There is a certain member of movie fandom that loves old movies. And each genre has its own devotees. Classic musical fans love the MGM musicals. Horror fans the Universal classics. And science fiction fans love those bug eyed monsters invading earth from the stars. The film ALIEN TRESPASS pays homage to those films while placing a tongue firmly in cheek.
The story begins (in the extended version) with the grandson of the film's producer and the grandson of the film's star introducing the picture. Of course they carry on the fight that began with their grandfathers over the film and then allow it to begin. The film had been shelved for years and now they'd decided to release it.
The story begins with astronomer/professor Ted Lewis (Eric McCormack) watching the skies while cooking on the grill as a meteor shower begins. But when a large meteor lands nearby, he abandons his wife at home to investigate.
As we already know, the meteor was actually a spaceship crashing. And while we watch, an alien in space gear exits the ship and wanders about. When Lewis shows up, his mouth opens to scream but before we can hear the scene changes.
Cut to lovers lane where teens Dick and Penny are parked. They have seen the crash as well but think it was just a meteor. As Penny pushes away Dick's advances and encourages him to leave the area, they are confronted by a 6 foot tall, one eyed, tentacled creature. The care starts and they escape. But who to tell? No one will believe two teens in the 1950's.
The local police think it's all a prank when people begin missing and the teens tell their tale of a monster on the loose. But all the while Lewis, now possessed by the alien, hunts down this monster. With the help of waitress and aspiring artist Tammy, he tracks down the alien and explains what is going on.
It turns out the alien's name is Urp and he was transporting the Ghota to a prison planet when it forced his craft to crash. Now they have just a few hours before the Ghota divides and begins a quest for world domination based on its hunger. They only have a small amount of time to save the planet, but how can they do so with no help from the local law?
The movie plays it straight as if this actually was a film made during the science fiction craze of the fifties. Everything from the sets to the styles to the acting screams low budget B-movie cheese. The people who made those films truly thought they were making something special, which we now can recognize that they did. At the same time they were making some of the campiest messes ever placed on celluloid.
The movie doesn't knock those early films though. Instead it is paying tribute to the films that came before, giving a wink and a nod to film buffs along for the ride. The actors actually act as we recall the actors from that time period acting in these films. The monster is extremely low budget looking but functional. Amazingly enough the only thing that doesn't look lifted from that time period is the cinematography.
McCormack does a great job as grandfather/grandson. While the elder of the two spoke as if he was the greatest actor alive, McCormack shows his pompous side as is that of his grandson. Robert Patrick shows up as an obnoxious sheriff who takes the teens in town to task just for being young. Dan Lauria turns in a steady performance as the town sheriff who doesn't believe but begins to do so as the body count rises and pools of goo are left in the wake of the Ghota.
Directed by R. W. Goodwin who wrote several period piece episodes of THE X-FILES, the film shows his love of movies like THE BLOB and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE with a touch of I MARRIED A MAN FROM OUTER SPACE tossed in. You get the sense he has a true admiration of the genre and perhaps can encourage a new generation to seek them out.
ALIEN TRESPASS isn't a perfect film. It also might not be for certain tastes. But it does offer an entertaining evening for rental that the entire family can watch together. Fun, homage and the confrontation between man and alien make for a film worth watching. "
Raskolnikov | Ca, USA | 07/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw this panel at WonderCon, I knew it was going to be a hit. The movie did not disappoint! I love the writing, the scenery, and the homage o the classic 1950's sci-fi films. It's a must have for your collection folks."
Fine to watch repeatedly. A cute little movie.
Tom Brody | Berkeley, CA | 11/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"ALIEN TRESPASS starts with a black and white newsreel called, "News from around the world. Nov. 21, 1957." The voiceover says, "At Cape Canaveral, another probe into space--target the moon. A 52 ton multi-stage rocket combining elements of the Thor ICBM and the Vanguard is ready for firing." The next newsreel continues with the outer space theme by showing Santa Claus in a flying saucer at a Christmas parade in Allentown, PA. We see a little girl crying at the parade. The next part of the newsreel documents the cancellation, by Hollywood moguls, of the release of ALIEN TRESPASS.
FLYING SAUCER LANDS IN THE DESERT. Then the actual movie begins and it is in color. The movie proper starts in the apartment of a young woman, Tammy. She's doing a little painting of a horse while watching, on television, an interview with an astronomer. Then the woman looks up to see a meteor shower outside her window. Then the movie cuts to two teenagers making out in an automobile, and they see the meteor shower too, as well as a flying saucer crash landing nearby. We then see the door of the flying saucer open, and a squid monster comes out and eats a coyote. Next, a silver-garbed alien comes out. He is nine feet tall, just like the Kanamits in TO SERVE MAN, a famed episode from the Twilight Zone. But the silver-garbed alien is good, as his mission throughout the film is to hunt down and capture the dangerous squid monster. (We are never really told why the alien had the squid monster in the first place, though this is not really important to the story. All we are told is that the Ghotas had disabled the plasma injectors on the flying saucer.)
