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Jun

Comments Off on Hell of the Living Dead

Tagline: They eat the living!

Year: 1980           Runtime: 101 min

Director: Bruno Mattei (as Vincent Dawn) & Claudio Fragasso

Writer: Claudio Fragasson & Jose Maria Cunilles

Starring: Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo, Selan Karay

There are any number of things that go awry that result in a b-movie: no budget, no talent in front of the camera, no talent behind the camera, no talent planning the film, etc., etc. There is no shortage of the preceding list which means there’s no shortage in b-movies. That’s great for the fans, and even better for us here on The Lost Highway, but the thing is, not all b-movies are “so bad they’re good.” That magic something that makes a bad movie entertaining is as elusive as Nessie and Sasquatch and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar.

Is it genius? Is it luck? Madness? A little column A, little column B, little column C? Like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

One avenue where I’ve noticed a high amount of success is where filmmakers ride the coattails of a more popular movie. The idea is simple: latch onto something that’s making money and exploit it with a cheap reproduction. Italian filmmakers in the 70s and 80s were particularly brilliant at capitalizing on this maneuver. Every genre is open to such exploitation, and infamous filmmakers were all too willing to slop something together for the fans lucre, I mean, enjoyment. Hell of the Living Dead sets the bar higher in that it tries to capitalize on three genres: zombies, cannibals, and natives (i.e. dark skinned people who are generally portrayed as cannibals) at once—and fails at them all.

There is no mistaking the je ne sais quoi of a spaghetti [fill-in-the-genre] film. Hell of the Living Dead reeks of it. One would think that in the light of such overwhelming ridicule these films received the filmmakers would call it quits after one, maybe two, flops. But no matter how far off the mark a exploitation movie landed, most of these filmmakers made many more schlock films. Unlike the specially designed javelin used to correct for Lamar’s limp-wristed throwing style, there is no correction possible for a Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso hot mess of a film.

Buddha be praised!

Word of Caution: because Hell of the Living Dead is a cinematic disaster of the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink calibre, it will appear I am having a hard time staying coherent. If you find yourself wondering, “What in the hell is he blubbering about?” don’t worry, it’s not because I’ve stroked out. That’s just the movie. Don’t think too deeply about the incongruities. Attempts to untangle the jumble will only cause you stress related injures. Allow the madness to wash over, and away, from you. The hollow feeling and night terrors will pass. The rocking, though, is permanent.

Hell of the Living Dead

The film opens in an industrial complex, a Hope Center. There are lots of white coat clad people with clipboards walking about with airs of important business. These are the world’s top scientists working on world hunger and stuff. How does flipping switches in what looks like a nuclear power plant solve the problem? No idea. Thankfully the movie exposits that the Hope Centers’ mission is to achieve Satiety, Peace and Good Happiness Stuff through the top secret project, Sweet Death.

Oh, Sweet Death, huh? Makes less sense than flipping switches, but OK. Interesting name though.

What’s more interesting is Sweet Death is a gas which kills people and then reanimates them as flesh eating zombies.

Uhm… I suppose “hope” has a special meaning in Italian that doesn’t quite translate into English.

One of the capsules has a meltdown during this flurry of activity, or as one worker puts it, “a routine spot check,” and Sweet Death gets out. The whole facility is infected. Another generation of idiots are removed from the gene pool, just in the nick of time. It’s not too bad though, this Hope Center is off the coast of New Guinea, which means there’s still a chance to keep this mishap under wraps. Keeping this PR nightmare quiet is important because most (third world) people are happy to have Mosanto, eherm, I mean, the Hope Centers in their countries, helping them with hunger and stuff.

(The movie says there are Hope Centers, i.e. more than one. It only shows the one. It hints of the others in moments of exposition that serve only to confuse and annoy the audience. Are they all working together? Are they independent? Who is paying for all this? Who knows.)

But not everyone is blind to Evil Corporate Big Brother Reich’s real plans. A band of know-it-all college hippies takes an American embassy hostage to expose the truth, man. What they get for all their planning and effort is a special Interpol commando team (SICT) with itchy trigger fingers. Wearing protective gear wasn’t part of their course at university, and they’re too smart to duck and/or get behind cover, so another generation of idiots are removed from the gene pool, just in the nick of time.

