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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Alien Trespass

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Alien Trespass – Close Encounter of The Nostalgic Kind


I am a fan of those sci fic, horror films of the 1950’s, imperfect as they were with less than effective “special” effects, cardboard sets, props and corny dialogue. Even though they were made decades before the computer age and CGI effects could be implemented, they had an appeal and filled a niche for escapist entertainment.

Since then, the film industry has come a long way and continues to evolve with advancements that enhance the movie going experience. However, occasionally some filmmakers make a movie that is a spoof of an oldie, but goodie.   Examples are the comedies, Mars Attacks and the newly released animated Monsters vs. Aliens, among others.

It is obvious that Alien Trespass was a labor of love for director R.W. Goodwin (his resume includes the X Files TV series) who admirably captured the look and tone of those old sci fi B movies and even fits in a clever homage to the iconic monster film of that era, The Blob.  Although the story is filled with clichés and stock characters from sci fi movies of the 50’s, all the actors intentionally play it straight while dressed in period clothing and delivering some of the silliest but, true to form, lines. It’s all in the details and Goodwin did his homework.

The setting is 1957. Eric McCormack (of TV’s Will and Grace) stars as Dr. Ted Lewis, a pipe smoking astronomer/scientist whose body is inhabited by a space alien named Urp after he ventures away from home and his sexy, raven haired wife (Jody Thompson) and goes to investigate a flying saucer that had crash landed in a mountain in California’s Mojave desert. The benevolent creature, a Federal Marshal who oversees security in this quadrant, was sent to stop Ghota, a phallic looking, people eating monster with one eye and tentacles, from dividing and taking over the Earth.

Sticking to formula, what proceeds is a race against time as the silent, but deadly Ghota, who has the ability to make itself invisible and replicate begins devouring everyone in his path and leaving only a puddle of goop behind.

Among those who get involved in all the mayhem to try and save the human race before it is too late are some local townspeople, including Tammy (Jenni Baird) the feisty, heroic (an added twist!) blonde waitress at the local diner, a couple of teenage sweethearts, Penny and Dick (Sarah Smyth and Andrew Dunbar) who have trouble convincing the police they have been attacked by a creature from outer space, and earnest but non effective lawmen, Officer Vernon (Robert Patrick) and the Police Chief (Dan Lauria).

I imagine younger audiences won’t quite know what to make of this film or “get it”.  Based on the title and the fact they are used to sci fi thrillers that bombard audiences with high octane action and state of the art CGI special effects, they may be disappointed and consider this film as all too hokey, as it lacks all that.  In retrospect, those old films were hokey, although at the time of its original release audiences didn’t think so. It’s like checking out an old photo of yourself as a teen and laughing about how you looked in that awful hairdo or dress that was the fashion rage of the time.

Essentially, Alien Trespass will attract a limited audience. But, cinephiles and older audiences with fond memories of yersteryear’s creature features and flying saucer flicks, should appreciate this affectionate takeoff for all its worth; a safe and somewhat fun encounter of the nostalgic kind.

Feedback is welcome.