The opening minutes of this film contains a very clever cinematographic transition: The nerd-like astronomer is chatting with his bride, and ignores the barbeque in the back yard. In an instant, the steaks catch on fire and flames rise upwards from the barbeque grill. Then, the movie cuts to the crash-landing of the flying saucer, just beyond a hill in the desert. We see a flurry of flames rising from just beyond the hill. The flames from the barbeque and from the crash-landing take on the same configuration.
COMIC RELIEF IN CAFÉ. Comic relief comes from banter between an older policemen (Vernon) and a young, new policeman (Barney) in a café. "No, no, that's not it. PPP is proper police procedure," says Vernon. "PPD is an unknown DUA." Barney replies, "But I though that was a PPK." "No," interrupts Vern," PPK is what you do behind a tree after you see a stiff." More comic relief comes from teenagers in the café. A first teenager wants to go out to the desert to find and view the crashed saucer. But a second teenager prefers to stay in town to see a display of a new model of Ford automobile called an Edsel. The first teenager replies, "Edsels will be around forever, but this won't." (Baby boomers will remember that the Edsel was the least successful automobile model in history, and it became a household word meaning a failed invention.)
THEME OF SALT. Early in the film, the pipe-smoking astronomer goes to the crash site, and enters the saucer. But the alien captures him and occupies his body. The alien then drives into town and befriends the astronomer's lovely new wife and, at a later point in the story, Tammy the waitress. The wife and Tammy kiss the alien, at different points in the story, and the alien observes his sensation as "hormonal polarity." The alien sits at the breakfast table at the astronomer's home and tinkers with a salt shaker. "This will harm the Ghota," exclaims the alien to the lovely wife. This is where the theme of salt makes its first appearance.
REDNECKS IN PICKUP TRUCK. More comic relief comes from two likeable rednecks (Lloyd and Bubba) in a pickup truck, as they drive through the desert. A radio announcement proclaims, "Friends, do you have tired blood?" Lloyd turns the radio down. "Hey Lloyd, leave it on," complains Bubba. "It's all trash," says Lloyd. "I want to hear it, I think I've got tired blood." Lloyd responds, "No, you've got lazy blood, there's a difference." The radio continues, "Do you have that run-down feeling?" Bubba then says, "I think I've got that run down feeling." To this, Lloyd exclaims, "If you so much touch that radio, I'm going to throw you out of the truck and you're going to have that run over feeling." At this point, a Ghota appears, and the Ghota first eats Bubba, and then it eats Lloyd.
FURTHER PLOT DEVELOPMENT. The teenagers get more interested in the flying saucer, and one states that he has a new invention, the Polaroid camera, useful for taking photos of the crashed saucer. Another teenager, his friend, is confused as he'd never heard of Polaroid cameras, so he answered, "a paranoid camera"? Then, there is a domestic scene in a house where a young boy and his older sister get attacked by a Ghota, but escape. The policemen, Vernon and Barney arrive at the scene. But Vernon who investigates inside the house, gets eaten by a Ghota. This domestic scene has all kinds of subtle nuances, and many examples of excellent acting and scriptwriting.
MORE SUBTLE PLOT DEVELOPMENT. This scene takes place on the lawn in front of a house. A little girl is scared of imaginary bears. Her mom tells her not to play wolf. But moments later, a Ghota appears and eats both of them. The scriptwriters certainly know how children speak and think!
Betsy, what is it now?
Mommy, there's bears out here. They're trying to eat me.
Remember what happened to the little boy who cried wolf?
But it wasn't a wolf.
It was a bear.
(A moment later, a Ghota appears and eats the mom and child, though the viewer is spared seeing the actual attack. All we see is the slimy liquid residue of both victims on the lawn.)
MORE ON THE SALT THEME. We are treated to some local color in the cafe. At an early point the cook puts a meal on the kitchen counter and proclaims, "Number 5, dry and dirty!" At a later point in the movie, the same cook puts a meal on the kitchen counter and proclaims, "Number 5, number 2, hot and sweaty." (I am not sure what "hot and sweaty" means, but it seems to be an interesting tidbit of cook's lingo.) Tammy accidently spills a jar of sugar, so she vacuums it up. But the vacuum cleaner has no bag in it, and sugar gets sprayed all over the customers in the café. This theme is developed later on, in the cafe, when Tammy throws salt at a Ghota in the cafe, enabling her to escape. And later, when the Ghotas enter a movie theater and attack the patrons. Tammy dumps salt into a vacuum cleaner, and sprays salt at the Ghotas. This would have made an excellent turning point in the movie.
Unfortunately, however, the impact of the "salt theme" is ruined because, in the theater scene, the salt does not do anything. In other words, from the very start of the movie, the movie had dropped repeated hints about spilled salt, or spilled sugar, or sugar or salt being sprayed in a vacuum cleaner. But, for reasons unknown, the salt had no effect in the theater scene. This is my only complaint about ALIEN TRESPASS.
