Friday, 1 August 2008

Movie Night - 31st July 2008

I have a number of comments to make in respect of last night's movie night and cannot help but agree with the majority of sentiments that have tumbled from Kochk's keyboard.

I would like mainly to talk about the film "Alien Apocalypse" which starred an "actor" called Bruce Campbell. Here he is advertising Old Spice as worn by our esteemed colleague Lemat;

SPOILER (although you are presumably reading this as we have watched bad sci fi so you don't have to) The plot of this film features 4 astronauts returning from some very non specific "Probe Mission" that has seen them come back after 40 years away. I can't remember for certain but I think they mention having been cryogenically frozen - the crew don't look all that old (a). This is inconsistent with a line later in the film in which the President of the US (b) (c) thanks Bruce Campbell's character for having sent a message back to Earth warning of the approaching alien attack fleet(d).

In a plot stolen directly from Planet of the Apes the returning astronauts find that the Earth has been taken over by giant termites (f) who have enslaved humanity to work in saw mills to feed them wood (really!? who made this stuff up). The aliens also, at least twice in film, bite off people's heads and swallow them (cue for hilarious headless body spurting blood effects). One of the aliens says "next to wood it (people's heads) is our favourite delicacy". One wonders how they decided upon thi if they normally only eat wood - I guess it must be an acquired taste!

The aliens appear to have pretty much subjugated all of humanity notwithstanding the lack of any apparent military capability on the planet bar infantry and one single armoured personnel carrier. Human slaves wear gags and forfeit a finger for each failed escape attempt. There is no obvious organised human resistance and they seem to have lost a lot of civilisation such as the concept of shaking hands and what doctors do. Also the only good looking human on new Earth has misinterpreted chamois leather as something to be worn as a bikini.

On the subject of doctors I would like to return to the subject of the "probe mission". As I mentioned we did not see the ship and we aren't told much if anything about what the mission was. The mission had a crew of four and when we first see them one crewmember has a broken leg. Let us assume that one, if not two, of the crew is a pilot what then would be the specialities of the other three crew? Well, in short, we are not told except that Bruce Campbell's character osteopath! An osteopath? I mean what sort of mission were they on? As someone who gets the occasional back twinge I know that a good osteopath is good to have on hand but equally so is a mechanic, a barber or chef! On a space mission I'm thinking that a pilot, an engineer, a navigator and probably a medic (rather than an osteopath) are probably my the highest mission priorites.

Anyway luckily Bruce Campbell's character is able to use his osteopathy skills to heal the people on Earth so that they will trust in him and follow his uprising against the alien termites. No really, that's what the film did!

I won't go into much more detail about this. For me the scene I remember most - from when I was curled up in the foetal position rocking gently back and forth to cope with this film - was Bruce Campbells screaming face in slow motion being covered suddenly in green alien goo. Like some horrific alien fetish porn film (although it is meant to be the character killing aliens with a sword). I felt ill after this and the only cure was that the film was over. Sadly this was only teh first film on a Bruce Campbell double bill - I may need some time before I can possibly cope with the second film "The Man with the Screaming Brain"

I give this film 9 Bela Lugosis on my bad sci-fi scale!


(a) Well in the sense that they obviously haven't been living in space for 40 years unless they left as children.
(b) or "USA", a collection of independent states that used to be part of the colonies
(c) The President is an old man who seems to be sitting in a very low rent looking bunker somewhere near Portland. When he later goes on the offensive against the aliens the President also wears an anorak.
(d) This film is so low budget that we never see anything of the alien attack fleet. In fact all we see of the alien technology at all are the energy weapons they carry and some sort of armoured infantry carrier about the size of a transit van. Said vehicle also seems to be larger on the inside based on the number of alien troops who are disgorged from it (e)
(e) Come to think of it we don't see Bruce Campbell's space ship either - except as a shooting star coming down from he sky. I feel cheated.
(f) Albeit these are invading alien giant termites rather than intelligent apes who have evolved and overtaken humanity (g)
(g) Disappointingly - especially given how cheesy this film is - no character says "get your hands off me you damn dirty termite!"

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