Alien Predators (1985) - (based on original screenplay "Massacre at R.V. Park" as Noah Blogh ) Well its been awhile, with work being so crazily busy that looking at a computer screen any other time is just too much of a hassle. So a long break it has been and while I hate that I am not keeping a decent schedule it just has to be that way. Today though is a new day, my birthday (53) and I am spending the morning watching Alien Predators (1985) on VHS. The film was made in 1985 but was not released in the United States until 1987. It starts by letting the audience know that the reason for Skylab was so the US government could do experiments that were illegal on earth. Then explains it fell back into the atmosphere in 1979 in Duarte Spain. Now anyone as old as I am knows that Skylab fell to the ground in pieces over western Australia but of course we can let this fact go for the sake of storytelling. After the establishing shot of US officials in airtight suits looking over the remains of the lab the story shifts to a bull wandering around but progressively seen as more bloody and sick until it finally collapses. When the dogs come to feast on the carcass on is pulled inside the bull with growls that are not of this world. So now we know something has killed the bull from the inside and survived the crashing of Skylab.
Needing to establish the main players the first three being some American students on Holiday in Spain, Damon (Dennis Christopher), Michael (Martin Hewitt) and Samantha (Lynn-Holly Johnson). Riding in an RV and pulling their sweet dune buggy these are just young people out to travel and have a good time. When Michael almost hits the bull in the road he gets out to investigate finding guts and goop everywhere. The goofy writing in establishing these character suggests comedy. They pull into an RV park for the night and in the morning Michael's blood covered shirt is disposed of outside in a barrel, The "RV park" consists of two trailers on a Spanish hillside. The neighbors a horrible characterization of an Indian family leaves this more modern version of a man cringing at the stereotype. Our group literally bumps into Dr. W. Tracer, (Luis Prendes) NASA who may be responsible for the creature now free in the countryside. He and Capt. J.J.Wells (J.O. Bosso) go to examine the body of another investigator who has a quite disgusting alien growth on the side of his neck. Apparently NASA has a free run on this town because they have a base in an old stone fort with multiple levels below the ground. It's a giant facility and the implications that the Spanish government allows this is just a bit of a stretch. Apollo 14 apparently found dormant microbes on the moon and wakened them on Skylab and lost control. Thinking they would burn up on reentry they did not and now earth is threatened with a contagion that could end humanity. Of course instead of sending everyone to the area to try to contain the issue only a couple guys are sent to try to keep it secret.
Things start going crazy as the town folk are infected with the alien virus and start acting aggressively towards the tourists. At first the trio is played for comedy and you think that they are just unwanted Americans but when Tracer kidnaps Samantha in the dune buggy and makes her drive him to a working phone we learn the seriousness of the situation and the comedy is less frequent. The CB radio in the dune buggy lets the guys know that Samantha is in trouble and they get on the road to try to and eventually find Tracer and Sam. Tracer shows them that the last road out of the town is being blocked and that they are trapped in the town with the alien parasite. It works where the alien uses the DNA of the host human to grow causing psychosis and then death. Tracer is going to work on the antidote for the plague but the four must survive until they have it. The continued jousting between the boys for the affections of Sam is a real strange thing to have continue while in crisis mode. In fact all the character non nonchalance of the young people takes away from the seriousness of the situation. Like when Michael goes for the canister from Skylab that tracer left in the lab. He drive through the streets singing. It is just weird and really pulls the watcher from the story itself.
Written and Directed by Deran Sarafian appears to have built a career as primarily a television director, after some earlier film credits like Death Warrant (1990) and Terminal Velocity (1994) does a good job on the plot side making the threat real and the alien encounters scary. As noted above the interpersonal dialog does not fit as well taking a more playful approach in the dead serious plotting. I would have liked more of the strange psychotic behavior of the inhabitants of the village to build and threaten before going full steam into the finding of a cure. Noticing Michael's multiple exposures to the alien goop it leaves me thinking either that this will need to be a race time to save him or that he is the immune key to a cure.
He successfully retrieves the canister in a heart pounding race against time as the station self destructs and he escapes in the nick of time. Then with upbeat 80's music Michael races another car, aggressive townspeople through the streets needing to lose the other car before returning to the RV. Again it is a duel the film takes way too lightly making it cartoon-ish even though we have a decent survival story going on. Then ending with Samantha kissing him even though he has been contaminated repeatedly. So how are the towns people all infected but the new comers are not even though exposed over and over again to the alien stuff?
After each gets a shot of the antidote they realize that Tracer has sacrificed himself so the three of them can get the antibodies they want to save him but the man meets a horrible end in the streets of the building. The three flee as jets (F-14s) fly overhead a sign that the village will be destroyed. Again seems like the US is really running the show here. They race out through the barricade on the bridge being chased by crazies in a truck. Naturally they make it out in the nick of time. Their hope is to make it to Madrid but we see Damon Driving and close with blood dripping from his nose, a sign he is infected.
Filmed entirely in Spain so we can guess that maybe they really used Duarte Spain as the location. Looking around on google maps I did not see anything I could recognize from the film. Overall I think this film is a mixed bag where there is some good stuff with infection could have made it like The Crazies (1973) dark and dangerous. Certainly the best parts of this film is when it is firmly on this ground. Then there is mixed in the lighthearted competition for the affections of Samantha and the even stranger musical chooses when the young people are doing this or that. It pulls the user right out of the film every time this stuff was interjected. It is like Night of the Comet (1984) without the satire. Still I have to say this piece of VHS madness was sort of fun so if pushed I would recommend it as a piece of mid-eighties sci-fi/horror film making.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter
is dedicated to following and being followed by
people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them
follow me back. (Not really expecting that though) It really is an experiment and where I love the
community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people
involved in it. I am now following over 210 people while the
followers is only 34 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow
just anyone back. :)