That concludes the unnecessary but entertaining portion of the film. Now that the film’s introduced SICT, on to the zombie action!

Because the Sweet Death outbreak is confined to New Guinea the UN sics SICT on it. SICT is supposed to… well… the movie never says. Mike, the SICT leader admits, when they finally arrive at the Hope Center, that he doesn’t know what their supposed to do. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

SICT flies INTO the country, where they then have to make their way cross country to the coast, then out to sea to the Hope Center. While this would seem to be as smart a lighting your pubic hair on fire to remove a lice infestation, it turns out to be a necessary contrivance. It’s only in hindsight that one learns that this lame planning is to pad out the film’s runtime. Without the cross country adventure the movie would run about 30 – 35 minutes.

None of the journey is necessary to the story. Actually, there’s not really a story, so tacking this scene on to that scene and another to this other one is as good a plot as Hell of the Living Dead offers. Cutting through the country is simply an excuse to pick up Lia and her cameraman, show some natives doing native things, and have the zombie attacks.

To add realism to the native scenes the filmmakers incorporated a bunch of footage from a documentary.  They did the same for establishing shots of traveling through the jungle. As you can expect the footage doesn’t match up. The editing is so bad that it doesn’t come close to fitting in with the original footage. In one scene there’s a kangaroo rat running through a desert that’s supposedly next to the Landrover as they’re driving through the jungle. In another scene we see natives canoeing in a wide river, but the commandos are in a thick jungle nowhere near water.

But it’s the sound dub for the animals that’s the tops. I thought there was nothing funnier than seeing a Kung Fu movie dubbed into Spanish. I was wrong. Hell of the Living Dead does one better, they dubbed different animal sounds for the ones shown. The best is a scene of what looks like storks dubbed in turkey gobbles. Priceless.

What would a 80s B horror flick be with out gratuitous nudity? Not a 80s B horror flick, that’s what. At least not an Italian one. As there’s only one woman, it’s Lia who has to show one for the team. Why she does so is classic horny teenage boy logic. The only way to get into the savages’ village is for Lia to go in topless and a vine g-string. Why? Because she lived with the tribe for a year. Uhm. OK. Does that mean she ran around naked save for a vine g-string that year? Is this what all women do, or just white women? Eh, who cares. She jogs ahead of the vehicles for a bit for some nice jiggle action. Bonus (for the extras playing natives that day): All the tribe members get to touch the naked white woman. SUH-weet!

Ultimately Hell of the Living Dead is to zombie movies what Taco Bell is to Mexican food. It will give you diarrhea and shaves an hour and a half off of your life. Yet, for some crazy reason, you keep going back for more.

roadside attractions

  • Hear the racism in lines like: “What kind of terrorist? Palestinian? Iranian? New kind?”!
  • Gape as the characters do while their close friends and co-workers and lovers are eaten by zombies!
  • Witness a vicious zombie rat attack!
  • Learn what the UN truly is: a big theatre with 12 people waving and throwing papers at one another!
  • Wonder why everything is contaminated and turning people into zombies except for our heroes!
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Buckets of blood, black slime, and sundry goop.

2

blood

BREASTS

Lia, the sole woman, has to strip to get into the natives’ village.

10

beast

BEASTS

Loads of Poo-Faced™ Zombies.

7.33 OVERALL
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Feb

posted by Doktor | February 26, 2014 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, Action, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Eliminators

Tagline: Mandroid. Mercenary. Scientist. Ninja. Each one a specialist. Together they are ELIMINATORS!

Year: 1986 Runtime: 96 min

Director: Peter Manoogian

Writer: Paul De Meo, Danny Bilson

Starring: Andrew Prine, Denise Crosby, Patrick Reynolds

Current scientific theory states that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. This is a banal axiom by itself. However, it is an interesting thesis when one asks: how does this paradigm work when the constituent parts are comprised of zeros. Ah, ha! Finally, a truly great question, relevant to our lives today. The answer? You get an order of magnitude diddly-squat. Enter the Eliminators:

  • An Eeyore cyborg
  • Tasha Yar
  • An owl robot thingie
  • A scoundrel river bum
  • A Ninja

Take this eclectic crew and mix them all together in an After School Special, spice, to taste, with some Romans, a mad scientist, and some Neanderthals, and you have 90 minutes of hernia rupturing fun. Actually, After School Special doesn’t quite capture the ambiance. Eliminators is more like an episode of G.I. Joe: laser burlets flung every which way, vehicles crashing, explosions, and yet no one dies.

