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MAN, you know you're the Kmart version of another franchise when the picture on IMDb is a faded crinkled movie poster, creases intact.
Not even the Kmart version, this is like the AIMS or Bradly's version. That shit they were schlepping right before they went out of business. I think I just dated myself...
Anyway, you may know that I'm a HUGE fan of circa 70-90s rubber monster creature features, and this movie delivered my favorite rubber monster as the Kmart version of Ridley Scott's masterpiece Alien. I always had a soft spot in my heart for this obvious Go-Bot (Transformers impostors of the 1980s... man, I really am dating myself) and used to rent this movie frequently when I was about 10 to 12.
The plot was a direct ripoff of Alien, the crew was practically a ripoff of Alien. The setting might as well been from the discount H.R. Giger bin. The movie might as well be called Ridley's Rejects... but I love it all the same.
I don't know why I love it. Maybe it's my giddy childhood nostalgia for the rubber monsters of my past, or maybe it's the complete wash of obvious borrowed material that always gives me some level of glee, but I love this movie.
In honesty, though, the acting wasn't half bad for horror, the partial FX were pretty solid for the 80s, and the atmosphere was spot-on.
The monster is neat, though not terribly original. It uses a parasite to control the minds of its victims and lures the rest of the crew out of safety with this strategy. It's clearly intelligent, as well as clever, which is a nice change from the usual bestial dynamic. While the damn alien is practically invincible to standard weapons, it's not dumb enough to fight off eight people, possibly armed with explosives, and instead chooses the tactics of divide and conquer using superior intelligence, and mind control. I can appreciate that. A practically invincible alien even convinced of its own superiority, opts not to challenge the human's too directly... I'm still waiting for a movie where the alien is feeble and relies on cunning and intelligence to capture its victims.
Sure, there's tons of obvious B-movie silliness that I could spend ALL DAY pointing out. My favorite is, "Why are there so many damn spiders in space?!?" Everywhere they go, there's fucking cobwebs. Where are the cobwebs coming from? Space spiders?
The ending always bothered me was well. The movie clearly establishes that the atmosphere will kill you in seconds, yet the hero spends something like two full minutes fighting the damn alien in the open atmosphere, without a space suit. You KNOW you could have just killed him off... I mean, there were two other survivors. Would it really hurt to just have the last two females be the only two survivors? Did a penis REALLY need to make it all the way through to the end? Hell, if you're going with bargain bin Alien themes, the only survivor should have been your dollar store Ripley clone.
All the same, I would recommend this movie to any rubber monster fanatics. I've always loved it and you likely will too.