found it not without interest value. The narration isn’t quite as annoying as it could have been, and after a while you’re a little grateful for it; whenever he switches to dialogue, writer James T. Flocker displays a tin ear. Also, given the budget, the special effects aren’t half bad, the story has some nice touches, and I like the locations. The biggest problem is that the director just doesn’t know when enough is enough; though it is rather interesting to have the scientist’s son being shadowed by a friendly floating sphere, the movie indulges in endless footage of him walking through the desert with the sphere, for example. The overly laid-back pace is also an impediment; if you don’t get into the groove with this pace, the movie will be a total bore. My best advice for those wishing to tackle this one is to keep the expectations low, and to sympathize with the low budget; it makes you appreciate some of its better points.

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)
Article 3207 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-30-2010
Posting Date: 5-26-2010
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Featuring Richard Dreyfuss, Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr
Country: USA
What it is: Alien contact story

When a lineman encounters a UFO, he becomes obsessed with a shape that will lead him to the meaning of his experience.

This beloved UFO movie appears on a lot of people’s best ten lists for science fiction movies. There’s no doubt that in many ways it is a brilliant movie. Spielberg has a truly profound understanding of film language, and the way he has of telling a story and imparting information is wondrous. He also has the ability to come up with some truly impressive crowd scenes. The sense of mystery is strong here, and we feel for the various characters as they try to deal with their lives after their encounters. In many ways, this is a stunning movie.

Yet I resist the movie a little; for some reason, I’m a little disappointed with the ending. This may seem like a ridiculous statement; the ending is a masterpiece of special effects technology at the very least. But for me, the ending lacks a certain emotional resonance that I was hoping for. After doing a lot of thinking about it, I decided the problem is that the ending is a little too heavy on the “awe” end of the scale; in my mind, an encounter with aliens from outer space would have a more complex set of reactions than this. The rest of the movie has touches of fear and paranoia that seem to vanish at the end, and I don’t think they should vanish. Which is not to say that the movie should have a darker ending; I’m just saying that the existence and acknowledgment of that darkness would go a ways toward making the end of the movie a more complete experience.

Nevertheless, I must admit that I found this less of a problem this time than with my previous two viewings of the movie. Spielberg’s vision is breathtaking, and there are new things to be observed on each re-viewing. Whatever its flaws, the movie is a rich experience.

Very Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind (1978)

VERY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FOURTH KIND (1978)
aka Incontri molto ravvicinati del quarto tipo
Article 2680 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-30-2008
Posting Date: 12-24-2008
Directed by Mario Gariazzo
Featuring Maria Baxa, Monica Zanchi, Mario Maranzana
Country: Italy

Three students try to seduce their physics teacher by pretending to be aliens. They manage to have close encounters.

Ah, just what the world needs; a softcore Italian sex comedy inspired by Spielberg’s UFO movie. I’m tempted to say the only reason Spielberg isn’t rolling over in his grave is that he isn’t dead yet, but, in truth, I think this movie is too inconsequential for such a comment, and besides, as far as these things go, this one really isn’t too bad; in short, I’ve seen worse. Still, in terms of its fantastic content, this one is for completists only, and since it establishes early on that the space aliens are really college students, there’s really no reason to bother. Chalk this one up as another one out of the way.

 

Aliens from Spaceship Earth (1977)

ALIENS FROM SPACESHIP EARTH (1977)
Article #1493 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-16-2005
Posting Date: 9-13-2005
Directed by Don Como
Featuring Lynda Day George, Donovan, Leigh Taylor-Young

A documentary about spirituality, Eastern religions and higher consciousness.

I got this title from John Stanley’s “Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again” book. He describes the movie as being about alien visitations and features recreations of close encounters. Though the book definitely has its uses, the fact of the matter is that he didn’t see every movie listed, and every once in a while this shows in his plot descriptions. Furthermore, IMDB gives a plot outline that claims that the movie “tries to prove that all great men of the past were actually aliens”. If there are two movies of this title, than IMDB has them merged into one; the director and cast listed do match that of the movie I’ve seen (as far as they go, anyway; the cast listed are just playing themselves in the movie).

