Sunday, June 1, 2008

Alien Species (1996)

Country: U.S.A.

Year Released: 1996

Cast: Charles Napier, Hoke Howell, Jodi Seronick, Ashley Semrick, Kurt Paul.

Director: Peter Maris.

Trying so hard it's too often hilariously awful acting, laughable 90s era CGI, and dialogue that vacillates between absurd and over-the-top ludicrous are just a few of the B-movie charms of this blatant low budget knock-off of ID4 (Independence Day). Of course it's not like you'd expect anything more of a movie where the only recognizable faces are those of character actors Charles Napier (Dinocroc, Return to Frogtown) and Hoke Howell (Bikini Drive-In, Alienator). And what movie is it that earns such glowing remarks? Why it's. .


So what exactly is this movie about?

According to the blurb on the DVD: "Huge motherships from an alien species sneak ominously into orbit and around earth. Lethal, bat-winged fighters descend to the planet. Citizens are abducted. Homes are destroyed. The invasion has begun. A small-town sheriff, two deputies and a professor discover the alien plan. With the secret to destroy the attacking space ships, there's a chance they can stop the alien invasion... for now."


My take: Two bargain basement CGI motherships lifted from some 3D FPS descend upon an cheesy looking CGI Earth, launch CGI craft that look suspiciously like altered renders of Cylon fighters, whereupon they abduct a cow, a teen boy, his teen girlfriend, vaporize the teen girl's dad, and are pretty much used as an excuse for unnecessary pyrotechnic explosions in which a lot of old junker cars are destroyed. Oh, yeah, and the thread holding this all together? It's all supposed to be part of an alien invasion. . . or something.


Actually the SFX are fairly decent for a low budget effort from circa 1996, not great, but okay. It's just the movie Is so utterly lacking that, well, the best example I can think of is from early in: The Sheriff (Charles Napier) is berating one of his deputies. The actor literally just stands there like a brain dead zombie. He doesn't react. Not even when directly questioned, thus leaving Mr. Napier to literally carry the entire scene!

Sadly that's the level of supporting cast competence on display almost entirely throughout this feature. On the other hand the creature effects weren't bad. Alas many will probably give up on the movie and thus miss out. For instance, at one point, after the aliens have attacked and the unlikely group of survivors have become trapped in a cave they get in trouble ala Frodo Baggins when . . .


Oh no they have a cave troll!

Unfortunately Alien Species is the sort of movie that starts out really slow tries to build up the action alas by time things really get going no one really cares anymore. It's a total buzz kill so you end up ejecting the disc to put in something else. However thanks to the Internet you can read and see more about the creature effects here. In short this is your typical low budget, released direct to video, alien invasion flick sans nudity. There's really not much more one can say about this fumbled non-epic.

Availability: While it appears this might have been released by Troma at one time my DVD of it, which is a double feature with Moon of the Wolf, is from Brentwood. This movie can be found in numerous of their multi-movie sets. If you want it I suggest looking for one of the multi-movie sets as it'll be cheaper plus you'll get more movies!

Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan

[This is an archived review. Orginally posted here.]

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