Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mill Creek's Sci-Fi Invasion - Box Set Review

Mill Creek is kind of like the slumlord of DVD boxsets.  Anyone with a shady past and a few measly dollars to his name can be put up for a night as long as they don't cause any waves and the cops don't come around asking questions.  Mill Creek somehow asks people to cough up $30 for this boxset, but you can find it for way cheaper online.  In fact, since I know no one reads this blog, I'm going to offer up my boxset for FREE if you comment on my blogs.

If my memory serves me right, I first became aware of this set via an online review of it.  Although I can't seem to find the review right now, I read a breakdown of the set, and the authors thoughts about the movies therein.  I love to read introspective and personal reviews, even when it has little to do with the movie, so naturally this was right up my alley.  If you're super interested, read this review I just found, where two people discuss every single film in the set.

As I've mentioned before, some of the movies included on this set, I'd seen and reviewed before I owned them on the Sci Fi Invasion set.  The Alien Factor, Brain Twisters, Death Machines, The Day Time Ended, It's Alive, Horror High, and War of the Robots are all films that I'm pretty sure I saw outside of the boxset, because they interested me in one form or another.

I'm not going to go in depth about all these.  Well, okay, actually, I am.  I keep on waffling about this review.  I was just going to give each movie a final star rating.  So what I think I'll do is 4-5 word synopsis, 1-2 sentence final thoughts.  Kinda like I did with the other boxsets I've reviewed on the site so far.  I'm debating links.  Links take so fucking long!  Alright, I might even bequeath you with links.  And now, with the help of Close to the Edge by prog rock band Yes, I present:

(in alphabetical order)
984: Prisoner of the Future: Dystopian prison society drama.  This was a TV pilot, not picked up obviously.  It was alright, I gave it one star, and it possibly deserved more.  I'll give it 3 now.
Abraxas: Terminator-Lite with Jesse Ventura.  Stupid kids version of Terminator, only enjoyable if you're high.  2.5 stars? The fuck was I thinking?  I give it a retrospective 1.
The Alien Factor: Bizarre alien attacks people.  Don Dohler is one of my fave new directors, and this one is pretty good.  It's not as fun as some of his others, so only 3 stars. Seen before the boxset.
Alien Prey: Alien posing a human lives with two women.  Progressive, interesting, if perhaps ill executed little flick.  Had that surreal feeling to it, and deserved watching.  3.5 stars.
Assassin: Terminator-Lite made for TV version.  Talky drama where the machine is more discussed as a threat than seen as a threat.  Still, it wasn't badly made, so 3 stars.
The Bat: Murder whodunnit with Vincent Price.  It reminded me a bit of the old radio drama The Shadow, I now realize.  Still, not that good, very talky, and felt not quite fleshed out.  2 stars.
Battle Beyond the Sun: Russian space adventure.  Hm, better poster than a movie right here.  Long space flight scenes, short vagina monster scenes in the end.  Pretty forgettable, 1.5 stars in retrospect.
Beyond the Moon: Rocky Jones fights evil aliens.  These serials really got to me after a little bit.  They were so lifeless, barely had effects, and the acting was dull.  1 star in retrospect.
Brain Twisters: Are computer experiments to blame for recent killings?  Yes.  Before the Sci Fi Invasion set, this was on Gorehouse Greats.  It was fun but dumb.  2 stars.
The Brother From Another Planet: Alien that looks like a black man lands in NY.  A comedy, a satire, and one of the newest films on the set.  Interesting, but overly long I'd say.  3.5 stars.
The Crater Lake Monster: Loch Ness style monster in a lake.  Another comedy, and a so-bad-it's-great classic I'd argue.  This one was actually a highlight, and a good one to show people.  4 stars
The Creeping Terror: A bizarre rug monster alien attacks people.  A MST3K classic, a great little piece of trash which is deserving of a view by anyone who likes bad movies.  5 stars.
The Day Time Ended: Aliens do battle in a desert on Earth.  This movie kicked ass.  I have actually watched it since with people.  Love the surreal and bizarre qualities.  5 stars.
Death Machines: Karate robots are sent to kill people.  Long, dull, and chock full of badly done fight scenes, this movie made me want to kill myself.  I gave it zero stars. Seen before the set.
Escape from Galaxy 3: Two aliens land on Earth, bringing conflict with them.  Kiddy, lighthearted, and silly, but still somewhat entertaining maybe.  If you're stoned.  2.5 stars.
Evil Brain from Outer Space: Starman fights alien invaders.  The end of the Starman series of films, easily the most enjoyable serial film I've ever seen. I gave it 3.5?  Wow.  Maybe only 3 I think.
Extraterrestrial Visitors: One evil alien in the woods, one good alien in a house!  Another MST classic, without the commentary it's still a fun kids movie I'd watch again.  4 stars.
Eyes Behind the Stars: Mystery flick with an alien twist.  I watched it twice, sober the second time.  It's a well done mystery, but overly long at times and has some plot holes.  4 stars.
Fugitive Alien: Incomprehensible serial installment.  I've literally seen this movie about 4 times, and I could not tell you what it's got happening in it.  It looks kinda cool though.  Half a star.
Future Hunters: Indiana Jones-esque action flick.  A pretty decent action movie involving the spear that killed Christ and the people who want to capture it.  With Robert Patrick!  3 stars. 
Future Women: A spy infiltrates a woman-run society/cult.  Pretty tame in the end, this was a slow action/suspense film which was really neither.  What the hell was this movie?  2.5 star?  Maybe 1.
Galaxina: "comedy" set in space with robots and shit.  Another movie with no real genre.  I guess adventure comedy, not funny, without much adventure.  Not even rated R.  1 star.
The Giant of Metropolis: Muscle man fights Atlantis.  Maybe I was super hard on it, but I really wasn't in the mood.  It also brought nothing new to the table.  1.5 stars.
The Gypsy Moon:  Rocky Jones fights evil aliens.  Another bland Rocky serial, who knows and who cares what the plot was.  These were insufferable.  1 star in retrospect.
Hands of Steel: Cyborg warrior defends a woman in a desert town. Another one that I thought I should rewatch and never did, but at least it seems I understood this one.  Fun sci fi.  3.5 stars.
The Head: A scientist plays with a disembodied head and other experiments.  I loved the atmosphere in this.  This film had great acting, great pacing, and was just plain fantastic.  I gave it 5 stars.
Horror High: Scientific experiment turns a student into a beast.  Ahead of it's time horror movie with slasher-type pacing and feeling.  Also a horror comedy, one of the first I'd say.  4.5 stars.
Hundra: Conan the Barbarian with women!  Hundra was quickly thrown together after Conan was a hit, and it's Conan with women.  it's pretty good actually, a fun action movie to put on. 3 stars.
Hyper Sapien: People From Another Star: Friendly aliens land on Earth and make friends.  A kids alien movie with a fucking muppet creature and no inherent reason to watch it.  1.5 stars.
Invaders from Space: An earlier installment of the same Starman series as Evil Brain from Outer Space.  Not as entertaining, it's less linear and harder to watch than Brain. 3 stars, downgraded to 2.
It's Alive: A greasy dude has a trapped dinosaur.  I seriously thought about rewatching It's Alive.  I probably will still.  It's Z grade, in entertainment value and production.  So I give it....2 stars maybe?
Life Returns: Experiments bring a dog back to life.  A weird backstory and a weird film in general.  In retrospect, this was barely even a film.  It has a strong weirdness factor, didn't translate to screen as well as it could've.  But it is possibly one of the more interesting things on here.  1.5 upgraded to 3.
The Manster: A man's injected with a serum that makes him grow a new head.  Very well known cult film, 50's horror chock full of awesome.  Very classically entertaining with fun effects.  4 stars.
Mission Stardust: Aliens with a hidden agenda come to Earth.  This movie was perhaps better than I gave it credit for.  I was in the "slump" this boxset caused me to have. Very slow though. 2 stars.
Morons from Outer Space: Human looking aliens come to Earth and are celebrities.  A "comedy" that wasn't funny, and was pretty dull.  No real laughs, but a good idea I suppose. Half a star. I was harsh.
Night Fright: Alien kills people.  This movie would've been way better if it had been filmed in any way that was even slightly competent.  Bad lighting, bad setting, bad pacing, the whole deal. 2 stars.
Night of the Blood Beast: An astronaut brings an alien presence with him back to Earth.  Although it's pretty average mostly, I'd say the pacing is a bit slower and it's not as fun as it could've been.  3 stars.
Primal Impulse: A woman has no memory of the last few days and starts to gather clues.  A genuinely creepy mystery that moves at a great pace and keeps you wondering.  Well done, 4 star film.
ROTOR: Android gets loose and kills anyone on a list.  Sorta like a hybrid Terminator and Robocop, but far less exciting than either of those.  Featuring an android with a mullet.  3 stars.
The Raiders of Atlantis: Atlantis is raised from the ocean, people investigate.  An interesting mix of Mad Max and action adventure.  Well paced, decent effects, and a cool villain.  4 stars.
Robo Vampire: Hopping vampires versus a trashcan robot.  Insanely weird, very Asian kung fu sci fi hybrid that is equal parts nutty as it is fucking kickass.  Essential for cult enthusiasts.  5 stars.
Rocket Attack USA: Russians are going to maybe launch an attack against US.  A special agent investigates, in what is mostly dull dialogue scenes.  Does feature millions of deaths though. 2 stars.
Silver Needle in the Sky: Rocky Jones fights alien baddies.  Despite being high and drunk, I couldn't enjoy Rocky Jones, cause it's fucking boring and makes no point.  3 stars?  Fuck that, how about 1.
Slipstream: A robot escapes the evil government with the help of a drifter. The late Bill Paxton and Mark Hamill lead a great cast, in a surreal adventure film, but it's still not that great.  Maybe a 3 though instead of my original 2.  Just wasted potential.
Star Knight: Mystery film about an astronaut in medieval days.  Weird and surreal, but thoroughly enjoyable film with Klaus Kinski.  It was weird but good, and really memorable. 2.5 stars....no, 3.5
Star Pilot: A spaceship is found on Earth by explorers. Some of these movies just struck me as odd and hard to follow.  This was definitely one of them.  Confusing, albeit interesting flick. 1.5 stars.
Top Line: UFO found in the Amazon, and cyborgs somehow....  Yeah this one was also confusing.  It's an enjoyable sci fi flick, but you might get as confused as I did, and it's forgettable. 2.5 stars.
Trapped by Television: A new invention gets exploited by those who know of it's existence.  Perhaps the least "sci fi" on the boxset, this one was very old and not enough material to be a movie. 1.5 stars.
War of the Robots: Italian Star Wars rip off.  Very strange, very hard to follow, though admittedly awesome at times Star Wars influenced space adventure film.  Fun, but hard to watch.  3 stars.
Welcome to Blood City: Westworld-esque sciency mystery film.  Another weird one.  Surreal, super bizarre, and had great actors.  Has it's flaws, naturally.  3.5 stars.

