Friday, March 13, 2015

The Alien Factor - 1978

Aaaaand thus we come to my first and hopefully last film I will review that has been skewered by MST3K.  Actually, it was skewered by post-Mystery Science troupe Cinematic Titanic, and I truly did not know that until I was a few minutes in.  By the time I remembered seeing it on Cinematic Titanic I had pretty much decided to just go ahead and finish it, and now we're here.  It's not that I don't want to review films that have been riffed on, it's mostly just that these films clearly speak for themselves.  Sure, MST and other riffing groups do a variety of films, but you can pretty much guess that if it's being riffed on by one of these groups, it's beyond cheesy and bad.

Being featured on Cinematic Titanic (which was Joel, Frank, Trace, Mary Jo, and J. Elvis) was definitely the right thing for this 70's schlockfest.  This movie is tremendously bad.  It tries too, it's not one of those that's trying to go for the comedy-crossover type thing.  It actually wanted to be smart, to be sciency, and to make an "impact" or a "statement".  Rule number one, don't hire people to act that clearly have no idea what they're doing, stumble through their lines, and sound completely unrealistic.  The actors in this thing are beyond bad.

Thus we enter into that area of "so bad it's good".  This movie is that, spot on.  Like any great 70's trash-o-rama it even has a recent sequel!  When I tried to find the sequel online, all I found was the trailer, which I can seriously say looks worse than the first movie.  It is barely a trailer at all, and more like a short film unto itself, and is pure comic gold.  Here, check it out.

I watched this film because it was directed by Dan Dohler, the guy behind The Galaxy Invader, and after giving that 4 stars and thoroughly enjoying it, I decided to check out and track down other Dan Dohler movies.  This movie does play out similarly to Galaxy Invader actually.  They have almost parallel plots, to a point.

In Alien Factor, a spaceship crashes on Earth, and something starts to kill people.  Turns out the spaceship was carrying a weird, projected-image alien that looks like a large kids show character:

The humans start to hunt down this thing, it's sheriff Cinder and mayor Wicker, and a guy named Benjamin Zachary who comes to town, and they're all after it (although they don't know what it is yet, they haven't seen it at this point).  In the end, it turns out the ship that crashed was a sort of a transport, that was carrying multiple aliens.  This green guy was one of them on board, and there might be another one skulking around somewhere....

By the way, the scenes where humans interact with this thing are fucking hilarious.  It's extremely poorly done, and the humans sometimes go through the thing, sometimes act like they can't, "bumping" up against it.  It's unclear if this thing is actually able to be passed-through...like is it see-through because it's like a ghost where you can't touch it, or it it just see-through?  It's hilarious and easily the best moment in the film.

Apparently this movie was also sequel-ed by another Dohler film, Nightbeast!  Sweet, now I must see that one too.  Although I will finish Grindhouse Sci-Fi Collection set first, I promise.

This movie was entertaining as hell, much like Galaxy Invader.  Also filmed in Maryland, the outdoors locations are pretty and work, the monster is laughable and goofy, and the ending was cool.  The pacing in this is a lot slower, though, and the film is more dialogue heavy.  Also, we don't see the monster as much so it makes for less entertainment in general.  I saw this a couple days ago, and I honestly don't remember much of the first 40 minutes.  I'm pretty sure nothing happened.  So, it's not AS fun.
I'll give it a star less than Galaxy Invader, 3 stars.

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