(Please note that in THE BLOB, the theme of coldness as a means to immobilize the blob monster develops early. We first learn that the blob does not like the cold in the scene in the meat storage room. Then at the very end of THE BLOB, the townspeople immobilize the blob by shooting carbon dioxide from fire extinguishers at the blob. Thus, in THE BLOB we find a coherent development of this theme.}
CONCLUSION. This is an excellent little movie. Every minute of ALIEN TRESPASS sparkles with cleverness and suspense. ALIEN TRESPASS is fine for children aged nine and up. The squid monsters (Ghotas) will likely be scary to younger children. There is not one single bad word in the movie. There are no overt sexual images, language, or themes. The goal of the movie was to replicate the look and feel of a late 1950s science fiction movie. Hence, the film subjects the viewer to a certain amount of "retro trivia," namely, references to Edsels, to the newly invented Polaroid, to the tired blood advertisement, and to the movie THE BLOB.
Fortunately, ALIEN TRESPASS refrains from beating this theme to death, and it refrains from subjecting the viewers to well-known pop songs or celebrities from the era. It is interesting to point out, that the cafe scenes and the scenes with the teenagers in their automobile all have some sort of doo-wop music in the background, but none of this music is from a recognizable pop song. Louis Febre composed the excellent music for the film. The lighting is excellent, for example, we often see shadows cast by the sun filtering through venetian blinds.
To understand the very last minute of this movie, it might be good to watch the movie two or three times. In other words, you might need to watch the movie three times to understand why Tammy is driving off with her pickup truck filled with furniture.
Enjoy It Coz We Won't See Many More Like It.
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 08/20/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alien Trespass is a fun movie. It's a quirky film that playfully tries to pass itself off as a "lost" sci-fi epic from 1957 that has recently been discovered. Well, the bright color and limited use of computer effects blow that out of the water. Not to mention a character saying, "I gotta take a whiz". But this movie isn't trying to replicate a 50s film to the letter, instead it's done in the same style as far as the storyline goes, as well as the acting style. The plot takes elements from classic 50s sci-fi films and puts them in a blender for an entertaining story. In the film, an intergalactic "federal marshal" named Urp lands on Earth to apprehend a Ghota, which looks like a large pickle with tentacles and one eye. Temporarily using the body of a pipe smoking astronomer, Ted Lewis, the spacecop clumsily makes his way through town, knowing practically nothing about how to interact with human beings. Meanwhile, the dreaded Ghota is going on a killing spree, eating everyone in it's path and leaving only slimy puddles behind. The disappearances get the police thinking the culprit may be Lewis, as his new and bizarre behavior is suspicious. Plus, there are various people including two teenage lovers, who have seen the Ghota and are trying to convince people. The only one who seems to believe the incredible story is a waitress at the local diner who teams up with Urp for the big showdown with the Ghota. This film is a tribute and an homage, but it is not a parody or spoof exactly. I've never been all that fond of spoofs of this kind of material as they seem unnecessary. After all, you're trying to spoof something that was already funny to begin with. Since the acting and writing style here are in the vein of the 50s, the laughs don't come from wink-winks and nudge-nudges to the audience, but instead come from the same things that made you laugh at those old movies. The acting is impressive(especially from lead Eric McCormack) considering that trying to learn the acting style of this time period and genre can't be as easy as it looks. It's not perfect by any means. I feel it should have been done in Black & White and eliminated the scarce computer graphics altogether, as it tends to go against the overall cheapness the movie is going for. Oh, well. The disc has some nice extras with "vintage" interviews with the cast as well as legitimate interviews with director Goodwin and Eric McCormack. Many folks are gonna walk away from this thinking it's terrible, especially if they have no clue what the whole thing was supposed to be. But to us oddballs that adore the schlocky sci-fi films of the 50s, Alien Trespass is a real treat."
They're Having Fun! But....
Lorenzo M. in the Hollywood CA Area | North Hollywood, CA USA | 06/08/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay - why did I rate it so high?
Three reason; #1 - It doesn't not intend, nor does it try, to take itself seriously. It is a 'serious' parody of the classic sci-fi films of the 40's, 50's and 60's. It made me smile many times and even laugh out loud at how many of the older films in this genre really did these gimicks. (And they WERE taking themselves very serious!)
#2 - It's colorful. Watching this farse of a parody makes the colors jump at you from the screen. The costumes, cars, sets, props and even the decore are all smack out of 50's Life Magazine. You can't help but look at everything in the frame.
#3 - Eric McCormack - Always a fan of his in the 'Will & Grace' TV show - I feel he was taking a very serious approach to the project. 'Playing' it as if it were real and being shot in the 50's. Playing a duel role - Im sure he had a greta time doing it.
In fact he did. How do I know - he told me at a pannel at the 2009 Comic Con convention for the Alien Tresspass assembly. Along with the director and orginal artwork from the film - they gave the information and great detail as to what went into it.
The story is simple: Aliens need humans for food. An alien policeman is defending Earth from invasion and he is in the form of a human he takes over (surprise!) - Eric McCormack. Of course he......well I don't want to ruin it for you!
I can appreciate the performances and the people on the production side very much, but watching made me look at some of the old classic films (Forbidden Planet, Them, The Fly, The Day The Earth Stood Still) and wonder - did they know what they were making at the time?
I liked it for its pure non-sensical form, mimicking style and bright colors. I think you will too. 6-8-10"