At any rate, my copy of the movie ALIENS FROM SPACESHIP EARTH has no speculation about visitations from outer space nor great men in history really being aliens. It’s a documentary about spirituality, higher planes of consciousness, and the place of Eastern religions in the Western world. Those expecting anything else will be extremely disappointed. For those interested in the subject it does discuss, it has its uses; if you’re searching for spiritual guidance and would like to explore the options offered by Eastern faiths, this movie could serve as an introductory guide to some of the options. Though it’s main area of speculation (that man is on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough in this time of crisis) doesn’t seem to have panned out (to these eyes, anyway), I found it nonetheless to be quite interesting. Whether it properly falls into the genre areas of this survey, however, is another question, though the mystic and the fantastic do intertwine. However, don’t expect anything about alien visitiations.

The Alien Oro (1980)

THE ALIEN ORO (1980)
(a.k.a. THE STARLOST: THE ALIEN ORO)
Article #1051 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-30-2004
Posting Date: 6-28-2004
Directed by Francis Chapman
Featuring Keir Dullea, Gay Rowan, Robin Ward

Three residents of a huge space ark encounter a visiting alien whose intentions for the ark are questionable.

“The Starlost” was a 1973 Canadian TV series created by Harlan Ellison. It had an intriguing premise; in order to save the human race, a huge space ark has been constructed to seed the stars with humanity, with the inhabitants broken out into several different communities who were not only unaware of each other’s existence, but also unaware that they were on a spaceship. Three people from one of the communities discover the truth of the situation, and discover that the spaceship is doomed to collide with a star unless they somehow learn to gain control of the ship and save it. Though I can’t recall the title at this time, I distinctly remember reading a Robert Heinlein novel or novella with a similar concept; nevertheless, I have to admit that it does sound like a promising concept for a TV series.

Unfortunately, Harlan Ellison became disenchanted with the direction the series was taking and left. The show limped along for sixteen episodes and vanished. With only sixteen episodes, it would have been very difficult to sell this one into syndication. Therefore, the decision was made to edit some episodes together and release them as TV movies. This isn’t the only time this sort of thing has happened; one can also find similar TV movies culled from episodes of “Planet of the Apes”, “Space 1999”, and “Kolchak: the Night Stalker”, among others. It looks like I’m fated to track down and watch several of these over the coming years.

Now, one thing I can point out about the other three series I’ve mentioned above; they’re all known well enough by fans and have their admirers and defenders. I myself saw episodes from all those three series at one time or another. However, “The Starlost” remained obscure.

Let’s take a look at he box in which this tape arrived. It shows a drawing of a handsome man and a sexy woman holding guns against a background of a futuristic city. Feel free to enjoy the picture; you won’t see anything like it in the movie. Now let’s look on the back of the box. The first comment of note states that fans of “Doctor Who” and “Star Trek” will love this movie. They also name drop Keir Dullea, the star of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and Douglas Trumbull, who contributed to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER (Incidentally, if any of these facts are incorrect, blame the back of the box). However, there are two ominous little pieces of information to be gleaned here. One is that a certain Walter Koening is in the cast, and indeed, the actor who played Chekov on “Star Trek” does play the title role in this movie. And for anyone out there wondering how I could have misspelled his name above, I am perfectly aware that it is “Koenig”, not “Koening”, but that’s the way it was spelled on the box. However, I don’t even blame the box for that; that’s the way it is spelled in the credits of the movie. The other ominous piece of information is that the creation of the series is credited to one “Cordwainer Bird”, and I’m sure anyone familiar with the work of Harlan Ellison will recognize the nom de plume he uses for works he feels have been badly compromised.

