Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Robert Austin, Danny Brainin, David Cardy, Maryam d'Abo, Robert Fyfe
Director: Harry Bromley Davenport
Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Three years after the disappearance of Sam Phillips (Philip Sayer), his young son Tony (Brazil's Simon Nash) pines for daddy's return when mom Rachel (Macabre's Bernice Stegers) takes up with another man. The fractured hou... more »
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When Tony grows up, he's going to be just like Daddy!
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Earlier this week I watched a thoroughly disgusting movie called Slugs (1987)...and tonight I watched Xtro (1983), another sloppy charmer featuring some wildly visceral and repugnant imagery. It's not that I mind the gross out stuff so much, but too much of it does create a strain on my gag reflex...oh well, don't weep for me, Argentina, as I follow the path, regardless of mucky entrails I may stumble over and slimy gristle I may slip on, in my perpetual endeavors in acquiring true, cinematic enlightenment. Co-written and directed by Harry Bromley Davenport (Xtro II: The Second Encounter, Xtro 3: Watch the Skies), the film features Philip Sayer (Slayground), Bernice Stegers (Sky Bandits), Danny Brainin ("John and Yoko: A Love Story"), Simon Nash (Brazil), and former Bond girl Maryam d'Abo (The Living Daylights, Timelock), in her cinematic debut (hers and her `twins').
As this English production begins we see a cottage in the countryside, and a man playing with his son in the yard. Shortly after the mother leaves, the skies turn dark, the wind picks up, strange lights appear overhead, and poof! the man is gone...fast forward three years...the boy, named Tony (Nash), who lives in the city with his mother Rachel (Stegers) and her boyfriend Joe (Brainin), still has nightmares about the event, one which no one believes happens, as the thought is his father, Sam (Sayer), just picked up and left, never to return. Until now. Once again some strange lights cruise the night, depositing something in the area where Sam disappears so long ago...something nasty. The creature finds an unwilling participate in a bizarre mating ritual (an extraterrestrial shagfest), which results in one of the more repulsive scenes in the movie as Sam makes his grand entrance (if you've seen the movie, you know what I mean). Sam then `arranges' a ride to the city for an awkward reunion of sorts with his family, bearing a gift for his son. Tensions rise as Rachael doesn't know what to make of her supposedly amnesiac husband, and Joe distrusts him completely, thinking his intentions are to try and pick up where he left off. Also, it seems Sam's picked up some strange habits since his return, like eating reptile eggs and purposely breathing gaseous vapors, along with giving his son a hickey you wouldn't believe...and then the killings start...a throat slash here, a bayoneting there...and what's the deal with the clown dwarf with the rubber hammer, seriously? And let's not forget about Analise (d'Abo), the live-in housekeeper...I don't think her job description included being the `eggbearer'. If I seem obtuse in my descriptions, it's intentional as to say much more would be to give away all the depraved, nasty little treats in store for those who choose to watch...
First of all, for much of the film I though Maryam d'Abo's character was named `Analease', like the lubricant, as that's exactly how it sounded whenever someone said it (her character's actual name is `Analise'). While watching Xtro, the often bloody, surreal, and often absurd and warped imagery reminded me of something you might see in a David Cronenburg (Shivers, Rabid, Videodrome) film, the difference being where Cronenburg's movies tend to present underlying, thematic assessments of modern beliefs, Harry Bromley Davenport offers up none of that, but rather a superficial mixing of curious sci-fi and grotesque horror with no ulterior motive other than to entertain. There is a structure within the story, but it's fairly fractured, even more so as the film progresses. Despite this, things did work themselves out (for the most part), and after the film ended a good deal of it made sense, so I would suggest, if you are going to watch this feature, to just sit back for the ride and not focus too much on that which will never be understandable (who says everything has to make sense in a film anyway?). The creepiest part of the movie for me was what happened to Maryam d'Abo's character, and her eventual role within the context of the story...a truly revolting fate, if you really think about it. One of the things that really impressed me was the special effects, and their level of sophistication...no computer generated images here. The humanoid grasshopper, the birthing scene, the implantation mechanism, the pulsating larva sacs, the creature near the end, all done very well and quite effective, in grotesque fashion. I thought all the actors did pretty well, but I can't help wondering now what their thoughts were at the time they were making this movie, given its overall mondo weirdo nature. Maryam d'Abo didn't have much of a part, but she's probably the most memorable particularly due to her willingness to appear nekkid...homina homina...all in all a creepy, low budget, decent production values film that wallows around in its own vulgarity, worth seeing if only to serve as a reminder that not all aliens eat Reese's Pieces and heal ouchies with glowing appendages. If you have delicate sensibilities and a weak stomach, best stay away from this one.
