AKA Alien Terror AKA Strangers
Director: Ciro Ippolito
Starring: Ciro Ippolito, Belinda Mayne, Mark Bodin, Michele Soavi,Judy Perrin. Italy. 1h 32m
Before the Alien (1979) film could be fully licenced and trade marked, it obviously had a profound effect on Italian director Ciro Ippolito decided to take it upon himself to craft a unauthorised sequel, and while this film has a low budget, the scope is there for a much bigger and impressive project, but the Alien lifeform is more affiliated with The Thing (1982)– In a Cave.. and has little to do with Ridley Scott’s cult classic.
While the earth eagerly await the return of a group of astronauts, meanwhile in an unrelated television studio, Thelma Joyce (Mayne) appears to talk about Spelunking and caves but she had a terrible psychic episode and violent visions forces an abrupt ending to her interview. The spaceship arrives but the crew are missing, in theory I believe this is supposed to be the derelict Nostromo. Meanwhile a young girl playing on the beach finds a pulsating blue rock, when her mother finds her, she’s missing her face.
Thelma, her husband Roy (Bodin) and friends go out to explore a cave system, one of the group, Burt, find a pulsating blue rock and keeps it in his backpack, the group arrive at the cave and rappel to the bottom and set up camp, Thelma can sense that something terrible is going to happen and the very next day all hell breaks lose when the rock opens up and starts eating faces. [slight spoiler] The first victim is Jill (Perrin), she gets her face eaten and Thelma witnesses the attack but it’s put down to an overactive imagination as Jill later appears back with the group acting fine, but later on she opens up to reveal a bigger alien lifeform that starts eating and attacking the other members of the crew. It’s this aspect of not knowing who the alien is that links this film with John Carpenters; The Thing. It doesn’t stay this way for long as the Alien life form seems to mutate and do weird shit just to scare and kill people in anyway that it can.
You’d need a pretty active imagination to really see this as Alien 2, Ippolito serves up this unimaginative opus with the aim of taking the next step in an franchise that was never his. While this movie doesn’t answer the question of what happens next, it’s still a great b movie sci-horror, much like Contamination (1980), it’s often classed as just another trashy Alien rip off, but it’s much much more. It’s unfortunate that the need to associate with American films was employed but even without the name the association would still be there. The alien hiding in people and bursting out of bodies suggests that the makers had been watching a lot of sci fi, and while it’s not always possible to make something 110% original, what they did create with limited constraints is quite exceptional.
The main character is quite interesting, she’s a psychic, which there are a lot of in Italian/Giallo cinema, and they are usually good puzzle solvers or victims, but in contrast Alien boasted an amazingly strong heroine with Ripley, but it seems Ippolito just couldn’t get past the stereotypes, Thelma does well, she screams and hysterically fights her way out of the caves but she’s certainly not a leader, Ippolito makes an appearance as Joe, maybe his attempt to be another Alfred Hitchcock?
The effects aren’t brilliant, even for the limitations, the creature seemed to have been a challenge for the crew, it’s just red and jubbly and looks like visceral venus fly trap at times. but it’s amiable that they kept it as their own creation instated of mimicking anything out there, so the whole project wasn’t about copying Alien or making a solid sequel but just from being inspired by a dazzling story.
But what does this life form want, can the psychic really pick up on what it’s after, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out, but there is one really impressive scene where she uses her psychic powers to blow the alien up at one point, it’s the little things that make a movie great.
R: Alien (1979), Inseminoid (1981), The Thing (1982), XTro (1982), Contamination (1980)
L: 80’s Sci Fi Films, Italian Cinema 1980, Unofficial Sequels,
Vs: Alien 2 On Earth Vs Aliens