It’s always a thrill to stumble upon a director that clearly worships the same era of horror in which you grew up, so after seeing Italian director Federico Sfacia’s Alienween, I immediately checked out his first film I Rec U, as well as his short films, all of which made this 80s whore feel warm and fuzzy inside. Just check out one of his shorts to get an immediate sense of his epic style.
If you like what you see, than you’re in for a treat, because Sfacia’s two full-length films are like TEN times that much insanity, loaded with comic situations, neon colored lighting, and 80s-inspired progressive rock music.
I REC U (2012)
This sci-fi/fantasy/horror/comedy combines the charm of 80s family-friendly fantasy films like Time Bandits and Labyrinth with the adult edge of 80s horror like From Beyond and The Unnamable.
The concept is just as 80s trippy. A teenager with an eye problem has to wear special glasses to see women clearly, which has severely hampered his luck with the ladies.
These glasses record everything he sees onto videotape, so when he becomes convinced that his latest infatuation has been kidnapped by an evil entity, he believes he can use the technology to rescue her.
Joining him on his journey to a hellish dimension is his (hot) older brother, as well as a young woman who wrote a book about the very subject and hopes to use him as a case to prove her theory.
After performing a ritual in a cemetery, the threesome becomes trapped in an alternate “movie-like” reality. There they must conquer a demonic creature to release the trapped heart of the girl from its tower, which means a fantastical battle with relentless enemies.
I Rec U is all kinds of weird, with plenty of 80s references and visuals, some gore, a massive boss battle, and a lovable cast of characters, so it kept me watching.
And did I mention the adorable brother…who we get to see briefly in his undies?
Even so, Sfacia’s follow-up Alienween is much more this 80s horror fan’s speed….
Dead Alive meets Neon Maniacs on Halloween with Alienween. Quirky, comic, and gooey gory, Alienween is a treasure for those who remember the days of over-the-top horror saturated in neon light, drenched with fog machines, and oozing with practical special effects.
As mysterious lights fall from the sky, four guys plan to party in an old house on Halloween night with a bunch of drugs and prostitutes. But the pain-in-the-ass girlfriend of one of the guys comes looking for him with her Bible-thumping BFF and her gay brother, whom both girls bash nonstop (verbally and physically).
Pretty soon, hideous alien beings are infecting humans, melting people into puddles of goop, and melding the main guy and his bitch girlfriend together by the hands!
Alienween is a whacky ride from start (when a trick or treater encounters an alien) to finish (an epic boss battle that gets personal). In between, we get a pumpkin head alien, a soundtrack of melodramatic, Steve Vai guitar work proportions, tons of Euro sleaze, alien boob bursts, a stripper Jack O’ lantern dance, and a cast of self-centered characters that turn against each other even as aliens threaten to turn all of them into mush. Actually, because aliens threaten to turn them into mush.
If there’s one aspect of Alienween that felt like it was dropped with no satisfying conclusion, it’s the homophobic plot point. This bitch sister slammed her gay brother’s nose into a steering wheel just because, so it would have been quite satisfying to see him get some revenge!