The picture presentation on this DVD is in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), and looks decent enough, but it could have used a little cleaning up. There are some noticeable elements on the picture, but nothing that stands out as major defects. The Dolby Digital mono audio track comes though nicely, and I have no complaints. There are some good extras, or `Xtras' (Get it? Stop it, you're killing me...), including two alternate endings, an `Xtra' scene (sans audio), a featurette titled `Xtro Exposed' (17:21), which is a great interview with the director who's a really funny guy, a theatrical trailer, and an Xtro gallery. The film was followed by two sequels, Xtro II: The Second Encounter (1990) and Xtro 3: Watch the Skies (1995), neither of which has much of anything to do with the original (I heard the second one, featuring Jan-Michael Vincent, is particularly craptastic).
If I learned anything from this film it's that you should never let an alien use your telephone, because it will cause it to get all hot n' melty...
This freaky british alien movie gets a pretty good DVD relea
Daniel W. Kelly | Long Island, NY United States | 09/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Super gory, nudity, bizarre surreal script, this movie really feels like a drug trip. Although it was made in 1983, it feels more like one of those weird 70s horror flix. Definitely a must see for fans of schlock. But beware the third movie, which is also on DVD. It's awful.
The film gets a 1:85:1 transfer, enhanced for widescreen TVs. The image is pretty sharp and clear. The print wasn't cleaned up at all, and there is a lot of specks, dust and hairs visible. The audio seems to be mono, but it is sharp and clear.
The 2 alternate endings are very short, one is nearly identical to the original, the other is a good alternate take, and the one deleted scene is only 35 seconds long. You also get an interview with the director and still shots of behind the scenes.
Now let's just hope xtro 2 makes it to DVD."
A strangely disturbing horror film
David Kaminsky | Edmonton, Alberta Canada | 05/21/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those movies (like the bargain-basement "Carnival of Souls" or the Japanese "Attack of the Mushroom People") which critics and audiences immediately write off, and yet the images and atmosphere seem to creep up in your psyche and stick with you for years. The concept: Daddy disappears, later returns a changed man, and everything falls apart. Sort of a wacky reinterpretation of the Judeo-Christian apocalypse, with Christ's return signalling the end of everything we know. The special effects are superb on this film, as evidenced in the rebirthing scene, but it is the unseen and implied which makes this film truly horrifying (what WAS that creature they ran into?). Philip Sayer is perfect as the quiet, transformed "father" of all the horror, and his performance is a large part of why the film is so disturbing. Maryam D'Abo adds little to the piece aside from her value as a sexual object (which she ultimately becomes in the film, in a horrific way). This film confounds our expectations, which all horror films should seek to do. Of course it is low-budget and low-brow, but that doesn't detract from its ability to frighten its audience. Years after I first saw it, this film still has the power to give me the creeps."
Great picture when you want entertainment (er, or a message)
cookieman108 | 01/24/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was the summer of '94, when randomly skimming through my idiotic Leonard Maltin movie guide, I discovered an intriguing yet haphazardly produced film entitled Xtro. After reading Maltin's critique, I was still curious of the films content, regardless of Maltin's bad review. Despite all the hubbub, I finally sat down in my new pad and watched this so-called bad movie. A quick opening scene zipped by, that of an Englishman Sam, played by Philip Sayer who's playing in the yard with his son Tony. Thereafter an Xtro, or alien, abducts Sam who then returns 3 years later as an alien. At this point Sam rapes a woman who then gives birth to a full grown man, the new and improved Sam. Monotony occurs when Sam return to his wife and the film dawdles in scenes where a midget clown turns Tony's nanny into an alien breeding machine. As you can see Xtro has its good and bad moments. However, even if these scenes (i.e. the pregnancy scene) may seem revolting, they were done for a reason:Hint, the birth of the 2nd coming (ala the film Begotten). If the director Harry Bromly Davernport had eliminated these ingredients for "family viewing" (ala, Leonard Maltin) we'd have motel art. In short, a composition is not completed until it has its colours, and Xtro is filled with 'em. Xtro represents the security from fear, disturbance, and bigotry; in effect Nirvana. As you finish watching the film you'll undestand why. I deeply recommend Xtro for cult buffs who relish grade Z production. However, those repulsed by gore should stick with a Spielberg production."