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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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GAHAN WILSON &
Featuring comics by
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Once upon a time there was this young Writer / Director named William Malone. William Malone saw the movieALIEN and said to himself "I can make a movie worse than that!" and he went forward and wrote and directed SCARED TO DEATH, which even went so far as to have a H.R. Giger rip-off of the ALIEN biomechanical design, even going so far as to have that creature also kill with its tongue (Malone called it "Syngenor" or some such crap). That was 1981.
A few years later, William Malone decided that he could re-make his own rip-off of his own movie and he co-wrote and directed CREATURE. This movie was like SCARED TO DEATH in many ways, in that it was a rip-off of ALIEN and even went so far as to have a different H.R. Giger rip-off of the ALIEN design (Willy didn't name it this time).
A few more years passed, 14 to be exact, before William Malone's prose once again proved that he was unbankable as a writer. He wrote the wretchedly bad UNIVERSAL SOLDIER II starring Jean Claude Van Damme - whose only competitor in the category of Worst Martial Art Movies Ever Made is Steven Seagal.
You would think that Hollywood would have learned by now, yet the contract was already set and filming was already completed on 2000's SUPERNOVA+. For SUPERNOVA, William Malone merely dusted off his plot devices to SCARED TO DEATH and CREATURE and re-made the whole ALIEN rip-off furshlugginer mess yet AGAIN!
There were some critics who called SUPERNOVA original, which Malone himself denied. Those poor fools.
But back to this movie review.
William Malone co-wrote CREATURE with Alan Reed, who was never heard from again (movie wise). The movie starts out as hack as possible. There is this evil corporation see? And they have landed on this planet and discovered this ancient alien wreck, see? They find a pod and the varmint inside up and attacks them!
On my Diamond DVD video box, the tagline says: "ITS BEEN SLEEPING FOR 2000 YEARS, UNTIL NOW." On the movie poster they date it as two HUNDRED thousand years, but who is counting? The Creature wakes up and Merry Mishaps Occur.
Cut To: A 1950s style of orbiting space station. A space craft is heading right toward it on a collision course. It's too late to turn to avoid it. Why didn't they see it sooner?
"Maybe it was hidden behind a passing spaceship?" is the timid theory. No time to slap your drones around for incompetence. The spaceship hits the space station and KA-BOOM!
Now what did that scene have to do with the rest of the movie? Not a Goddam thing!
Soon another spacecraft is headed for the planet where the first spacecraft disappeared. This spaceship is from a competing evil corporation and they want to know whats-a going on down thar!
Oh, did I mention the spacesuits? No? Well, the spacesuits were designed to look like the spacesuits from 2001: A Space Odyssey, except that the space helmets all have bright lights inside that shine Right-Into-The-Face! Now how in the world are you going to see anything with a bright light shining Right In Your Face???
200 million plus years of human evolution and I'm wasting that struggle watching movies like this.
The Commander of the mission is Ferris Bueller's Father (Lyman Ward). The Captain of the spacecraft is Soap Opera staple actor Stan Ivar. There is also The Penguin's Mother, Mrs. Cobblepot (Diane Salinger), who plays Security Officer Bryce. Bryce plays it cold and sinister. Apparently, the whole crew has been in space for 3 months and she has never said a word to anyone. She also intimidates the hell out of all, especially the ship's doctor.
When their craft - The Shenandoah (puh-leeze!) - finally lands on the moon that is not planet LV-426, the crew finds an ancient derelict (no shit?), another spaceship, and a monster in the dark.
Now the movie has established Security Officer Bryce as this silent and dangerous type, right? Bryce gets a mere glimpse of the Creature and screams, running away and closing the door on one of her crewmembers, thereby leaving her for the monster to . . . er . . . do monstrous things to. Throughout the rest of the flick Bryce is not called on her blatant cowardice or even the fact that she killed a fellow crewmember. Her act of spinelessness is simply forgotten!
Ahh . . . but in addition to ripping off ALIEN, Malone's script also rips off John Carpenter's THE THING and Robert Heinlein's THE PUPPET MASTERS. Monster murdered members of the crew return to life - except that they now have baby creatures eating their brains and making them do things.
At any rate, Hans Rudy Hoffner1 (Klaus Kinski: DIE TOTEN AUGEN
VON LONDON, CIRCUS OF FEAR, DIE BLAU HAND, EL CONDE DRACULA, NELLA STRETTA
MORSA DEL RAGNO, SCHIZOID, VENOM, NOSFERATU , CRAWLSPACE),
who is the last surviving member of the other evil corporation spaceship (they were all German - a thin plot device that
comes in later), sneaks in through the Shenandoah's backdoor (?)
... and finds Bryce in her room taking off her space suit a la Sigourney Weaver from ALIEN. She gets naked and leaves her bedroom door open? Fine then! Hoffner starts raping her. Bryce kicks his ass for it but in the very next scene, the Captain and surviving crewmembers are asking him questions and accepting his help. Worse! They trust him to help them!
They Trust A Rapist!
They send Hoffner and Bryce (these two of all people? He's a Rapist! She is his Victim! She is also a Murderous Coward!) to his German spacecraft to fetch some stuff and off they go; with Hoffner grabbing Bryce's ass along the way2.
Naturally they run into the CREATURE and Merry Mishaps Occur yet again.
For those of you who loved old Klaus Kinski - warts and all (let's face it, the man had an extraordinary life. Not one I'd want to live, but K2 seemed to enjoy being a human trainwreck and he lived long enough to tell about it!), you are going to love this pic. It features Klaus at his mind-numbing worst - which ironically is the absolute best of most actors. If you don't understand that dichotomy, you have to see Klaus in action. The man was known to punch his director if he didn't like what was going on.
CREATURE, in addition to the Creature, contains gratuitous scenes of nudity, face ripping, head explosions and other types of gore. This is always appreciated in movies of this low caliber.
On the plus side, as bad a Writer as William Malone is, he is pretty good as a Director. The action is non-stop, never lags, and the editing is crisp. The lighting of the scary scenes is suitably dark and forbidding.
If this was a good story with good dialogue it would have been great, but Malone was stuck in a Sucking-The-ALIEN-Franchise-Teat rut that lasted nearly 20 years. Worse, the story was loaded with done to death hack and cliché plot devices and the worst of Horror Movie stupidities ("There's a monster killing us all and he is in this spaceship with us! So let's split up and go look for it!").
Malone finally broke free when he directed THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1999). After SCARED TO DEATH, CREATURE, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER II and SUPERNOVA, it's amazing that anyone trusted him wth a flick again. How lucky for us all that someone did, because THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL freaking Rocked!
Once again we were presented with Malone's love of dark corridors and claustrophobic lighting - the things he saw in Ridley Scott's ALIEN that left him so enraptured - but the screenplay was totally out of his hands and the movie was far better for it. In fact, THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1999) is one of the best Horror movies ever made.
Unfortunately, the movie was written by Dick Beebe, who did such a great job that Artisan hired him to write BOOK OF SHADOWS: Blair Witch 2, which tanked and de-railed any possible future for the BLAIR WITCH PROJECT series. Just as well probably.
As for CREATURE, two Shriek Girls.