Monday, July 25, 2011

Alien Predators

Alien Predators is the first in series of reviews that I will call "From the Hobbit Hole."  Click on the link for more (or any) info on that bad idea.  Alien Predators is an...interesting movie, especially after I tried to Google it.  As you might have guessed, given the existence of the Alien Vs. Predator series, this D-grade movie isn't highly ranked on search engines.  However, I was able to discover a few interesting tidbits about this movie.  First and foremost, this movie was released in other countries; how that happened is beyond my comprehension.  The VHS copy I have looks like an English version of the above cover art, but the back cover points out that the VHS costs $79.95, with prices slightly higher in Canada.  Anyone who paid for this movie, whether it be Canadians, the producers, moviegoers, or my friend who probably paid a shiny nickel for it --- they all got ripped off.  The tag phrase for the film is "...There is no place to hide."  Why the ellipses?  Who is hiding?  What are places?  None of these questions will be answered in this movie.

Before I get any further, I should point out that even my VHS tape does not share the same title as the cover art.  This movie is alternately known as Alien Predators, Alien Predator (as my VHS copy proudly boasts), The Falling, and Mutant 2.  Even more confusingly, the promotional art has absolutely nothing in common.
So...Alien Predators take a road trip?  I'm confused.
Never happens in the movie.  Not even close.
Once again, Japan (or possibly China --- who am I kidding?  It's Japan!) has the best cover art.

With cover art that consistent, you can rest assured that this is a film of singular vision.  The premise involves two American guys and a girl road tripping through Spain.  One of the guys (Dennis Christopher) looks like he's trying to imitate Mike Dirnt, the other (Martin Hewitt) looks like a C-level version of the guy in Road House who "used to fuck guys like you in prison," and the girl in the baggy 80s outfits (Lynn-Holly Johnson) was actually a Bond girl earlier in her career.  The two guys are friends, but the girl is apparently hitching a ride with them; they helped pay her way, with the understanding that she would do the cooking and cleaning in their RV.  Well, she's "comically" terrible at those two things, and it's clear that both guys have other ideas for how she can contribute to their trip...wink, wink, nudge, nudge --- in specific orifices.  As they trek through a suspiciously deserted Spanish countryside, they meet zero Spaniards.
Not in this movie.  Sorry.
Instead, they meet some fellow travelers.  And by "travelers," I of course mean "an offensive Indian stereotype couple and the white child that they may have kidnapped."  That's the "A" plot, which has nothing to do with Aliens, Predators, or Alien Predators.  Or Falling.  Or mutants.  Or Mutants 2, even.

The "B" plot involves the failed Skylab space station that crashed to Earth in the late 70s.  Does this mean that the film is based in fact?  Um, I suppose that depends on your definition of "fact."  Skylab crashed in Australia, but the makers of Alien Predators apparently knows something we don't: a large chunk of it landed in Spain --- completely un-charred, mind you --- and apparently spawned an underground NASA labratory (in Spain?) that held super-secret experiments on something that survived from the Skylab crash.  Why Spain?  If NASA has dibs over the Spanish space program on space wreckage, why wouldn't they just gather the crap and take it to the US instead of building a lab on the crash site?  Don't worry, those questions aren't even brought up, much less answered.  Apparently, something went wrong at the Spanish NASA (SNASA?) lab, and this happened:
This is one potential side effect from being infected by the Alien Predator(s).  The other side effect is acting kind of creepy.  Like this lady's hair.
There is also a guy who wore a clown mask.  I didn't know that was a sign of alien infection, but sure, whatever.  Apparently, alien infection can also lead to driving a dirty pickup truck around town and trying to hit people with it.  So...bad hair, masks, and aggressive driving are all signs of alien infection.  Note that, please, and kill anyone showing those symptoms, for humanity's sake.  Naturally, the boring Americans wander into the infected zone, and hijinks ensue.

What an awful movie.  Sure, the cast is pretty terrible, but what do you expect when a second-rung Bond girl is the biggest name in the cast?  Oh, and if you think it might be worthwhile to watch this just to catch a naked Bond girl, don't waste your time.  This is a horror movie without horror or nudity; and it barely qualifies as a "movie."  The direction is just wretched.  Deran Sarafian took a fairly idiotic story and managed to make it almost incomprehensible through his direction.  "What's going on?" is a fair question at any given time in Alien Predators, and at some times it is the only thing you can say.  For instance, when two NASA guys opt to have an important conversation in their space suits, Sarafian opts to zoom in and cut back and forth on the actors' eyes --- although not necessarily on the actor that is supposed to be speaking at the moment.

Without a doubt my favorite "what is going on?" moment came when one of the characters had to drive through town to get something.  The other characters act worried, because there could be one, two, or maybe even three other people in this deserted town that have been infected by the Falling Alien Predator(s) Mutant 2.  But it's okay; this character is "Hollywood's number one driver."  Wait...what?  What?!?  I think this is supposed to imply that he is either a dune buggy racer in California or that he's a stunt driver, but this is the first time it (or California in general) is brought up in the story.  It's certainly not the last time, though; the "Hollywood's number one driver" phrase is mentioned at least three more times in the last fifteen minutes of the movie.

This is probably the best scene in the entire film.  My favorite moments were the two (!) times he lost the car trailing him by making a right turn, although the other characters seeing him give a thumbs up in the dark was pretty sweet, too.  This might be the most entertaining car chase that never gets above 35 mph ever.  And am I the only one who finds it odd that an Alien Predator-possessed person is spending his time, hanging out in a crappy car on the off chance that someone will drive or walk past?  Maybe I'm just thinking too hard.  Do you recognize the car crash sound effect?  I'm pretty sure it was used in every 80s cartoon.  Now, you might assume that I picked this clip to ridicule, but it is absolutely the most action-packed in the movie.

How bad is this movie?  It's pretty godawful.  Do you like horror movies?  Do you like movies with alien creatures?  Well, then this movie doesn't have much to offer you.  There are only two decent special effects, no horror, and we only get one good glimpse of the evil creature --- and it is defeated by using windshield wipers.  If, however, you enjoy movies with Lovecraftian'll still be sorely disappointed in Alien Predators.  I will admit that a lot of its incompetence made for funny moments for me, as a viewer, but this is just a really bad movie.
There were are some solid laughs possible to creative viewers and commentators, but you really have to work for them.  I'll give it a Lefty Gold rating of
As a bonus, here's the movie trailer!

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