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Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Trieste S+F Festival review – Alienween

alienweenMy notes on Alienween Among the credited production companies behind this low-budget Italian schlock is Empire Video, and there’s a definite sense that this is an attempt to pastiche a certain type of 1980s genre quickie from Charles Band’s various outfits – though it’s a moot point as to whether that many folks need or want an extended homage to Bad Channels, SeedPeople, Troll or TerrorVision.  Still, here it is – and plentiful wet, gruesome, cheapksate, imaginative effects provide some entertainment even as the human element is wildly inconsistent.  It’s Halloween and a meteor shower lights up the sky – neither the holiday nor the cosmic event initially concern the main characters, a bunch of thirtyish guys who have sneaked out on their partners to have a party with drugs and hookers in a rambling old house (with a service elevator that suggests it’s a skyscraper).  Naturally, two of their girlfriends are on to this and turn up angrily just after the hookers … though, by then, meteor-induced mutation has put an end to most of the sexy-druggy fun and the order of the evening is screaming and being turned into gloop-covered, glowy-eyed skeletons (one with a ragged pumpkinhead).  Cutaways involve a heavy metal DJ who gets abused by his audience and there’s a late-in-the-day bit of would-be poignant backstory about a girl two of the guys loved whose sad fate has led to the friends becoming estranged – when the effects craziness stops to sort all this out, the liveliness drains from the film.

 

It’s a problem that, following those ‘80s films, almost all the characters are shrill, strident and none too likeable before they get mutated – a few ironic fates involve a selfie-obsessed girl who accidentally netcasts her own screams as she is attacked by aliens and gets as many likes as for her pouting pictures, the repressed religious virgin who starts oozing sweat and sexuality and straddles a random guy while her breasts take on a toothy malign life of their own (anyone else remember Mortuary?) and the squabbling lovers who get fused together while holding hands and argue where to draw the sawline while performing DIY separation surgery.  Like Night of Something Strange, Zombeavers, Hobo With a Shotgun and a few other recent horror comedy throwbacks, this looks beyond the accepted 80s ‘classics’ for inspiration – with results as variable as the films it riffs on.  Here’s a movie that would like to make you think of Night of the Creeps, but all too often edges into Troll 2 territory.  Scripted by Alex Visani and director Federico Sfascia.

 

 

 

 

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