They also come from my collection as I chip away at my goal of blogging about all the movies on my shelves.
ALIEN PREDATORS (1985)
In recent times, director Deran Sarafian has directed episodes of The Strain, Hemlock Grove, and The Exorcist, but back in the mid-80s he brought us this almost forgotten film that has finally been released on Blu-ray.
You never see the kind of intimate cattle slaughter scene this alien film opens with—normally it’s just some farmer finding the aftermath. Not only is the attack intense, but two dogs then come to eat the leftovers and things get worse.
Which is how our trio of friends in an RV ends up getting involved in the whole alien situation. They almost run over one of the dogs.
The super fun trio includes Dennis Christopher of Fade to Black, Martin Hewitt of Endless Love and Killer Party, and Lynn-Holly Johnson (Ice Castles, Where the Boys Are 84, Watcher in the Woods). The guys are cute and goofy and like referencing movies and TV shows. They’re also competing for the girl.
Meanwhile, there are some rogue scientists up to no good, and they eventually drag the threesome into it.
The film sticks closely to the alien trend of its time, with a sort of icky alien parasite using bodies as its host, eventually deforming the body before bursting out of them…with no CGI. Ah, those were the days.
Not scary, but action-packed with plenty of blood, this is the epitome of 80s sci-fi horror.
It’s directed by horror master Tobe Hooper. It’s loaded with big special effects (for its time). It’s an epic sci-if/horror hybrid. It’s got some major sexual situations.
Yet I’ve never actually been a fan of Lifeforce, and these days I only relish it for how it takes me back to when I watched it on cable in the 80s. I even thought the 15-minute longer cut on Blu-ray might help me better appreciate it, but it’s more boring than before.
The big Hollywood space mission at the beginning goes on way too long. The team discovers bat-like creatures just floating in space.
Then they find three capsules with naked people in them, so they bring them home.
One of them, a chick with huge tits, soon rises in the lab and starts sucking face with men to steal their lifeforce.
Pretty cool, but let’s be honest. These dead dudes simply turn into the zombies from a better 1985 film…Return of the Living Dead!
Sure the other two pretty boy alien vampires who look straight out of a Jeff Stryker porn come back to life, but they never show their tits like she does.
And the movie focuses on a team trying to locate her after she escapes. Steve Railsback, who was on the mission, seems to have a telepathic connection with her, so they use him to help track her down…for the whole movie.
Highlights include Railsback sucking face with Patrick Stewart—but the editing makes sure to never really show it.
Also, one alien vampire turns into a cool bat creature.
But overall, this movie is still too overblown with no real thrills as it moves towards the big Hollywood final showdown with the female alien vamp.
INVADERS FROM MARS (1986)
What a difference a year makes. Tobe Hooper directs this remake of the 1953 film, retaining the spirit of 1950s sci-fi while capturing the essence of Spielberg’s kid-centric films of the 1980s.
A young boy—who would go on to play Bud in the unaired pilot of Married With Children—enjoys the mysteries of astronomy with his parents (Timothy Bottoms & Laraine Newman) as they star gaze one night.
But when he goes to bed, he witnesses a spaceship land outside his window. The film jumps right into it…anyone who goes over the hill comes back all Stepford Wifey. The film even feels like an early version of The Faculty for a while, with the boy realizing his teacher, Louise Fletcher, is one of “them”…and eats like the Visitors from V: The Miniseries.
He seeks help from the school nurse, Karen Black. Before long the two are deep in it, being chased around the town by converted locals…which eventually leads them to the underground lair of the goofy looking aliens and their turtle-like master.
At least this time they’re all actual monsters, not just men in costumes as in the original.
The film for me loses steam—as most do—when they go to the military for help, lead by James Karen from Return of the Living Dead. Yeah, the military invading the alien lair for the second half of the film really takes away from the nostalgic fun of the first half of the film. And the twist at the end is such a scam!
STRANGE INVADERS (1983)
The director of Strange Behavior shifted to Strange Invaders for this absolutely classic 1980s cable favorite. Hell, one of the aliens even plays a game of Defender Stargate at an arcade.
A man’s ex-wife asks him to watch their daughter while she goes back home after her father’s death. Trying to be the good ex, he heads to the small town to support her…and steps knee-deep into an alien takeover!
Louise Fletcher, who flew over the cuckoo’s nest to land smack dab in the middle of these cheesy 80s sci-fi and horror flicks, plays the authority figure who laughs off his claims. A journalist, played by Nancy Allen, also laughs off his claims.
But then a mysterious, fembot-esque woman in dark sunglasses begins chasing Nancy, and after an incident involving green blood, Nancy starts to believe.
Strange Invaders is a simple, fun ride with some awesome 80s morphing effects, since the aliens, like those in V: The Miniseries, are disguised as humans.
And just like Invaders from Mars, this is one of those sci-fi lite films of the era that has a 1950s sci-if vibe and a non-threatening conclusion.