“Kmart’s new blue-light special mascot wasn’t very well received. He kept scaring away the customers.”

I know I would make a poor survivalist. When the zombie apocalypse comes don’t expect to find me living off the land in the high hills at my makeshift campsite. No my idea of roughing it  is more in line with a cheap roadside hotel that has hard beds and that don’t have those mini-fridge stocked with those neat little wine bottles. Just for fun I like to pretend I’m a freakish giant when I drink them. Give me a microwave over rubbing two sticks together anyday but mainly going camping is a flash back to those days of being crammed into a leaky tent with my cousin Ted whose uncontrollable flatulence could only be drowned out by his bear like snoaring. It seems everytime we did the family camping trip a terrential downpour would happen in the middle of the night creating a nice mudslide into our tent…mostly towards my side making a wading pool for me and my sleeping bag. I’d awake from my dreams of a buffet breakfast truck coming to save me in to being both soaked and hungry. My dad being the great outdoorsmen wouldn’t pack much food supplies instead opting to be  “living off the land” by fishing or eating potentially poisonous berries along the way. The lack of fish in the nearby weeded lake didn’t seem to sway his determination either, so after a fine meal of saltines and blue gill we’d take a short hike in the to burn off all those extra calories. Now with as many horror movies as I’ve seen I’d  always halfway expect a masked psycho to jump out from behind a tree or a family of cannibals carrying us away to make us their next meal, but I figured I could just trip Teddy and buy myself some time. The camping trip would usually end with me desperately needing a shower and having a case of poison oak on my butt when I used those leaves for toilet paper. Ahhh those were good times.

it came without warningSpeaking of grizzled survivalist, Jack Palance is living off the land and is out to kick some alien butt in “It Came Without Warning.” This little 80’s made for TV sci-fi homage pits humanity against flying fanged frisbees that look like like vomit novelty props. A camouflaged dad and his hippy son are out hunting in the woods one day when suddenly super suction alien discs attache to their backs tossed at them from an unseen alien disc golfer. This particular part of the woods seems to be pretty popular for both disc golfing and camping as later that day a group of boy scouts and their troop leader also show up. The super trooper gets a dose of alien frisbee-fu and all the kids run away screaming from a shadowy lurking figure…well except for one kid who sort of just mosseys along instead. Just about that time a mystery van of college co-eds driven by Tom, a young David Curroso in mini shorts are heading towards the same wooded area for a relaxing camping trip. Beth (Lynn Theele), Greg (Christopher S. Nelson) and Sandy (Tarah Nutter) are along for this CSI Miami camping trip of terror. If only Tom had some sunglasses he could cooly take off to indicate his disdained interest in this Camping Scene Investigation.

Once at the campsite Beth and Tom go off into the woods to perform their own “body forensics” leaving Greg and Sandy to better get to know each other. The couple mysteriously doesn’t return so Greg and Sandy go off in search for the missing lover and their feathered hair. They eventually find them strung up in an old water shed along with the puss filled hunters and gooey camp scout trooper. High tailing it out there as fast as their wood-paneled van can carry them and wiping off aliens on their windshield along the way, they stop at a redneck bar for some help. The bar dwellers are already used to plenty of southern tales of alien abductions and don’t believe their story but then the crazy vet Sarge (Martin Landua) starts spouting off about the impending alien invasion and in his paranoid outburst shoots the Sherriff at the door (luckily he didn’t shoot the deputy.) Taylor played by Jack “my skin is 100% real leather” Palance shows up at the bar and tells the two about his own encounter with the alien years before and thankfully leaves out any of the alien probing stories. So they all head back to the alien love shack so Taylor can try to put a shot-gun slug in the predator wanna-be and add it to his trophies of alien kills in pickle jars. Taylor gets a vomit-disc to the knee and Sandy and Greg say asta-la-vista Taylor and run away screamin’ like little girls. Fleeing down the highway they get picked up by the crazy Sarge whose stolen the dead sheriff’s Police car and believes that they’re aliens too. The guy is definitely off his prozac. They go along with his delusions just long to  escape by a quick jump into the river and hide out in someone’ abandoned  house, post foreclosure. After a nap and a light snack Sandy wakes up to find Gary has been disced to death in a barcolounger with a little alien suction disc still sucking on his face. Sandy’s so jealous, oh and there’s a horrifying bubble headed alien hanging out in the living room too. The house party is just is getting started as Taylor shows up again limping but more grizzled then ever to help Beth escape. He then takes her back to the shed, the obvious safest place to go, where’s he’s rigged up the building with dynamite for his own fireworks display and a chance to yell “ALLLIEEEEN!!!” at the top of his lungs. Hey Jack Palance won oscar, who knows why he does these things.

This movie is a great example of b-movie cult 80’s TV. The tension ramps up towards the end and having Landua and Palance both in this type of b-movie is a rare treat. Retroman Steve says check it out but watch out for flying fake vomit.

-Alien disc golf
-Windshield wiper-fu
-Cat lynchings
-David Curros in 80’s shorts (more horrifying than the alien)
-Landua looniness
-Extreme Palance grizzliness
-Kill and store watersheds
-Fanged frisbees fake vomit

rated 8.6 out of 10

as Jack Palance would say “I crap movies better than this.”

Check out the trailer from It Came without Warning