Now, we must proceed to the movie itself. “Doctor Who” fans will find sets here that are cheaper than anything they’ve seen on that show, and that’s saying a lot. What they won’t find is the excellent acting and scripting that are the hallmark of that show. “Star Trek” fans will get to see Chekov. Douglas Trumbull fans will get to see what he can do for special effects if you give him ten dollars. In short, what you have here is a static, talky series, shot on videotape with all the directorial skill of a soap opera and an anonymous and characterless musical soundtrack that not only fails to add tension and excitement to the events, but also sucks out any potential energy these scenes could have had. When the characters aren’t insufferably bland, they’re embarassing. And never once do you ever feel that the characters are aboard a huge spaceship, or that there’s anything beyond the sets you see than the rest of the soundstage.

I now know why I’ve never heard of fans clamoring for their local station to pick up “The Starlost” for syndication. I also don’t know why this review is so long.

If this one comes along, watch an episode of “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger” instead; you’ll be glad you did.

A Movies

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A (1965)

A-Haunting We Will Go (1942)

A Haunting We Will Go (1949)

A la conquete de l’air (1901)

A propos de Nice (1930)

A-008 Operation Exterminate (1965)

A*P*E (1976)

Aaya Toofan (1964)

Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (1953)

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)

L‘Abeille et la rose (1908)

Abby (1974)

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

The Abominable Snowman (1957)

Abou Ben Boogie (1944)

Abra Kadabra (1957)

Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe (1990)

The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)

The Abyss (1989)

Acceptable Risks (1986)

Ace Drummond (1936)

Achooo Mr. Kerrooschev (1960)

Action Antics (1926)

Adam and Eve (1956)

Adamo ed Eva (1949)

Adam’s Rib (1923)

The Adding Machine (1969)

Addition and Subtraction (1900)

Adebar (1957)

The Adventure (1972)

Adventure in Kigan Castle (1968)

Adventures in Music: Melody (1953)

The Adventures of * (1957)

The Adventure of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

The Adventures of Captain Africa: Mighty Jungle Avenger (1955)

Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle: Cannibal Land (1928)

The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle: The Lion’s Den (1928)

The Adventures of Hal 5 (1958)

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944)

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

The Adventures of Rex and Rinty (1935)

The Adventures of Robert Macaire (1925)

The Adventures of Sam Space (1955)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Adventures of Sinbad (1962)

Adventures of Sir Galahad (1949)

The Adventures of Tarzan (1921)

The Adventures of the American Rabbit (1986)

The Adventures of Ultraman (1980)

Adventures of William Tell (1898)

Aelita, Queen of Mars (1924)

The Aerial Submarine (1910)

The Aerodrome (1983)

L’affaire des poisons (1955)

Affairs of Cappy Ricks (1937)

Africa Screams (1949)

After Darkness (1985)

After Midnight (1989)

After Six Days (1920)

Aftermath (1982)

Agency (1980)

L’agent a le bras long (1909)

Agent for H.A.R.M. (1966)

Agente X 1-7 Operacion Oceano (1965)

Agon the Atomic Dragon (1968)

Aimez-vous les femmes (1964)

Air Hawks (1935)

The Airship Destroyer (1909)

Alabama’s Ghost (1973)

Aladin ou la lampe merveilleuse (1906)

Aladdin and His Lamp (1952)

Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (1970)

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1917)

Aladdin’s Lamp (1947)

Alakazam the Great (1960)

Albino (1976)

The Alchemist (1983)

Alcofribas, the Master Magician (1903)

Alerte au sud (1953)

Alex in Wonderland (1970)

Alfalfa’s Aunt (1939)

Alf’s Button Afloat (1938)

Alf’s Carpet (1929)

Algol (1920)

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

Ali Baba and the Seven Sarecens (1964)

Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs (1902)

Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)

Alias John Preston (1956)

Alias Nick Beal (1949)

Alice in Wonderland (1903)

Alice in Wonderland (1915)

Alice in Wonderland (1933)

