Creature

 

creatureposter

 

 

   Let’s see- it’s got:

 

 

   * A mixed-sex crew of older and young explorers, investigating strange goings-on in a space outpost…

 

   * An almost silent-but-strong Security Officer who seems to have more going on that at first appears, and Corporate-backed expeditions in the hope of finding, uh, SOMETHING…

 

   *Space turf that continually fogs and  thunders and is too dark to see much further than a few yards ahead of you…

 

   * Titillation in the form of hot chicks stripping down for the sole purpose of giving the audience something to ogle at, as everything else to look at is drab and boring industrial pseudo- functional backdrops…

 

   *A thumping bass-heavy score, punctuated by occasional squeaks, heavy-breathing sounds, and pings designed to jar you out of your seat…

 

   * Gloppy space mutants that come in a variety of shapes and leave behind astronauts in bloody heaps……

 

 

 

   So is it Alien? Of course not- it’s the easily-available 1985 B-flick Creature; filmed as Titan Find and made by monster fan, makeup artist and still-working director William Malone, who made another Alien-clone prior to this one called Scared to Death (1981) (aka filmed as Syngenor) and went on to helm most famously the House on Haunted Hill remake and Feardotcom. And if you get a chance, visit his pretty-cool-for-a-Hollywood-Director website (http://www.luminousprocesses.com/ )…

 

 

   The flick itself is very low budget (said to be well under a million dollars), but also somewhat claustrophobic, has some well done SPFX (including the spaceship scenes and the bloody carnage left over in the aliens’ wake, and a pretty good, if kind of by-the-numbers, main monster) and some taunt suspense. Probably its most surprising aspect (well, for me at least) is the above-average acting from some familiar faces (familiar to people that constantly wade through movies like I do, at least); people like Diane Salinger (you may recognize her as Simone- Pee Wee’s dinosaur companion in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure), the cute-as-a-button Wendy Schaal (who’s been in a bunch of stuff but sticks with me most in the Where The Boys Are remake)- who ends up coming up with a way to dispatch the monster by remembering how the crew from the 1950’s The Thing killed the giant carrot monster; Lyman Ward (three words- Ferris Bueller’s Dad- now of COURSE you know who THAT is); and, best of all, that old German nutbag Klaus Kinski, at his greasy-smiling, boob-grabbing best, as a fellow astronaut from a rival conglomerate, thrown into the mix for laughs and all-out creepiness. And, by the way, if you’ve never seen a Kinski performance, then I recommend that you drop what you’re doing (well, I guess I mean AFTER finishing reading this blog), go on IMDB and randomly pick out 2 or 3 flicks of his to see- you will NOT be disappointed!…

 

 

   The print I watched this on (part of the 10 movie “Space Odyssey” set put out by the late-and-lamented BCI-Eclipse, which also includes other recent-vintage somehow-they’ve-become-public-domain-fodder like Slipstream and Abraxas) is a weak video dupe, but the only time I remember seeing looking anything more than average was on a cable broadcast in the late ‘80’s; it seems like every dollar DVD manufacturer uses the same crappy dupe. Of course, it’s worth it for the pittance that you’ll pay (I know that pretty much every Walmart has Digiview’s version of this for a buck), but it would be nice if some enterprising Company would put this out in a pristine clear print complete with extras (I would LOVE to know what the fellow cast thought of working with ol’ Klaus!)- I have to doubt that will happen though as Creature seems to be stuck in some PD loophole Hell. Such a shame…

 

 

   ….anyway, if you see it, pick it up- a fun way to kill 90 minutes of tacky video viewing…

 

 

 

Creature– 31/2 out of 5*

 

 

 

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Graduation Day

 

 

   Legacy Entertainment (no web page- you’ll see why as you read on) is a budget outfit that popped up years ago as one of the early budget providers. Their specialty, it seems, is out-and-out thievery of other peoples’ titles. Sure, they release some of the same PD flicks everyone else puts out (hyping stars in early works like Robert DeNiro on Swap Meet and Sarah Jessica Parker in My Body, My Child to name two), but they also sell licensed works like the first 3 Sleepaway Camp movies and this one- Graduation Day (1981). The trouble is- they ain’t paying for their use, so this is some ol’ fashion bootleggin’…

 

   So the movie starts off at a High School track meet, where a girl just after winning a race drops dead from a heart attack. I guess this pissed SOMEONE off, because now a killer is on the loose, offing the track team one by one. Who would due such a dastardly deed- the Principal (genre stalwart Michael Pataki)? The Coach (the late Christopher George– who will appear in anything that pays him a check… remember 1980’s Pieces)? Or is it the sister who’s come back from the Navy; weirded out by the creepy step-father and who is constantly snooping around and jumping out of bushes? Maybe it’s someone else? Or maybe you’ll just give up twenty minutes or so into the movie because you don’t give a damn? Well, maybe- but you’ll miss out on routine throat slashings, impalings, beheadings, and death-by-football; Vanna White desperately trying to act; a sprinkle of nudity (including some early chest-baring by Linnea Quigley); and worst of all, gratuitous leg-shaving (well, maybe Pataki’s slacks-bulge is ACTUALLY worst of all). This is an oh-so typical 80’s Friday the 13th rip-off, with the Ten Little Indians-style set-‘em-up-for-the-slaughter pace, but not any worse than the 500 other ones that came out around that time. Not as bloody as Maniac or as funny as Prom Night– very average but competent (oh, and don’t miss the accidental joke when a character opens a door to the class shop labeled “George Michaels- Woodworking”- spooky foreshadowing, huh?). By the way- the director (Herb Freed) is an old pro at this kind of flick; he made others like Haunts and Beyond Evil as well, and helped this one make a TON at the box office …

 

   Legacy has the gall to issue to wholesale thieve this from a Troma VHS copy, complete with TROMA’S OPENING TITLES! The release is full screen and slightly muddy, but watchable. In the vein of Digiview or East West, their so-called ‘Trailer’ is actually just a list of other titles Legacy sells; 97 minutes. The DVD comes with 12 chapter stops; you’ll never know what you’ll miss so I recommend the fast-forward button instead. I got this at FYE for $2.99…

 

 

   Graduation Day– 2* out of 5