Alien Predators (1987)

4 Beers

Ridiculous.  Funny.  And now on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory! 

Cheap and cheesy, Alien Predators, originally released on VHS as The Falling, was one of my many go-to flicks at the video store back in the day.  Oh, to be held in the arms of the lovely Lynn-Holly Johnson (For Your Eyes Only, Ice Castles)!  But enough of that. The thrills!  The chills!  The alien-infected cows!  Huh?  Alien Predators, because it never took itself seriously, was a playful movie often misunderstood.  Maybe, just maybe, it was ahead of its time. 

Alien Predators is not nearly as awful as its overall rating would have you believe. 

This science fiction tale of bravery begins with two dogs ripping apart a cow that has wandered away from its field.  Being raised in Kansas, I have seen a lot of wandering cattle.  What I have never seen are dogs tearing apart a cow.  This film, thanks to a gruesome opening (complete with slopping and slurping sounds fro the dogs) as a cow is gnawed on, graphically provided a striking visual.  One does not soon forget that scene.  But there's more: there’s something living inside the cow and, as the dogs really begin to dig in to the fresh ground beef, suddenly THEY are the alien’s supper as it lashes out from inside the now dead cow.  Gross.  Nom, nom, nom.

You see, thanks to NASA’s Skylab, launched in 1973 to perform experiments that couldn’t be completed on Earth (sounds heinous to me), has crashed, but not in Australia as history books would have us believe.  It landed in Madrid according to the movie. 

And something dangerous returned with it.

That’s how the cow was infected and, because Michael (Martin Hewitt) falls asleep driving an RV through the Madrid dunes and Damon (Dennis Christopher) is too busy conducting an imaginary orchestra, these two smartass adventurers nearly run over all the infected animals alongside the road.

Also in the RV, just happy to be around the boys, is their love rival (and friend), Sam (Johnson) and she’s a whole bundle of effervescent joy to be around.  Seriously.  Even when the stakes are high and EVERYONE is on board with the idea of being un over by a runaway truck and chased by an alien, she still manages to crack jokes about parking in the red zone.  Cute.

Everything is a constant easy breezy joy with these three characters.  Sure, there is a bit of sexual tension but, considering the circumstances, that’s to be expected.  Everything remains copacetic.  That is until they realize what they are actually up against; the idea of alien-infected waitresses makes everyone uneasy. 

According to Alien Predators, the extraterrestrials have arrived and they aren’t happy about it either.  Full of scenes that are equal parts scary and silly, this low budget romp still manages to earn a winning note from me.  It might not be all that original but, going down, it sure is a hell of a lot of fun.

Thanks to a healthy amount of gore and lunacy, this B-minded flick, written and directed by Deran Sarafian, actually works its retrograde charm to create a story that, while not believable in the least bit, is a lot of fun to take in.  From nasty face infections to Alien-like scenes of chest bursts and beyond, Alien Predators delivers on the shock AND the schlock. 

One of the film’s best moments comes when Damon goes off on his own to try and confront the alien and get the antidote to the alien infestation.  In a fog-filled NASA lab, he squares off with one of these creatures.  He can’t see the bastard but he can hear it.  Again, this technique of playing up the unseen presence (like not being able to see Jaws) works wonders to increase the tension and then, once he thinks he’s outsmarted it, he makes a wisecrack he immediately regrets about it not being able to climb a ladder.  Spoke too soon!  After firing a couple of shots from his revolver, he accidentally triggers the self-destruct mechanism in the lab.  Nice shooting, Tex.  Suddenly, we are all laughing at his dumb ass.

Scenes like this are plenty.  Hell, we even get off-screen booing at one part in the movie when the kiss is interrupted.   

Co-starring Luis Prendes as Dr. W. Tracer, the only NASA team member alive who knows what the hell is going on, Alien Predators is a fun little flick that has to be approached with the right attitude.  This isn’t camp, mind you, but – in certain key sequences – it comes pretty damn close to being downright hysterical.  It’s harmless entertainment that, thanks to the performances of its three lead characters, works far better than it has any right to.

Alien Predators, featuring a brand-new commentary with director Deran Sarafian, is now available on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory.  This is a rare treasure from a by-gone era of knockoff filmmaking that deserves a place on your shelf. 

Blu-ray Specifications:

Scream Factory’s brand new 1.85:1 HD master is detailed and looks better than ever. Some shots, due to the era of the day, are fuzzier than others but the image is reasonably well defined with crisp contrasts and solid textures. Colors are solid, with reds being a standout. Blacks are, too. Surprisingly, there's enough fine detail on display to make this seem revelatory. The era-ready color palette looks terrific, too. The disc comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo soundtrack.

Commentary:

The disc comes with a NEW audio commentary with writer/director Deran Sarafian. Fans of the movie will definitely enjoy this trip back in time.

Special Features:

Unfortunately, only a trailer completes the supplemental material here.

Original Theatrical Trailer

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