I should probably mention that this is a Charles Band film. Just so we’re clear.

Eliminators is the story of a man, John Doe, who is unwillingly transformed into Mandroid (think Borg + Robocop on a $13 budget) after his plane crashes in an uncharted Mexican jungle. The evil genius behind John’s alteration is Dr. Reeves, a mad scientist with a face like a waffle iron and a penchant for ancient Rome. Oh, and he has a time machine. Mandroid is sent back through time to insure the machine works. Upon completing his mission, despite all the money, time, and accessories built for him, Reeves orders his assistant, Takada, to dismantle Mandroid. Apparently Reeves learned all he knew about life from the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Takada, having a conscience, helps Mandroid to escape, which, of course, costs him his life. Mandroid snaps on his gratuitous Mobile Unit, worthless tank treads Mandroid plugs his top half into Centaur style, and proceeds to race out of the compound at motorized shopping cart speeds. As no one can shoot, even when armed with rifles with ridiculous scopes, he only takes a burlet  to the head. Falling within the G.I. Joe violence quotient, the head shot merely ruins some of his memory chips, rendering him only slightly more efficacious than an amnesiac. Something which, by this point in the movie, I would have gladly welcomed—either the amnesia or a head shot.

Mandroid seeks out Colonel Hunter (Tasha Yar) to inform her of Reeves’ evil deeds (read: muwhahaha). Hunter is a computer/robotics/science geek who works at a lab funded by Reeves. She wears lab coats and builds things like the Mandroid armor and S.P.O.T. (Search Patrol Operation Tactician), a Rent-a-Center V.I.N.CENT from Blackhole. Seeing her life’s work, i.e. the Mandroid armor as a living/breathing junkyard proof of concept, Hunter volunteers to return with Mandroid to exact revenge.

Hooray, it’s an adventure!

According to their maps, the Mexican jungle is uncharted, and because Mandroid’s memory was literally shot, Hunter has to hire a river guide to get them to the crash site, from which they’ll make their way to Reeves. Here they pick up Harry ‘scoundrel’ Fontana, the Rent-a-Center Han Solo character. There’s a keystone comedy bar fight that’ll send your duodenum into spasms followed by a river chase that’s as riveting as snails nailed in place. All the while our unlikely heroes laugh, love, and finally go their separate ways.

Wha—!

And then they come back together. Yay!

But then Mandroid and S.P.O.T. fall off Fontana’s boat, promptly sinking to the bottom of the river never to be found. Ever. Oh, noes!

And then there were two. Hunter and Fontana press on, only to get captured by Neanderthals.

Wait, what?

Meanwhile Mandroid and S.P.O.T. come sloshing out of the drink, none the worse for wear. They squirt river water from sundry orifices and push on. They promptly run into a Ninja pulling fish from a stream telekinetically.

Sigh.

Really? Neanderthals? Ninja? The Force? If they had a costume or make-up in the storeroom, Charles Band said, “Go for it!”

So… Mandroid learns that Ninja is Takada’s son. With a heavy heart—or diodes, or whatever—Mandroid relates what happened to Ninja’s father. Because he’s a ninja, Ninja vows to get revenge for what Reeves has done. Finally, the team is complete.

Back in the other subplot, Hunter and Fontana have to fight their way out of the clutches of the Neanderthals: smooches are smooched; burlets are thrown in the fire, which is far more effective than shooting them; three or four Neanderthals give chase. Things look bad for Fontana and Hunter…

Duh duh duh!

Thanks to the last minute appearance of Ninja, Mandroid, and S.P.O.T. they escape. Phew. A quick jog, and a jump cut, later the team finds Mandroid’s stashed mobile unit. They bivouac down for the afternoon to assess their supplies, work on a plan, and get a little sun. S.P.O.T. is sent to get a tactical layout of Reeves’ camp.

