Damnaliens DVD Review by Steve Sawicki
Not since Michael Renny stepped out of his saucer in The Day the Earth Stood Still has an alien presence as wise as Steve Sawicki delivered pronouncements to the waiting masses of humanity. Again this month Steve comes to us with a message...and a warning. Watch the films...watch the films. - Editor
(Note: order the films from Amazon by following the hyperlinks to help buy fuel for Steve's saucer)
In the past year weíve been buried in films wanting to make money by making mock at Star Trek.† First there was Denis Crosby and Trekkies which takes an insiders view of Star Trek Fandom.† While Iím all in favor of exposing peoples idiocies this film seemed to take too much joy out of showing just how pathetic the hard core Trekkers really are.† Maybe it was just that it was real life.† Free Enterprise showed us a bunch of pathetic guys, including Shattner himself, but it was all in fun.† They werenít real people, except for Shattner but heís an actor so who can tell when heís real and when heís the Priceline guy.† Galaxy Quest - DTS goes one step further by looking at the whole thing from the side of the actors.
What weíve got here is some fine acting by Allen, Weaver and the rest while they poke fun at what has become a forty year long phenomenon.† Thereís plenty of analogies for everyone so if you miss a few it wonít matter.† In fact, you could probably enjoy the film without the analogies, but why would you want to?
Sweet Amy wants to win an award at her film school.† The award is given out for the best documentary.† She immediately heads out to film a work of fiction.† Way to keep your eye on the prize there Amy.† The topic of her film will be Urban Legends - Final Cut. As filming begins though, crew and cast start to die.† Somewhere in the second reel Amy figures out that something ainít right (Must be a Roger Corman Protťgť).† Luckily for us, Amy is a dimwitted girl and doesnít get anything figured out until the film ends.† Oh yeah, the subject of this little horror film is Urban Legends.† This means that if you donít send copies of this review to at least 30 friends bad things will happen to you.
There can be only one, which is why Connor must convince Duncan to join him in the fight against the highlander villain and his highlander cronies in Highlander: Endgame † By the end of this film youíll be glad there can be only one--movie that is.† How many times can you do this plot and they break their own rules all the time anyway.† Off with their heads I say, or just blame it all on Douglas Aarniokoski who directed this piece of drivel.† One of the few films where I was really hoping the bad guys would find some way to win.
Some films are best loved not for the total effect but for specific characters or bits.† While there are certainly people out there who love the entire length of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Special Edition) there are ten fold more who love only the general or only the doctor or only the scene in the war room.† Many parts of this film are way over the top and by now itís horribly dated.† Still, not a bad choice when itís 3AM and you canít sleep.
Hmmm, Roger Corman as director and John Sayles as scriptwriter should make a pretty good combination.† And, whatís this? Robert Vaughn in his pre-lawyer hawking days as well?† Battle Beyond the Stars is the granddaddy of a good six or seven other films that used footage Corman shot for this film.† The plot is basic.† We gotta kill them before they kill us and there are millions of them and just you and me.† Corman shows the skills that made him a great B-Movie guy.† An excellent little movie that appeared in the theaters for 8 days and then remained unseen except for television and those eight or nine following films which reused footage.
You've got to love a title like The Brain From Planet Arous. It's compelling, even if only to find out what they did with the rest of the body. What could Corman have done with a title like this? It's a twisted steal of Hal Clement's Needle where an alien criminal comes to earth and hides in a human. If the alien police brain is so smart, why does it decide to hide out in a dog?
What do you get when you cross a mad geneticist and a few chicken eggs?†† Donít know?† Well, Roger Corman does† The Carnosaur Collector's Set you get Carnosaurs, hungry little dinosaur like critters that create havoc.† This film came out the same year that Jurassic Park did.† Well, Roger Corman was never known for his timing.† Neat little beasts surrounded by stupid actors and lots of mid-west scenery.
Wouldnít it be horrible if those huge underground robot building factories in the Midwest got taken over by, say, mutants in the near future, say, right after the final showing of a Roger Corman film which accidentally set off a world wide devastation so that the only way to save anything would be to find a female mercenary with the unlikely name of Cherry 2000.† Not a bad film actually although I wouldnít recommend it to friends.† This one shows up on television on the Saturday night late movie.† Donít watch it there though as itís too cut up.† Go out and spend the $3 bucks for the rental.† Itís worth it and, besides, what else do you have to watch while youíre waiting for the next Roger Corman opus?
A benign alien lands in the Scottish highlands, and this has to be by mistake so you wonder just how advanced these guys are to begin with, and is turned into an evil alien monster after meeting a Scottish person.† The Man From Planet X just can't get a break. Crappy script, cheezy effects, bad acting and Roger Corman had not a thing to do with it, go figure.† According to my research, people who liked this also liked ďAttack of the Puppet People,Ē and ďDie, Monster, Die.Ē
DeepStar Six In the near future, an undersea research and missile-installation base is threatened by a carnivorous swimming crustacean.††And you thought there was a presidential edict detailing that you never, ever, put missile basis within reach of carnivorous crustaceans.† Well, if not than there should be or weíll get more of these tedious, badly written, terribly acted, poorly presented films.
If you like old film then youíll probably love Things to Come. Actually this is a pretty neat film except that itís terribly dated and in black and white.† Granted it does have some historical and it is the place where Roger Corman gets most of his ideas but Iíll still go out on a limb and tell you that this is one to catch some night on tv.† Not worth renting unless you have absolutely seen everything else.
Highlander DVD Boxed Set There can be no more than one.† Now where have I heard that before?† Certainly not from Roger Corman.† Now you can go back and see how television revised the movie so youíll understand how the new movie revised the television revision.† If you see this one in the video store grab it quick, because, there can be only one!
Other channels to watch: The Sci-Fi Files / Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 19, Episodes 37 & 38: The Changeling/ The Apple / Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 20, Episodes 39 & 40: Mirror, Mirror/ The Deadly Years
Thunderbirds - Set 1 / Thunderbirds - Set 2 Puppets in Space!† These should have been released years ago.† Gerry Anderson invented lots of things (and no, Roger Corman is not one of them).† SuperMarionation is, however.† SuperMarionation is just a fancy way of making puppets look like, well, puppets.† Thunderbirds is a very old television series from the sixties which used puppets as characters.† It wasnít half bad, of course thatís according to the six year old memory in the back of my brain since I havenít seen one since then.†Expect the full list of Anderson shows if these prove to be available.† Perhaps weíll even get to see UFO which, indeed, is a show worth waiting for.