There are four official ALIEN movies, two films where they square off against Predators, and at least a hundred knockoffs by various studios who wanted to release their own version of what was perhaps one of the greatest horror films of all time. This is HORROR PLANET, a British film about pesky humans making first contact with creatures from beyond the stars who don’t like us much. I saw the movie poster for this thing and was immediately captivated by what looked like the depiction of horrified scientists playing laser tag with a woman’s newborn alien baby. Compared to what actually goes on in this film, my crude, incorrect interpretation of the box graphics could have certainly provided the storyboard to a much better, if not sensible, film than what actually unfolded here over the course of 93 minutes. Let us touch down on this Horror Planet for ourselves and explore the deepest reaches of space firsthand. (If not suffer the ultimate depravity of my usual selecting a film to review solely by choosing one with the most perverse cover art).
HORROR PLANET is the tale of an intrepid group of explorers who are reconnoitering caves on Jupiter’s moon of Xeno using lens filters that simulate alternate atmospheres, and smoke machines and suits that suggest the presence of an inhospitable, dangerous atmosphere. In what seems like a creepy, almost startling correlation with the recent ALIEN sequel/prequel, PROMETHIUS, this small group of twelve archaeologists have been sent to decipher the cryptic alien writings of an underground structure, and to gather any evidence of life that they may find. Of course, if you have ever seen any ALIEN film by now, you know that some unlucky crewmember will have a firsthand awakening with a species that was probably better left sleeping. In the Case of H.P., that crewmember is none other than Sandy (Judy Geeson) a comely crew member who gets raped by a rubber alien caterpillar patriarch who looks like one of the extras from JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. If this disturbs you, don’t be afraid! This creature will never be seen again for the duration of the film. Sandy however is not in a good way. Not only is she carrying an alien offspring from a mystery monster father, but her personality has somehow mutated from “perky, inquisitive female scientist” to “evil genius superhuman bitch”.
Apparently, as part of her pre-birth “nesting” mode, she feels the need to instinctively kill each and every other human member of the crew, often times pausing to cannibalize a corpse. As always in these films, it’s a claustrophobic nightmare, taking place in a stranded, dangerous location as a few heroic characters battle to survive against a single powerful monster that can seemingly move anywhere, and kill anyone while Moog synthesizers blare incessantly, reassuring you that this is, indeed, the future (at least according to the every B-directors vision of it in the eighties). Of course, because this is an ALIEN clone, a mandatory 90% of the crew will end up disemboweled or otherwise dead after their close encounter with Sandy. Eventually our mean alien mother gives birth to a couple of crudely articulated puppets who resemble something concocted by a crack head equivalent of Jim Henson. Thankfully they are homicidal as well, and together these alien beings work in concert to eliminate much of the rest of the crew if not the remaining running time of this film with a renewed sense of pacing and purpose missing from the film since the early insemination sequence.
I don’t know if you can tell by now, but I really disliked this film; the costumes, special effects and props all looked like the “cheap versions” of the old SPACE 1999 TV show sets. Also, Sandy was a terrible antagonist. She not only had zero prosthetic or creature effects to indicate how bestial she was becoming, but she was simply much too powerful. Not only was she immune to the deadly atmosphere that killed countless crew members, but she could use tools, communicate with her victims, had the strength of ten men, and fed on human blood. I feel that a good “ALIEN” movie monster knockoff creature is created by the early establishing of its strengths as well as its weaknesses. Sandy seemed to possess the abilities of every vicious movie monster in the history of sci-fi cinema, and yet she was still human; cunning enough to talk people into walking into their very doom when needed and I just wasn’t buying it. The insemination sequence, the one moment in this film that dared to give us what Ridley Scott wouldn’t dare do, was cold, clinical, and raised as many questions as it answered. There was nudity, yes, but nothing could save a space film that sucked so badly even the astronaut’s uniforms looked like they were made out of old vacuum cleaner parts. If you like the premise of aliens that use sex as the ultimate weapon against our species, pick up any of the first three SPECIES movies starring the particularly exotic looking Natasha Henstridge. Truth be told, even Full Moon’s FEMALIEN was better than this mess, a film which had zero blood, but admittedly nicer scenes of aliens probing our weakness as a species, if not first hand, as male viewers of cheap poorly conceived soft-core smut.
Special Features include some more snack food intermission shorts and some trailers from other Cheezy Flicks.
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