When S.P.O.T. returns something is amiss. S.P.O.T. is gibbering, which actually is normal but for some reason this gibberish is different. To clear up any confusion, S.P.O.T. starts shooting his sting lasers at everyone. Fearing someone might get hit, and thus suffer the indignity of a slightly uncomfortable pinch, Ninja has to put him down. (One down, four to go!) The smoke from the wreck forms into a hologram of Reeves’ head. Using it’s invisible lungs a vocal cords, Reeves’ disembodied head warns the Eliminators to come no further. Obviously defeated, our heroes resign themselves to life as failures…

But wait! If only Hunter can… cross some wires… a spark of electricity… What’s this?!? The plans for Reeves’ camp on S.P.O.T.’s visor. Good ole S.P.O.T. He came through after all. Hope restored, they spring into action.

The plan calls for Fontana, Hunter, and Ninja penetrate the stronghold via a Rent-a-Center City of Tanis map room. One would think an evil genius’s secret treasure room would be near impossible to get into, much less have it be the weak link in his whole defense, but one only need remember this is a Charles Band film and all worries are quelled. No sooner are they in when they are caught. The Dream Team™ is smooth as grandma’s sandpaper enemas.

Meanwhile, Mandroid sieges the camp at the front gate, calling for Reeves to come out. The gate opens, Mandroid walks in, and is surrounded by Reeves’ goons. “Ha, ha!” Mandroid laughs derisively.  “My friends have already destroyed your computers, your lab, and all your work. It’s over!” (Or something to that effect. I wasn’t paying attention and refuse to watch it again to get the actual quote.)

To which Reeves replies (via a speaker system), “Do you like apples, Mandroid?” Out march the three stooges. “How ‘bout dem apples?” (See previous parenthetical.)

Fail completed!

Uhm, maybe not so much. Well, at least not for the Eliminators. See, Reeves’ minions are nice guys. Rather than killing their prisoners the goons let the Eliminators start kicking butt first. Pew pew pew. Explosion. Pew pew pew. The minions run.

Maniacal laughter. The compound’s front door explodes. Ah, hell. Final Boss Fight!

True to all video games evar, Reeves has transformed. He’s no longer the decrepit,  waffle-faced mad scientist. Now he’s Iron Caesar (i.e. Julius Caesar + Iron Man). Sweet! Naturally his armor and weapons are stronger than Mandroid’s, allowing him to withstand all attacks as he monologues his plan, which is to go back in time to become the ruler of Rome. This raises a couple questions: why is it preferable to be the ruler of ancient Rome than being the ruler of the contemporary world; why did he go back and collect all the treasure? Oh, right, this is a Charles Band movie. No reason other than it’s in the script.

When he finishes his monologue, Iron Caesar blasts Mandroid and captures Fontana, Hunter, and Ninja in a force field. He sets the force field to shrink, cranks the powertronics up to kill, and leaves to get into his time machine. Not quite dead, Mandroid’s last act is to absorb the force field’s energy to release his friends. (Two down, three to go!)

No time for the dust in their eyes, the remaining Eliminators race to stop Iron Caesar. They make it just in time to see his time pod disappear into time. Fontana rakes his hand across a keyboard in frustration at his lack of programming skills. Not that programming skills would have help—sorry, I know, Charles Band movie. Moving on…

Wouldn’t you know it Fontana’s discouraged motion, his anti-programming skills, actually managed to send Iron Caesar back to 400 million B.C. Everyone laughs. The end.

So, returning to the idea of common knowledge, we all know that a thousand monkeys typing will will eventually produce something Shakespearean, right? Well, who knew that one UHM-tard mashing keys can instantly change delicately precise time travel settings? Therefore, coming full circle, I suppose this demonstrates that the whole, arrived from the sum of the parts which themselves are all el zilcho, is 400 million B.C.? Or, to put it in scientific notation: Charles Band Joint.

roadside attractions

  • Wonder what in the hell is going on when the opening credits shows an airplane crash, Romans, and laser burlets!
  • Facepalm when you learn the one Asian character’s son is a Ninja!
  • Marvel at the intense boat chase scene—Harry “scoundrel” Fontana cuts the wheel left and right to loose their pursuers!
  • Delight In Madroid’s mettle as he overcomes his programming with a perfunctory, “No”!
  • Be Amazed by the laser-proof mesh wind screens on the bad guy’s 3 wheelers!
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

White washed Disney fare: a bloody nose, a scraped knee, a nasty hangnail.