Alice in Wonderland (1949)

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Alice of Wonderland in Paris (1966)

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

Alice Through the Looking Glass (1966)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1910)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972)

Alice’s Spooky Adventure (1924)

Alice’s Wonderland (1923)

Alien Attack (1976)

Alien (1979)

Alien Contamination (1980)

The Alien Dead (1980)

The Alien Encounters (1979)

Alien From L.A. (1988)

Alien Lover (1975)

Alien Massacre (1965)

Alien Nation (1988)

The Alien Oro (1980)

Alien Predator (1987)

Alien Seed (1989)

Alien Species (1996)

Alien Terror (1971)

Alien 2 (1980)

Alien Warrior (1985)

Alien Zone (1978)

Aliens (1986)

The Aliens Are Coming (1980)

Aliens from Another Planet (1982)

Aliens from Spaceship Earth (1977)

Alison’s Birthday (1979)

All Gummed Up (1947)

All of Me (1984)

All the Colors of the Dark (1972)

Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)

Allegretto (1936)

Allegro Non Troppo (1977)

Alligator (1980)

The Alligator Man (1959)

All’s Fair at the Fair (1938)

Les allumettes fantaisistes (1912)

Alone in the Dark (1982)

Alone With the Devil (1914)

Along the Moonbeam Trail (1920)

The Alpha Incident (1978)

Alphaville (1965)

Alraune (1928)

Alraune (1930)

Als het verstand zegeviert (1918)

Altered States (1980)

Alucarda (1978)

The Amateur William Tell (1909)

The Amazing Captain Nemo (1978)

The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)

The Amazing Mr. Blunden (1972)

The Amazing Mr. X (1948)

The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

The Amazing Transplant (1970)

The Amazing World of Psychic Phenomena (1976)

Amazing World of Ghosts (1978)

Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)

Amazons (1984)

Amazons (1986)

The Ambushers (1967)

America 3000 (1986)

An American Christmas Carol (1979)

American Gothic (1987)

American Nightmare (1983)

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Americathon (1979)

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Amityville 3-D (1983)

Amityville 2: The Possession (1982)

Among the Living (1941)

El amor brujo (1967)

The Amphibian Man (1962)

Amphitryon (1935)

Amuck! (1972)

The Anatomist (1961)

Anatomy of a Psycho (1961)

...And Millions Will Die! (1973)

And Now the Screaming Starts (1973)

And Soon the Darkness (1970)

And the Villain Still Pursued Her, or The Author’s Dream (1906)

And Then There Were None (1945)

Andalusian Superstition (1912)

Der Andere (1913)

Android (1982)

The Andromeda Breakthrough (1962)

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

An Angel Comes to Brooklyn (1945)

An Angel for Satan (1966)

The Angel Levine (1970)

Angel of H.E.A.T. (1983)

Angel on My Shoulder (1980)

Angel on the Amazon (1948)

Angel on Wheels (1959)

Angel Puss (1944)

The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp (1954)

Angels in the Outfield (1951)

The Angels Wash Their Faces (1939)

The Angry Red Planet (1960)

Anima Persa (1977)

Animal Farm (1954)

An Animated Luncheon (1900)

The Animated Poster (1903)

Anju to Zushio-Maru (1961)

Anna & Bella (1984)

Les annees lumiere (1981)

The Anniversary (1968)

Another Job for the Undertaker (1901)

Anthropophagous 2 (1981)

Anti-Cats (1950)

The Antichrist (1974)

Antique Antics (1933)

Aoom (1970)

Apache Drums (1951)

The Ape (1940)

The Ape Creature (1968)

The Ape Man (1943)

The Ape Woman (1963)

The Apparition (1903)

Appetit d’oiseau (1964)

The Apple (1980)

Apple Andy (1946)

The Aquarians (1970)

Arabian Adventure (1979)

Arabian Nights (1941)

L’araignee d’or (1908)

Aranas infernales (1968)

