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ALIEN TRESPASS
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: R.W. Goodwin

Starring:
Eric McCormack
Jenni Baird
Robert Patrick
Dan Lauria

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

When a mysterious crash happens in the mountains of the Mojave Desert, Dr. Ted Lewis, a local astronomer, goes to investigate. Ted's body is taken over by Urp, the alien survivor of the crash. Urp wasn't the only alien to survive the crash, however. The Ghota, a one-eyed monster that won't be confused with a penis anytime soon, has begun snacking on the local inhabitants of Mojave. If it eats enough people, the Ghota will begin to multiply, with the resulting horde eventually consuming every inhabitant of Earth. Obviously, it's up to Urp to capture the Ghota before it's too late.

Is it good movie?

Fans of the B-movies of old haven't had much to go for, lately. The remake of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL flopped, and really, the market is more concerned with remakes of slashers for the time being. It's not all hopeless, however. Director R.W. Goodwin has come along with a send-up/parody of those old Roger Corman flicks that thankfully doesn't come off as something that came out of the collective toilets minds of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.

Right from the start, the film tries to put you in that golden era of 1957. Thanks in large part to the faux newsreel footage that begins the film, the sweet sounds of the theremin, and the bit about the film being 'recently discovered', the rest of the cheese of the Ed Wood-type films comes through easily. How else could you get a rubber alien monster suit to fit into the film, and pass it off as the villain? It also helps when your cast clues in and plays along with the director's idea. Every clichéd character you can think of from those monster movies from the 50s is here. From the moonshine-swilling hermit investigating the crash with his trusty dog, to the grizzled police chief a few days from retirement and his deputies, everyone's here.

Of course, cramming in all of these character types with the other B-movie mainstays has the unfortunate potential to become overdone and lead to an annoying mockery rather than a humourous sendup. Thankfully, ALIEN TRESPASS is able to walk the line between the two and never cross over into the area that makes you reach for another rum and coke (heavy on the rum).

The cheese starts to spoil in spots, namely when it comes to pacing. While the 84 minute running time goes off at a good clip, the film starts to drag a bit once you get over the hump of the first act. The film recovers in time to draw you back in again, thankfully. The other big problem is the fact that ALIEN TRESPASS may be too good at its job: viewers who aren't clued in on the intentional inconsistencies and hokey effects may pass it off as being a cruel joke at their expense. Obviously, that's not Goodwin's intention, but you never know with some people.

It's hard to believe that you won't chuckle once while watching this one. The gag works too well for anyone to not get what's going on here. From the simplistic yet effective premise to the blatantly obvious nods to the films that inspired it, ALIEN TRESPASS joins the likes of KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE and NIGHT OF THE CREEPS as effective parodies of the films that came before them. It might not gel with some people, but they're probably the type that enjoys having things spelt out to them beforehand.

Video / Audio

Video: The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is bright, vivid and colourful. Obviously, the movies that inspired ALIEN TRESPASS wish they looked this good. Detail is good for a standard definition disc, as is the clarity of the picture.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 track matches the video in its quality. You won't find those predecessor mono tracks belting out stuff like this. Great directional sounds compliment the wonderful score and crisp dialogue.

The Extras

First up is Watch The Skies, a behind-the-scenes bit that goes the in-character route by keeping the idea going that the film was 'recently discovered' under what was the Goldstone Estate and so on. While being only 8 minutes long, I can see that you'd be hard-pressed to keep the gag going for an extended period. Nevertheless, it's still an enjoyable look at the making of the film.

Next is Meet the Person, an extension of Watch The Skies that focuses on 'vintage' interviews of the cast, all the way from 1957. Note the Edwin R. Burroughs sound-alike.

And Now the Fake News breaks from the past to the present with two clips consisting of Eric McCormack being taken aback by the news that his dad's fright flick had been discovered after all this time, as well as a reporter's intro to a trailer the Goldstone Estate cut together for the film.

For those tiring of the gag (for shame!), Interviews centres on director R.W. Goodwin talking straight-up. Goodwin first talks about his fascination with 1950s sci-fi, then seguing into his idea for referential parody with the film. He also goes into his stuff on The X-Files, using the classic theremin instrument, and touching on audience response to his film. Eric McCormack chimes in on a couple of questions with thoughts on his character and the film's wardrobe.

Lastly, we get trailers for the film itself.

My only complaint about the supplements was that there was too little meat to the set. Sure, it's nice that they carried the gag about the film being 'real' for so long, but dammit, I wanted MOAR! That, and the fact that the poster for the film was jettisoned in favour of your typical floating head piece for the DVD cover. If you want folks to by your film, why not put some friggin' effort into the presentation?

Last Call

A fun little parody film that doesn't actually insult your intelligence as a movie fan with lame jokes and stupid ideas, ALIEN TRESPASS is a treat for those who miss the cheese of Roger Corman and Ed Wood films. While it would've been nice for more meatier extras, what's here compliments the whole parody nicely.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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