1

blood

BREASTS

Denise has a wet tee-shirt moment. You can vaguely make out a nipple.

10

beast

BEASTS

Iron Caesar. I never saw that coming.

4.33 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “Eliminators”

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Dec

posted by Doktor | December 6, 2013 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, Action, B-movie Reviews, Review by Doktor

Comments Off on Exterminator 2

Tagline: The Exterminator – a one-man army obsessed with a single thought – Revenge!

Year: 1984 Runtime: 89 min

Director: Mark Buntzman

Writer: Mark Buntzman, William Sachs,

Starring: Robert Ginty, Mario Van Peebles, Deborah Geffner

Sigh.

I’m blue. Why? ‘Cos I’m a horrible person. I haven’t always been a horrible person. There used to be a time where I could sympathize and/or empathize with the plight of others. Now though…

I mean, vigilante movies are supposed to move you, right? You’re supposed to care about the characters. You’re supposed to be indignant with them, to the point of cheering them on in their killing spree. Aren’t you?

All I felt while watching Exterminator 2 was my gynecomastia for abnormal lumps. My moobs were tender and I was all emotional and, well, let’s say I was a mess and leave it at that. Weird how I was all emotional but couldn’t care less about the characters in the movie.

Take the protagonist, John Eastland, the Exterminator, a down-on-his-luck veteran turned vigilante. He’s driven to clean up the streets because his girlfriend, Caroline, is crippled by some street thugs who are seeking revenge on Exterminator. Caroline is a dancer with stars in her eyes. She was going to dance on Broadway. Not anymore! They took her dancing from her, and dancing was all she had (even if it was pole dancing in jazzercise tights at a local bar). And then there’s Be Gee, Exterminator’s friend from the war. He’s the kind-hearted trash man who’ll split his only sandwich with a local stray. Naturally he helps out his old war buddy and he gets killed during an ill-planned raid on a drug deal for his trouble.

Ok. So…

I can hear Buntzman say, “But Exterminator uses flamethrower. That’s cool, right?” Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it makes him a compelling character.

What about the villains? If they’re sufficiently bad enough it will make up for weak heroes, right?

The antagonist, Mario Van X, and his gang to Mad Max rejects, i.e. 80’s NYC street thugs, are about as intimidating as sparkly vampires. Actually, there’s a scene where Van X is looking all sexy, sweaty and shirtless, with a big X painted on his chest to look tough, but he’s been hosed with glitter. It’s like a unicorn exploded on him. Despite all his rage he’s still sparkly. He does have some kind of ESP which leads him to Exterminator’s hideout for the Final Boss Fight. While that’s pretty cool, overall Van X is meh.

Even when his gang’s being evil it’s unbelievable. When they get their drug shipment Van X sends Roller Skate Brother for a guinae pig. Since when is it necessary to kidnap someone to test your smack on? Remember, this is 1984 NYC. Forget the year, this is New York City! Junkies abound. Uhg.

Oh, and about Roller Skate Brother, nothing says thug life like jheri curl and roller skates.

And then there’s the culmination of the stuff that’s happened in the Final Boss Fight. Van X’s thugs go down quicker than sorority pledges during rush week, so there’s no point in bothering with saying more. The fight between Exterminator and Van X is basically a game of chase. There is a confusing bit where Van X pauses. There’s no good reason for him to give pause. He reloaded a fresh mag in his uzi and chased The Exterminator to within 20 – 25 feet. Exterminator is wounded, a leg shot, and can’t move very fast. Yet, Van X doesn’t shoot. He has a clear shot. Exterminator is right in front of him. Nada. Really?

Van X deserves to get blowed up!