Archandel Gabriel a pani husa (1965)

The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire (1981)

Arnold (1973)

Arnulf Rainer (1960)

Around is Around (1953)

Around the World Under the Sea (1966)

The Arousers (1973)

Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1939)

Arrriva Dorellik (1967)

Arsenal (1929)

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Arthur the King (1985)

Artistic Rag-Pickers (1908)

Artists and Models (1955)

The Artist’s Dilemma (1901)

An Artist’s Dream (1900)

Arzt ohne Gewissen (1959)

El asesino invisible (1965)

Asesinos de otros mundos (1973)

The Asphyx (1973)

L‘aspirateur (1908)

Assassin (1986)

Assault and Flattery (1956)

The Assignation (1953)

Assignment Outer Space (1960)

The Astral Factor (1978)

The Astro-Zombies (1968)

Los astronautas (1964)

The Astronomer’s Dream (1898)

Asylum (1972)

Asylum of Satan (1972)

At the Circus (1944)

At the Earth’s Core (1976)

At the Edge of the World (1927)

At the Hypnotist’s (1897)

L’Atlantide (1920)

Atlantis (1913)

Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961)

Atlas (1961)

Atlas Against the Czar (1964)

Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops (1961)

Atom Age Vampire (1960)

Atom Man Vs. Superman (1950)

The Atomic Brain (1964)

The Atomic Kid (1954)

The Atomic Man (1956)

Atomic Rocketship (1936)

Atomic Rulers (1964)

The Atomic Submarine (1959)

The Atoms (1947)

Ator, the Fighting Eagle (1982)

Atragon (1963)

Attack from Space (1964)

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958)

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)

Attack of the Mayan Mummy (1964)

Attack of the Monsters (1969)

Attack of the Robots (1966)

The Attack of the Super Monsters (1982)

Attack of the Swamp Creatures (1975)

Au pays de l’or (1908)

Au secours! (1924)

L’auberge rouge (1923)

L’auberge rouge (1951)

Audrey Rose (1977)

Aunt Sallie’s Wonderful Bustle (1901)

The Automatic Motorist (1911)

The Automobile Chase (1905)

Autopsia de un fantasma (1968)

Autopsy (1975)

The Avenger (1960)

The Avenging Hand (1936)

Aventura al centro de la Tierra (1965)

Una aventura en la noche (1948)

The Awakening (1980)

The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962)

Axe (1977)

The Aztec Mummy (1957)

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Ground Zero (1973)

GROUND ZERO (1973)
aka The Golden Gate is Ground Zero
Article 3010 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-4-2009
Posting Date: 11-10-2009
Directed by James T. Flocker
Featuring Ron Casteel, Melvin Belli, Augie Tribach
Country: USA

A criminal plans to force the release of two of his cronies who are in prison by hiding an a-bomb in the Golden Gate bridge and threatening to blow it up unless the prisoners are released.

The director’s name was familiar enough that it had me taking a quick trip to IMDB to look up his filmography. Sure enough, I’d encountered him before; he was responsible for THE ALIEN ENCOUNTERS, a movie that managed to charm me a little despite its obvious weaknesses. This one is really not much better; the dialogue is atrocious, the acting matches the dialogue and the action sequences are some of the slowest ever committed to celluloid. Also, despite the fact the story lends itself to an edge-of-the-seat ticking-clock suspense feel, I never felt much tension during the run of the movie. Still, there’s a few touches I like; the story and the characters are on the offbeat side, some of the camerawork is rather interesting, and the score is actually pretty damn good for a movie this cheap. In fact, the movie managed to hold my interest during a long driving sequence merely because of the catchy music. The atomic bomb provides the science fiction content here, which in and of itself is pretty marginal, but the ending nudges it a bit closer. I don’t know what it is about Flocker, but I find his bad movies to be rather watchable in an Edward D. Wood Jr. kind of way.

