Back to the Drive-in: Creature (1985)

In 1979, the science fiction genre wasn’t new to Hollywood… far from it. There was many a B-movie along with a few mainstream favorites that invaded your local drive-in. Yet it was then that director Ridley Scott created one of the most frightening motion pictures ever made. With ALIEN, he not only terrified audiences he also opened the door to filmmakers trying desperately to re-create that magic. One such film - directed by William Malone - stands out as being one of the wackiest and weirdest of all the space horror flicks. Part ALIEN, a little bit of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and a heaping helping of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, the film was tailor made for a late night screening under the stars.



Imagine a space saga where the girls looked straight out of an Eighties music video and the sets are so very obvious and cheap. Add to the proceedings a black and slimy “creature” that borrows more than a little from the “Xenomorph” from ALIEN yet is slow as molasses and pretty damn dumb. That my friends is CREATURE (aka TITAN FIND). In the opening sequence, two spacemen are looking at canisters containing frightening looking specimens. One of the containers is cracked, yet they think that it would be an awesome idea to take some photos sitting on said container. Well at least it seemed fun until something makes the one sitting on the unknown object spew up blood into his helmet. Or how about scientific lingo that has an expert talking about setting up a computer by putting the computer stuff inside or something along those line. It may not be scary, it sure as hell isn’t smart, but it is a drive-in dream thanks to its low-budget charm. Well sort of.

Director William Malone works hard with what he has as he throws the mom from “American Dad” into a Ripley light role – only without the strength or intelligence. Yet Wendy Schaal looks cute and perky and she knows how to stuff a computer with wires and such. Then there is the rest of the crew who gets picked off one by one thanks to their moronic sensibilities, they include Stan Ivar, Lyman Ward and Diane Salinger as a BLADE RUNNER inspired guard named Melanie. Yup, a tough as nails guard named Melanie! And then there is German superstar Klaus Kinski (FITZCARRALDO) who chews so much scenery there is barely anything left for anybody else. To say this is bad would not necessarily be fair. I would think that the term ludicrous would be more fitting. CREATURE begs, borrows and steals from a ton of better films but it does it with a real sense of fun.


How about a naked chick ala INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS sound to get off your space rocks? Well CREATURE has got one. She’s got big hair and bright eye make-up to boot. After a brief love scene between Susan and Jon (Marie Laurin and Robert Jaffe), she is soon killed off by the main murdering monster. Later, while Jon is sulking by a giant window on the spacecraft, she appears only to sink down out of sight. When he searches for her, she undresses to her birthday suit and is ready to get down and dirty. It’s a shame that their love scene ends with zombie-like Susan (not a zombie per say, more like mind-controlled) to pull off Jon’s helmet leaving him gasping for air. At least Marie showed off her assets for all the horny bastards watching before killing off her f*ck buddy.


Well this one is a difficult choice. There is a ton of laugh a minute moments that are worth mentioning. The best and brightest maybe the last half hour or so chase sequence involving a very dim Beth Sladen (Schaal) being chased by another “zombie like” character, this time it is that crazy German guy Kinski bringin’ in the fun. It is amazing she can walk in a straight line considering how inept she is at running away. And if this German dude is trying to kill her why does he bring her to the Russian spacecraft for safety after she passes out? In this universe, logic is non-existent.


To be fair, some of the galactic monster effects are pretty groovy. It is especially fun to see one of the infected crew members head explode which might even give some viewers a shock (or not). Or maybe it is simply wishful thinking and my memory of it is more exciting than what actually happened on screen. Either way, it was bloody fun times - even if it was my memory that enjoyed it. There is some pretty terrific gore during this little bit of sci-fi horror considering the limited budget.


I’m a sucker for Eighties horror movie themes because they actually went for the creepy factor. With the screeching of strings and the building orchestration, the original music by Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker makes this sound pretty epic. You almost have to take it a little more seriously because of this killer score. It might even be worth checking out the music on its own and seeing how effective it is separately from the film itself.


For a double bill you can’t go wrong with another cult classic called XTRO. The bloody sci-fi flick features loads of gore, British accents and some really cheesy dialogue. As much fun as CREATURE is on its own, it would be thrilling to see what happens when these nasty aliens arrive on earth and cause some serious havoc on us measly humans. These two fine features represent the best of the worst of the ALIEN rip-offs and let’s thank the “Engineers” that we have these two goofy little movies to enjoy. And make sure that you are well supplied for your space travels with the right amount of popcorn, soda and gooey stuff… what kind that is really depends on what happens between you and your date.


Extra Tidbit: What is your favorite ALIEN ripoff?



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