To round out the logic of the film the final scene as credits roll is of Exterminator walking away. The warehouse is full of dead people, fire, guns, drugs, etc., and Exterminator is dropping incriminating evidence, piece by piece, as he stumbles off.

Then I remember something crucial: Exterminator 2 is another Golan-Globus production, the people responsible for cinematic turd Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Ah! Now it all makes sense. I’m not the terrible person, Golan-Globus are. Phew!

roadside attractions

  • Hear passionate Lurv song lyrics like “Come take my love. I’ll show you how!”
  • Witness the easiest armored car heist EVAR. A couple shots, a jump cut, and the truck’s stopped, driver’s dead and the thugs are about to pull the guy out of the back!
  • Suffer the indignity of the sex scene that’s about as erotic as a monthly breast self-examination!
  • Feel the Passion of Mario Van X as he “remembers” the bad times and it drives him to one-armed push ups!
  • Struggle to understand how the Exterminator can bust in through a door and then back out of the same door when crashing the big drug deal!
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Mostly crispy critters since a flamethrower is the Exterminator’s tool of choice, but there’s some bullet hits with some nice splatter.

2

blood

BREASTS

A couple flashes during the lame love scene.

5

beast

BEASTS

Mario Van X and his gang of 80’s thugs kinda qualify as beasts, right?

4 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “Exterminator 2”

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Nov

Comments Off on Thankskilling: Rest Stop Review Edition

Tagline: Gobble, Gobble, Motherf****r!

Year: 2012 Runtime: 99 min

Director: Jordan Downey

Writer: Jordan Downey, Mike Will Downey, Kevin Stewart

Starring: Daniel Usaj, Joe Hartzler, Preston Altree

Thankskilling is a no-holds-barred commentary on current state of narrative in filmmaking. Nah, not really. In actuality it’s just a bunch of pre-teen pee-pee and poo-poo jokes, expressed with a master crudity no child could muster. It would not surprise me to learn it was based on the rantings of a drunken sailor who, after a black-out night, had been awoken with a fire hose only to find himself way up a tree in downtown Bangkok, naked. Oh, and suffering from a fresh, oozing STD.

I’m pretty sure there’s a story,  but it’s hidden under many levels of absurdist stuffing. Imagine [adult swim] high on kerosene fumes mixed with Meet the Feebles. Oh, and a throbbing STD.

The cast of characters: Turkie, space worms (one with a John Waters ‘stache), Muff the robot, Yomi the naked puppet girl thing, Yomi’s mind, Old Nasty Grandma Rapper, the turkey plucker 3000, undead turkeys and a couple of Pilgrim enthusiasts. Oh, and fart jokes which leave a greasy, burning discharge.

Who would want to see this? Troubled ten to fifteen year old boys, Tommy Wiseau restrained Clockwork Orange style and on LSD, or people on death row after exhausting all appeals (they would welcome death).

In it’s defense, I gave Thankskilling 3 two wedges of cheese because it was beautifully shot, and the special effects were impressive considering everything else on the screen. And on this holiday where one gives thanks for the many blessings he/she has, I am thankful for the DP, the equipment, and the special effects editor. Oh, and that I survived. Only just. I’ll be on dialysis for the rest of my life.

So, from all of us here on The Lost Highway, to all of you out there, we wish you a happy and disease-free Thanksgiving.

Roadside Attractions:

  • See Turkie’s chainsaw enhancement (think Alexander’s four-legged robot in Robot Jox)!
  • Be Amazed by the 1993 style video game fight between Wise Turkey and Turkie!
  • Hear lots of dub step music!
  • Loose I.Q. points and vocabulary thanks to the gratuitous potty language.
  • Cry Yourself to Sleep only to suffer horrific nightmares about the horny old nasty rapping Grandma.

Check out the trailer for “Thankskilling 3”

trailers

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Nov

posted by Doktor | November 23, 2013 | 90's movies, Action, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Alienator

Tagline: In deep space, the deadliest animal is still woman.

