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by Jack Sommersby

"Double Trouble"
1 stars

Try an episode of the old TV sitcoms "Alf" instead.

The sci-fi/horror picture Creature, directed, co-written and co-produced by William Malone, is a blatant knockoff of Ridley Scott's extraordinary 1979 Alien that doesn't possess a whole lot in the way of imagination and little genuine reason for being. It's set on Titan, Jupiter's largest moon, where at the beginning a German space crew is gruesomely done in by a long-hibernating monster that breaks out of its chamber and proceeds to systematically slaughter all but one of the twenty-two crew members. Then an American crew descends upon Titan to acquire the deadly parasite, but their ship is severely damaged during landing, their oxygen supply starts being depleted, and they're temporarily stranded doing battle with the two-hundred-thousand-year-old slimy monster consisting of a lot of sharp fangs and two glowing red eyes. To offset the production's low budget Malone minimally uses the title antagonist and has parasites from it attach themselves to its victims, reanimating the corpses where they attack their former crew members, so actors with meager makeup can bear the brunt of the screen time whereas the alien itself can be sporadically utilized, and it just doesn't come off. Creature was shot in widescreen, but the director hasn't much instinct when it comes to the 2.35:1 aspect ratio - the compositions are mostly flat and give the proceedings a rather doughy appearance with overused, monochromatic blue lighting depriving the movie of tantalizing texture; in the entire ninety-minute running time there isn't so much as a single expressive image to be had. Granted, there are a couple of semi-neat special effects involving the infected crew's faces melting and being torn off, but the alien itself is cheap-looking and unconvincing, direly lacking the horrific primal terror of the shape-changing intergalactic monstrosity the master effects artist Carlo Rambaldi brought to Scott's box-office classic. All in all, Creature isn't terrible per se but is terribly ordinary - it never sparks the imagination the way true science fiction should, and doesn't instill a palpable sense of dread true horror tales badly need. It's negligible nonsense without a single scare to its credit, though it is afforded some temporary liveliness when the renowned out-there Klaus Kinski makes a cameo appearance as the sole German survivor, chewing up the scenery as if it were sauerkraut-smothered filet mignon and giving his single scene a healthy dose of true vitality that leaves the rest of the mediocre cast in the absolute dust.

Truly detestable is the abominable British production Inseminoid, another Alien clone that's outright boring when it isn't downright repugnant. A group of archeologists on a deep-space expedition visit a strange uncharted planet with two suns that holds an underground tomb where previous life-forms existed. They explore and come across some radioactive crystals that give off an incredible force; after some scientific tests it's determined they're in fact a food source for an inimical creature, which when (unimpressively) revealed at the thirty-minute mark kills one man and abducts his female partner, lays her on a table, and vaginally impregnates her with lots of sickly green seminal fluid. As was the case with Creature the movie attempts to hide its meager budget by making the central villain the character who's been grotesquely knocked up - she turns quintessentially homicidal and does in the crew members with superhuman strength while in between emitting oodles and oodles of painful pre-natal groans and shouts that after a short while were, in my book, amorally fixated on a woman's suffering. (John Hurt's doomed second-in-command in Alien went the whole childbirth thing, but it wasn't lingered over to the dubious degree it is here where you have nothing but contempt for the moviemakers.) The director, Norman J. Warren, has no discernible talent to remotely speak of, thrusting one unremarkable, poorly-shaped scene after another onto the silver screen to such a ruinous degree it's a real miracle they managed to stick to celluloid in the first place; there's zero in the way of atmosphere or suspense to be had, and time and time again you can't help being disgusted at how cheaply exploitive the screenplay is with the invention level in the negative double-digits. (I've seen dog-food commercials with more artistic integrity.) Inseminoid has no purpose but to disgust, and it wears this disreputable honor proudly as if turning off an audience were synonymous with "risk-taking," but truly enjoyable works of art on a guilty-pleasure level recognize genre expectations and infuse them with imaginative elements, much like the excellent 1982 Roger Corman-produced Alien clone Forbidden World had in spades, with the lurid violence and gratuitous nudity in good spirit and was all of a disarming piece - leaving the theater afterward you didn't feel rotten for having sat through its breezy seventy-seven-minute running time. By the same token, witnessing the insidious Inseminoid is akin to watching a white-trash simpleton drown puppies for ninety-two minutes and seeing his rotted-toothed grin proudly acknowledging his dastardly deed.


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originally posted: 12/17/20 13:37:11
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