The Abyss (1989)

The Abyss (1989)
Article 5996 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 8-11-2021
Directed by James Cameron
Featuring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn
Country: USA
What it is: Underwater thriller

Military forces take over an underwater oil rig to find out the cause of a submarine accident in the vicinity. However, when an intelligent non-terrestrial alien species shows up, it’s up the workers in the oil rig to keep the military from destroying the aliens.

I’m not a big fan of the big budget popcorn movie, but if I had to pick some of my favorites, a few James Cameron movies would make the cut. He knew how to develop his characters to the point where you liked and cared about them, and he was extremely good at creating coherent action sequences. This was one of his more ambitious efforts; it feels something like an underwater cross between CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and ALIEN, and E.T. – it borrows a bit from each of those movies, and even has a sequence that recalls 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. I don’t quite like it as much as a couple of his earlier films, but it is a worthy effort. It’s a little bit slow out of the gate (the plot doesn’t really get cracking until the aliens show up), and it occasionally falls into a few cliches of the era, but I find these flaws forgiveable.

The Visitor (1979)

THE VISITOR (1979)
aka Stridulum
Article 4738 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-17-2015
Directed by Giulio Paradisi
Featuring Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen
Country: USA / Italy
What it is: Contortionistic tale of good vs. evil

An eight year old girl embodies an evil alien force, and evil men want her mother (who carries the genetic code) to become pregnant and give birth to a brother for the child. However, a cosmic savior from another world seeks to prevent the evil from taking hold on the Earth.

If you can somehow imagine an amalgamation of THE OMEN, THE BIRDS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND filtered through a fever dream that encompasses such elements as an exploding basketball, a creepy mechanical talking bird, a strangely choreographed fight scene in a skating rink, and lots of broken glass (especially during a house of mirrors sequence), you might have a chance of preparing yourself for this outlandish American/Italian co-production. The fact that it’s peopled with quite a few name stars (on top of those listed above, we also have John Huston, Shelley Winters and Sam Peckinpah) just makes it weirder. Still, I don’t find it quite as incoherent as some people claim; if you’re playing close attention, you have something of an idea of what’s going on. It is stylishly directed, and some of the scenes look wonderful. On the down side, some of the scenes look pretty cheesy, and given the choice, I would redo the musical score, which is sometimes way too bombastic for its own good. I don’t know how I feel about the movie yet; I’m not quite sure that I can call it a good movie, though it is a fascinating one to watch. I do, however, think that it deserves better than it’s current 4.6 rating on IMDB, and there’s enough here to make me think that it is worth a second viewing.

The Deadly Spawn (1983)

THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983)
Article 4421 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-13-2014
Directed by Douglas McKeown
Featuring Charles George Hildebrandt, Tom DeFranco, Richard Lee Porter
Country: USA
What it is: Monster movie

A meteorite brings an alien being to Earth. It promptly begins eating everyone in sight and spawning little aliens who are also hungry.

I went into this one expecting a tiresome and cheap imitation of ALIEN. I’m glad to say that it isn’t quite that. Oh, it’s cheap, all right; just take a look at that cheesy matte painting of the house near the beginning. But I found something rather disarming in the simplicity of the concept; it wasn’t trying to make itself more complicated than it was. I found myself also smiling at the character of the young boy who is the hero of the story; he’s obviously a monster kid of the first order, and the movie is filled with references to a whole slew of classic monster movies. But I think the moment that really won me over was when the kid first encounters the monsters; I was wondering why the monsters weren’t attacking him, and then he snaps his finger, and you know. Sure, it’s heavy on the gore and gross-out, but the movie’s affection for being what it is (which is to say, a plain, old-fashioned, somewhat comic monster movie) saw me through. I also suspect that the scene where the little monsters attack a woman’s luncheon will also stick with me. The final twist even makes me forgive the cheesy matte painting. It’s no classic, but it is entertaining. My only question is – who is Gary, and what is it that he’s not supposed to do?