Year: 1990 Runtime: 93 min

Director: Fred Olen Ray

Writer: Paul Garson

Starring: Jan-Michael Vincent, John Phillip Law, Ross Hagen

With an opening title of “Amazing Movies Presents” Alienator flaunts it’s quality like sharting your pantaloons while spreading Grey Poupon with pinkies out. And before I go any farther into the movie I need to dissect the tagline, “In deep space, the deadliest animal is still woman.” First, 90% of the movie takes place on Earth. Second, Alienator is a cyborg who only vaguely resembles a woman. In fact, all the ‘roids have made its jaw so hard and square I’m still not sure if it’s a female. Third, and most importantly, since when have women been considered the most deadly animal? Even if I was willing to give the movie some wiggle room here, assuming the maxim “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” that might mean women are the deadliest of the sexes. The deadliest animal? In all the worlds of deep space? I think somebody was having problems with his wife, girlfriend, lover (or all three) and didn’t have a dog to kick to blow off steam.

Enough with the Persnickety Priss, on to Alienator proper.

Alienator is a story about a bunch of detestable people who all deserve to die. The inhabitants of this “far-off corner of the galaxy” are unsympathetic arses. The ruler, Baal, is a tyrant. The leader of the rebels, Kol, is a sociopath who kills thousands of innocent people. And then there’s Jan-Michael “Airwolf” Vincent, i.e. Commander of Space Prison. I think Commander—that’s his name, or at least the only thing he’s called—is supposed to be a tough cookie who’s just doing his job, but Vincent plays him like a drunk foster parent with a house full of gingers.

Now I might be confused, and this movie sure doesn’t help clear things up, but aren’t we as viewers supposed to care for someone?

When the universe is full of worthless cretins guess what that means for the efficacy of the corrections system? It’s explosive intestinal rot on a 12+ hour flight nightmare. To put it another way, for a maximum security prison PLANET, this facility sure is easy to escape.

The blame lies squarely on the guards’ shoulders. Why? Because all the prison guards stand on the outside of the guard rails during a prison break/shoot out. The guard rails are there because this is a multi-level structure. I’m not sure how being in the danger zone is advantageous, but I have a theory. It makes for a dramatic death when they fall off. One would assume that not falling to their deaths be preferable, but what do I know.

At least the characters in Alienator are consistent with Sci Fi conventions. Namely, no one can shoot straight, much less hit their target. These idiots couldn’t even shoot themselves. Even the Alienator, a hunter with specialized robotic enhancements, can’t hit a target tied down and at point blank range.

So Kol, the rebel leader, escapes from Space Prison and ends up crashing on Earth. When he sees the Earth on his view screen he recognizes it, though how is never explained. Which is a good thing, because when the movie tries to explain itself things go horribly wrong (see first roadside attraction).

For most of the movie Kol is acting like he can’t breathe. He grabs at a collar on his neck, which suggests it has something to do with his distress. Yet, when he puts his fingers in between the collar and his neck there’s plenty of room. Was it randomly squeezing? Was it injecting him with something? Shocking him? Was it really hurting him? I just dunno. I don’t think the filmmakers did either.

Oh, another neat feature of the collar is that it’s a tracking device. Naturally this is a boon for the Alienator. Unfortunately, it’s a two-way device. For some reason it alerts the wearer that the hunter is close by. Is this a psychological feature meant to scare the bejesus out of the person? Why not make the collar do something cool like, uhm, I don’t know, stun the prisoner? Or, better still, have it blow off their head. Problem solved.

Wait… right. Sorry. It wasn’t in the script. Nevermind.

Kol wanders out of his ship and gets hit by the requisite group of college kids on vacation in their RV. Rick is the overbearing, self-serving jerk. Bennie is the smart one with glasses. Caroline is the blonde bimbo. And rounding out the group is Tara, the brunette. They scoop up Kol and take him to the ranger station.

At the ranger station, Ward Armstrong, the ranger, gets the story. Of course the kids don’t know much, only that they want to get out before they’re caught up in legal hassles. Kol violently comes to. He tells them he’s from another planet and on the run for his life. Both Ranger Ward and the Scooby-Doo crew believe it. Why not? Nothing strange about a space foreigner on the run from the space law. When Rick doubts the validity of the story he’s the “crazy” one.

Another reason why some people deserve to die. And right on cue here comes Alienator.

