Monday, March 10, 2008

"Return of the Aliens:Deadly Spawn"(1983)d/Douglas McKeown

When I first saw this low budget independent classic,I was skipping off school to smoke cigarettes,listen to Adam and the Ants records,and sneak a few quality hours in of screening my old man's unlabelled VHS porn collection with my buddies.It takes me back to the era of Flowbee feathered haircuts,big combs in your back pocket(I won't say what we used to call them in the spirit of good taste...),jean jackets,flannel shirts and work boots.Just take a drive through present day Manville,NJ to see what I'm talking about.Anyway,the big box release of this flick on Continental Video was what movies were all about back then.You could rent "Tuff Turf",to see what the little girl from "Escape from Witch Mountain" grew up into,or you could grab this one,with a snarling multi-headed alien beast with various bloody severed body parts strewn around it on the huge video box.Kim Richards usually lost to John Dods at my place(no offense to teenaged Kim,looking all cute in her Fashion Bug '80s new wave threads).
Nothing wrong with a little head for breakfast.
At the outset of our story,in a paen to "The Blob"(1957),two campers investigate the impact site of a large meteorite.While one ducks into the tent for a flashlight,the other is rended limb from limb in the shadows by whatever it was that crawled out of the meteorite.Then the second camper becomes a meal himself.The following morning,a suburban couple prepare to embark on a journey to a relative's house when the man notices the pipes are on the fritz.Unbeknownst to him,one of the cellar windows was left open during the night,giving easy access to he and his family for the being from the skies.When he doesn't return from the basement,his wife soon follows him to an untimely demise.
Alien tadpoles make short work of some poor bastard's face.
Hours later,the remaining members of the household beign to rouse from their slumber.Peter(who's having friends over to study...on a Saturday...nerd alert) and Charles(the obligatory young monster-loving horror freak),their sons,visiting Aunt Millie(who's planning a veggie luncheon date for her circle of stuffy old biddies/friends) and Uncle Herb(a child psychologist who's promised to give Charles a once over to see if the boy's bloody interests are normal or not..and YES,of course they are...),and an electrician is scheduled for a visit.For those keeping score at home,the body count possibilities are staggering at this point.Ellen and Frankie,two of Peter's friends show up for their Saturday study session(blech) with the promise of Kathy's arrival later on.Millie bails, but leaves a note for the electrician to let himself in through the cellar door.
Headless nerd chick's corpse in the front lawn.News at eleven.
Charles,young prankster that he is,decides to throw on a latex mask and costume and pop down into the cellar to scare the pants off the unsuspecting electrician.He stumbles onto the alpha alien,chowing down on the technician instead.The hulking beast lurches towards the boy,but when he freezes in the darkness,the thing and its multiple larvae swimming about in puddles on the cellar floor,lose track of him,as they are led by sound rather than sight,being eyeless. "Holy Saint Xenobius!" moment:The monstrosity then upchucks the boy's mother's head to the concrete below,where its tadpoles abruptly rip the face off the bloody thing,frozen in a death scream.Where anyone else would lose it having just seen psychologically destructive shit like that,this kid remains one cool motherfucker,still frozen in place.He throws a flashlight against a far wall,causing the creatures to follow the sound.He sees some of the flesh-crazed larva sidewinding out an open cellar window into the storm outside.
Let's see Uwe Boll create this kind of tension for 27,000 bucks.
The titular aliens kick into high gear,spoiling Aunt Millie's dusty get-together,burrowing into Uncle Herb's eye sockets(!),and the apex beast traps the studious nerds in an upstairs bedroom(chomping Ellen's nerdy head off in the process,and causing the headless dork to fall out a window to the lawn below),across from the bedroom with a phone.Oh sweet irony.In the end,it's up to Charles,Frankie,Peter,and Kathy to take on the ravenous otherworldly menace,which they manage to do,in a way that would make Richard Dean Anderson's MacGyver green with envy.By the time the authorities arrive,dispatching stray tadpoles and returning the rural area to normalcy,the mountain in the background begins to rumble...It can't be!Oh,yes it can.
You're gonna need a bigger boat...


Douglas McKeown said...

okay that review made ME laugh

beedubelhue said...

Glad to be of service,my friend!

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