November 25, 2013

Movie Review: Alien from the Deep

If you want crazy and absurd genre films, you need look no further than Italy. During the 1980s and 1970s, they churned out a cornucopia of absurdity. Some are classic, some are not so, but so, so many of them are so gloriously entertaining. The movie in question came out near the end of the glory era, but still manages to bring a solid slice of entertaining absurdity. The movie is called Alien from the Deep, was released in 1989, was directed by the late Antonio Margheriti (Cannibal Apocalypse, The Last Hunter), and features the instantly recognizable Charles Napier (Rambo: First Blood Part II). On top of that, it is another Italian rip on Alien.

Alien from the Deep is like two movies set on a collision course with each other. On one side you have a green peace versus big chemical in the jungle tale and on the other is a mutant alien that wants to destroy everything. Well, Margheriti and screenwriter Tito Carpi (Last Cannibal World) set them on a line, one heading straight for the other and just let them go. Forget logic, just let them collide and have the pieces fall where they may.

As the movie opens, we are introduced to a couple of Green Peace agents, Jane (the lovely Julia Mc. Kay) and Lee (Robert Marius). They have paid a boat captain to take them to a remote island where a chemical company is dumping nuclear waste (don't ask) into an active volcano. The plan is to sneak in, gather intel and video footage, and expose their transgressions to the world.

The first half of the film follows these two as they sneak across the island and with the help of native villagers (which allows Jane to say: “Me, Jane.”), sneak into the chemical facility. It doesn't take long before they are able to get their video evidence and get found out by security, run by an army colonel (Jack Napier) who will stop at nothing to catch them and get the video tape. Lee gets captured pretty quickly, but Jane is able to escape into the jungle, where she meets up with snake venom farmer, Dr. Geoffrey (Luciano Pignozzi), who helps her get away. This meeting leads to some amazing hilarious exchanges, such as when Jane calls him a snake squeezer.

Anyway, Jane is dead set on recovering the tape and exposing the company, plus she wants to try and rescue Lee. As this is going on, more waste is dumped into the volcano, drastically increasing the energy available. This energy spike attracts what is thought to be a meteor but is actually an alien creature. This creature begins to wreak havok on all in its path and shows no preference to either the chemical guys or the green peace guys. It swings its large claws around and destroys!

So, while the Colonel remains a nasty piece of work, hell bent on protecting the interest of the company and taking out his vengeance on the Green Peacers. At the same time, everyone's attention is split with the monster waiting around every corner.

It is pretty clear the alien is inspired by HR Giger's designs with its biomechanical look. The Alien allusions do not stop there as the climax features the heroine in her undies using a frontloader against the giant, slime dripping creature. Remind you of anything? On top of that, it brings in memories of Godzilla with another weapon that, when described, made me think of the Oxygen Destroyer.

Now, Alien from the Deep is hardly a good movie. You could even go so far as to skip the first 45-minutes and not really miss anything. Still, I enjoyed the heck out of this thing. The dialogue is absolutely hilarious, you have to love the snake attack where the snakes seem to jump onto the guards, as well as all manner of other nonsense. It may not be the best example of the Italian rip off, but there is no denying the entertainment value.


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