She indiscriminately kills people and destroys things, even when they are NOT interfering with her objective. The poor doctor who was summoned to help Kol is toasted for his troubles. Cars are vaporized. Ranger Ward’s cabin is shot up, and the sad part is, no one was in the cabin. She was just shooting the place up. She even kills the comic relief hillbillies. Though, in her defense, they were shooting at her.

Luckily for our heroes(?) when a ‘Roid Ragin’ Space Terminator™ comes to camp there’s a gun-crazy Colonel, with all kinds of illegal weapons, living within walking distance. While he doesn’t put much stock in the spaceman story, he is ready for a fight. Especially when it means he can use his anti-personnel mine.

While they are fortifying the Colonel’s hut, Alienator has a touching moment with a doe. Aw.

Then the final boss battle. Guns, crossbow bolts, and the anti-personnel mine don’t even scratch her tin can brassiere. What does bring her down is a net made of chicken wire. It short circuits her circuits which drains her power. How? See the first roadside attraction for the movie’s explanation.

At this point the movie knows it’s got nothing to loose, ‘cos it had nothing to begin with, so it pulls a M. Night Salamidingdong twist. Kol’s never made himself worthy of all of the trouble Ranger Ward and the Scooby-Doo crew are going through for him. Now that the Alienator’s dead, he uses is heretofore secret psi powers. He heals Rick who was almost choked to death. He then Force chokes Rick into submission. He Jedi Mind Tricks Rick into following him into the woods where finally he takes over Rick’s form.

HUH?

You mean all this time Kol had these powers and only now he’s using them. AFTER he’s been saved. And this is the “good guy” who’s leading the rebellion against the Great Tyrant Baal? But like all those purple nurples  you received by bullies in high school gym, the twisting isn’t over.

Alienator isn’t dead, but you knew that was coming. Rick (i.e. Kol) starts acting like a bigger jerk than usual, almost raping Tara in front of everyone. Another fight ensues, but it’s nerd boy Bennie who steps up. Ranger Ward initially stopped the assault but got shot for his trouble. While everyone, Colonel included, looks on at the one-sided fight between Rick (i.e. Kol) and Bennie, Alienator comes in from behind and cuts off Rick (i.e. Kol’s) head. The head turns back into Kol’s and he promptly vomits out Space Milk Blood™.

Alienator checks to make sure he was her target, the ONLY time she checks, and when satisfied calls in that the job’s done. Then, after almost being killed by these people, she tosses Ranger Ward a bag of loose gems (which she was hiding where exactly?) and bugs off like nothing happened. Oh, and she left her gun, too. Was that ‘Roid Ragin’ Space Terminator™ gratitude, or was her encounter with Bambi, while digging a punji stick out of her foot, the tender moment which warmed her icy, mechanical heart?

Does it matter?

No, it doesn’t matter because the movie still isn’t over. Back on Space Prison Planet there’s a final twist. It turns out that the Delegate General, who was at Space Prison Planet only as an observer to the execution, wasn’t who he said he was. He was, in fact—Kol’s father.

OH LORDY!

A light sword through the gut care of Commander Airwolf and all is wrapped up in a tangled mess.

roadside attractions

  • Be Amazed by gibberish explanations like, “The net’s created a perpendicular magnetic pole. It’s syphoning off her electrons in alignment with the Earth’s axis.”
  • Hear Alienator’s gun make light saber sounds & the light saber make laser blast noises.
  • Wonder how the light saber and sound effects got past Lucas.
  • Marvel at how 17 minutes into the movie they ran out of money for space special effects, causing the remainder of the film to be shot in some state camp ground.
  • Read all the credits for all the three named actors who took up the extra letters which left Teagan Clive to be billed only as Teagan.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There’s not a lot of blood, but there is yellow goo and Space Milk™.

0

blood

BREASTS

It tries to give us a little something, something in the Commander’s assistant’s top, but a cut out showing her bra is weak. Fail.

10

beast

BEASTS

I’m not quite sure who the bad guy was in the movie, so I’m giving the movie a ten because it had so MANY possibilities.

5 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for “Alienator”

trailers

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About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>