Xtro (Arrow Recommends)

Xtro (Arrow Recommends)
7 10

"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: Dad (Philip Sayer) gets abducted by aliens while playing with his kid (Simon Nash) and dog in the backyard. He comes back to his family 3 years later - not himself (putting it lightly). He starts sucking on his kid's skin, eats snake eggs, sniffs gas (?), melts a phone (???) and eventually toys come to life to cause a ruckus. What in the actual BLEEP is going on here? Welcome to the wonderful world of Xtro.

“If you think hard about something, you can make it happen" - Sam

LOWDOWN:  Motherf*cking Xtro. It was one of those creepy VHS box covers that ominously stared back at me from the shelves when I was a wee Arrow. That’s until I had the boulders to finally rent the thing and give it a whirl. Scenes from the film have been stamped in my feeble mind ever since. Xtro was yet another result of the mammoth success of ALIEN. But without the coin to set it on a spaceship, this warped tale took place in a quaint UK suburb, and personally it made the going-ons even more unnerving for this jackass.

Executive Produced by Robert Shaye via New Line (before Krueger made the company), this was definitely a flawed yet mucho compelling curiosity item. The filmmakers were often limited by their low budget (which resulted in sometimes amateurish SFX, lousy ADR or shoddy editing to convey a scene). And the story was BEYOND all over the place, with odd elements tossed out there for no reason whatsoever (Melting phone? Sniffing gas?) To be totally honest, I can’t say that I grasped the whole thing 100%. What was the alien's motive again? He just wanted his son? Was that it? A quick kidnapping could have sealed that deal in 10 minutes. Why the charade? Me no comprende cabrone!  

With that stabbed hard, all of the film's misgivings added to its morose and off kilter charm and I have to hand it to Xtro, it had ZERO problem taking the appalling route and reveling in it. So much disturbing imagery here. The dad sucking on his son’s shoulder (alien incest?), the seriously f*cked up rape/birth scene (one for the books), the twisted alien design, the revolting broad on a wall egg laying scene. Damn this movie went for the kill and didn’t give a hoot and I respected it for it.

Moreover, the story was so off the wall, so freaking bonkers, that couldn’t help but fall in love with it. It started off as an alien impostor movie (like Body Snatchers), then it went the infection route (Zombie style) and it it then took a sharp and unexpected turn into Twilight Zone territory with the brat being able to bring his toys to life size life (all about that GI Joe bit). Damn! How much acid was on that set? Like seriously, how much?

Granted the acting was uneven (I dug Bernice Stegers  as the mom and Philip Sayer as the dad but could have done without that Joe character) and that kid (Simon Nash) was a tad grating in places but it didn’t shave too many points off the flick. And yeah I didn't mind the sight of future Bond girl Maryam d'Abo strutting around fully nude without a care in the world. Sheer beauty! Art on two legs!   

Add to all that an over the top and psychedelic keyboard score that only jacked up the surreal feel of the whole, an overdone sound design that sometimes had me in stitches, a crawl under skin mood that did he trick and enough gory goods tossed at us to please the most fervent of gorehound and you get a revolting, mean spirited yet fascinating weird ass movie. It's one that every TRUE horror fan should see this nasty film at least once in the name of genre-ducation! I see it as a rite of passage ;)

Now, two sequels were made to this film, both streamlined by Xtro director Harry Bromley Davenport. We had Xtro II: The Second Encounter in 1990 with the great Jan-Michael Vincent and Xtro 3: Watch the Skies in 95 with The Wishmaster himself Andrew Divoff. I haven’t seen either but if I go by the trailers, they seem like more conventional humans trapped with alien in tight spaces offerings.

Maybe I’ll tap them someday (Should I?), may I never will. Can go either way. But one thing is for certain, the OG Xtro will always stay with me.  You can get the DVD here but be warned, it's mad expensive. SCREAM FACTORY should get on this ne in terms of a re-release with extras. It's right up their alley!



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