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Friday, January 17, 2014

Progeny (1998) Horror Pregnancy Alien

Progeny (1998) - I watched the extra features of this film before viewing the movie itself. So I knew going in that this was probably not going to be my kind of movie. Included in those features was two different interviews of people recounting their alien abduction stories. First Pamela Stonebrooke and American actress, jazz singer and radio talk show host. A woman who was featured in a show called "The World's Strangest UFO Stories" on the Discovery Channel where she claimed to have a three year on going sexual relationship with a 6 foot reptilian alien. She also has an Album called "Intergalacticdiva". The second by a school teacher in LA who did not identify herself but talks about her abduction through the prism of being a regression therapy client of the last interview on the disc Barbara Lamb. She is a long time ET believer and experience recorder who uses the dis-proven regression therapy as a means to get the stories from supposed abductees. Now the first two women I could argue are actresses brought in on the DVD project for supplemental features to sell this film. Lamb though is a true believer and so when I saw her piece it made me wonder about how sincere the film was going to be. Since we all know there are no aliens visiting earth and no humans being taken and experimented on I felt uneasy that the film might take the subject seriously.
 Director Brian Yuzna he with Producers Jack Murphy and Henry Seggerman even talk about abduction stories as "true". I think the characters throughout the movie could be viewed as a bit off. The film starts with a voice over and an alien abduction taking the form as lost time. A couple is making love and when the light changes and the couple seem frozen, then the light changes color and they start moving again but its two hours later. This incident which bothers our lead character Dr. Craig Burton (Arnold Vosloo) so much that he goes to a therapist to talk about it. The Therapist (Lindsay Crouse) even though gives the film bonus points since she played Professor Maggie Walsh on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Although probably the worst season of that show.)
 Luckily I think there was a nice balance in the film between treating regression therapy and alien abduction as real things and the recognition that the people taking part in these things are just a wee bit crazy. Even though the makers of the film,
  Craig bothered by dreams about the events of that night starts getting hypnosis and remembers his abduction. It works and before you know it he is torn with the idea that is just too unbelievable. His therapist is clear she thinks he is stressed but won't make the leap that he was really taken by aliens. So as more and more memories come back and as he researches alien abduction he is pulled more and more in to believing that is what happened to he and his wife.
  Sherry  (Jillian McWhirter) is pregnant and really not into her husbands new interest in thinking he was taken by aliens. Because of his low sperm count he also starts wondering if he is the father of her child. Could it be the aliens. In the Trivia quiz on the DVD one of the answers was that most people start remembering more about their abduction by talking to others with the same claims. So when Craig start talking to Sherry about his ideas it plants the seeds of her own false memories.  When Sherry has her own scary dream she really freaks out. This is the part of the film I don't really like. It is taken straight up seriously but even still Director Brian Yuzna leaves it open enough so viewers could believe that they are feeding off each other.
  Still in the end the the film does a good job at creating the feeling that the two people may not really have been taken by aliens at all and the problems they are having are psychological. Only after that do they ruin it for the rational viewer with a ridiculous question mark ending that left me frustrated. Overall though this is a quality film, a bit slow to start but building to what seem a real break for the couple. The consequences of their diluted fears are real and the script by Stuart Gordon and Aubrey Solomon is tight enough to make this film quite viewable.
 Wilford Brimley as Sherry Burton's gynecologist, William E. Pugh as the hospital administrator, David Wells as the insensitive and annoying E.R. chief  and Brad Dourif as a UFO expert are all wonderful competent character actors fill out the cast.
  So another pregnancy movie this one with the chance to see a half alien baby in a nightmare delivery seen. Written after The Fly (1986) it steals a bit from that now famous seen and adds some special effects to raise the ante. So even though this is not really my favorite kind of film I am reluctantly recommending it.

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