Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lost and found: CREATURE(1985)

One of my guilty pleasures in life is watching low budget sci-fi/horror movies and CREATURE, a film directed by William Malone, is certainly one of them. Anyone who has watched this movie, originally released theatrically back in May, 1985 knows that it is a blatant "Alien" rip off. In Creature(1985) we learn at the onset that two competing corporations, one American and one German, are vying to secure a valuable area of alien archaeological artifacts located on "Titan", a moon of the planet Saturn. The German corporation manages to land a spacecraft at the site on Titan first where two of its crew members, wandering through the ancient alien ruins, disturb a "sleeping" alien creature that quickly awakens, then attacks and kills them.

Later an American spaceship also lands at this site on the surface of Titan and, not surprisingly, encounters a hideous and bloodthirsty alien monster that immediately sets about stalking and killing the American team sent to the site.

Wendy Schaal in CREATURE(1985)

The alien creature in this movie looks a lot like the iconic "xenomorph" from Ridley Scott's Alien(1979). The monster kills by physical assault and numerous scenes show the hostile monster gnawing on the necks of its victims. The recently awakened creature also has the ability to transfer small, nasty looking spores to victims' scalps which render them pale skinned, wild eyed zombies and also dedicated to killing those still unaffected by the creature. The special effects are largely pedestrian and the acting is serviceable, enhanced to some degree for me by the lovely Wendy Schaal and creepy, leering Klaus Kinski. Kinski is later replaced by an obvious double after becoming infected by one of the creature's spores and "zombiefied".

There's some decent scenes of shock and gore in this film, the latter highlighted by one sequence in which a crew member(infected by the alien creature's miniature spore) has his head blown apart by another crew member packing a formidable hand held firearm. The reveals of the alien monster are brief and scatter shot throughout the movie, no doubt an effort by director William Malone to minimize the effects shortcomings of the monster which was obviously rendered through the use of "man in a suit". At the conclusion of the film we get a better look at the monster as it attacks and jacks up one of the movies' main protagonists, tossing him around like a rag doll outside the derelict German spaceship. The design of the alien creature is decent. The action sequences in which the monster attacks the crew members throughout this film not so much.

Long in the tooth: the monster in CREATURE(1985) looking for its next victim

The movie was made on an estimated budget of $750,000 and generated about $4.5 million at the box office. Creature(1985) was, according to IMDB, filmed in a 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio and I've seen some screen caps of this movie at German websites showing off marvelous looking widescreen images.

DVDs and VHS copies of this movie I've seen for sale at eBay, Amazon and other websites are all unfortunately in full screen(1:33.1) aspect ratios. My R1 DVD copy is the Diamond Entertainment release and is a VHS like quality transfer.

I've seen some mention that Retromedia, a few years ago, made some inquiries about securing original elements from this movie in order to release a widescreen version of CREATURE but thus far no widescreen release has happened. Maybe Blue Underground will show some interest in this movie...or not.

The American trailer for Creature(1985) aka "The Titan Find":