So good god, it's over.  Wow.  There are so many reflections I could have on it now, seeing all those synopses.  I have to say though, 22 of the films got below 3 stars, which means the majority of these I gave at least 3 stars.  So, 28 at least somewhat decent movies.  Also, on reflections I ended up liking films more than I originally had.  Such as Life Returns, I doubled the original score.  

I think one of the major things that contributed to a lot of these getting bad marks was inconsistency.  They'd have moments, times when they were awesome.  They'd have things happen, or have effects, or actors, that I loved.  But then they'd kill any momentum they had with lots of bad, long, poorly written scenes, or endless dialogue, or by just being confusing.  I remember really wanting to like some of these only to later be sitting there wondering, "Why am I fucking watching this?"

Some of these should be seen again, most definitely.  Some of them I was not in the mood for, and that alone can set you off on a bad path.  I might have explained in my review of Footprints on the Moon, that I was really tuned into that movie, and I was 100% invested.  Some of these films might have been requiring more attention then I wanted to give them.  I'm also not ruling out the idea that these could have been edited away from what they originally were.  No information is given about most of them.  A lot of them were dubbed, and I truly wonder how accurate the dialogue is- if there is anything cut, etc.

As a whole, I'd give the box set perhaps 3.5 stars.  As a whole, as a beast.  I think most of the films are enjoyable.  Even if they are public domain, they are still hard to find, and some of the ones on here are downright impossible to find anywhere but on these type of boxsets.  I doubt I'll be buying another one any time soon, though I have been eyeing B-Movie Blast for a while. Also, there's a Warriors one and a Kung Fu one of course....  What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment.  Punishment and tacos.

3 comments:

  1. Congrats on finishing - complete with reviews and links! Some of those movies are hard to endure, but some are the best, big Don Dohler fan here! Peace!

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  2. Hey thanks man! My first actual reader here. Don Dohler is awesome, I've seen almost all of his movies.

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  3. Ha! I'm working through this set (and a few others) on my own blog right now (https://d-contextualized.blogspot.com/). The movies can be brutally bad. Kudos to you for powering through them.

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