Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor" (1990) d/ Glenn Takakjian

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If you're nearly as old as ol' Dubya, you might remember seeing gimmick VHS boxes on the shelf at your local video store towards the end of the eighties... You know, the ones with impressive protruding 3D graphics, flashing LED eyes, and even greeting card sound modules lent to the packaging to boost the appeal for B-movie fare, titles like 1989's The Dead Pit, and tonight's review, a movie that started out as the sequel to 1983's cult classic, Return of the Aliens- The Deadly Spawn, that's heavy on practical special effects and laughs, some of which I believe to be intentional. Laughs of the other variety are born mainly out of the acting performances of the cast, whose collective on-screen wood must have been some subconscious tribute to the logging industry of sorts.

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 Allen Rickman. You'll never mistake him for Alan Rickman.
In a New Jersey research facility overseen by the Talos Corporation, Dr. Foster, while experimenting with alien forms of  DNA and lab animals, is bitten on the hand by one of his mutations, and despite having the good sense to let his co-worker Nancy douse it with hydrochloric acid, he still eventually morphs into a giant uncircumsized cock-with-teeth that lands it's meals with whip-like tentacles and spits living venomous mouths out of it's midsection, while pulling itself around the darkened hallways on some uneven-looking Thing-ish legs, after sending Dr. Stein (Allen Rickman) and the shift security guard to meet their respective makers. Nancy is still convinced that Foster's not all bad, while her chain-smoking, dialog-croaking superior, Vialini (Marcus Powell), has already contracted the hit out to a pair of  subordinate bullies with machine guns.

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Hey, I remember you from Topps Ugly Stickers...
Only, the aforementioned bloody security guard casualty was father to a pair of inquisitive mall pigs named Kim and Sherri, all agog to discover his current whereabouts, and with the help of Brian, who's a poor man's Kirk Cameron with (slightly)less acting and more painfully ineffective slapstick, the sisters manage to gain entry to the facility, which is quickly becoming littered with body parts torn asunder and splattered grue and who's hallways the girls are seemingly always jogging up and down at a leisurely pace. Still, more than fast enough to avoid being lassoo'ed for lunch by the uneven-legged denizen from deep space, though it does manage to toss Nancy around like a stop motion salad, and pop Vialini's top off before the girls somehow trap it in the building's full sized state-of-the-art particle accelerator. You know, the kind that people can stand mere feet away from, while running, without fear of radioactive repercussions. I love those. It all wraps up much like it's 1983 predecessor, with an enormous, belligerent whatzit breaking through the roof, all threatening-like.

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"Which of you puny earthlings is driving me to Woodbridge Center ?!!?"
Takakjian takes the director's chair here, after being a part of the special effects crew on Deadly Spawn, and he's not bad. Speaking of special effects, they're the only reason you're ever gonna want to see this one, with  Jersey's own uber-talented Vincent Guastini tackling the creatures and makeup and Don Taylor handling the visuals. I did vaguely mention the stop motion sequences already, yes? Also very choice. If you go into Metamorphosis as a fan of old fashioned sci-fi and monster movies, you'll come out satisfied on a nostalgic level, and for that, I'd have to bestow a deuce upon it on the rating scale. Give it a look.

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"I'm warnin' you, if I missed Father Dowling Mysteries tonight...."
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