Friday, April 8, 2011

Alien 2: On Earth (1980, Sam Cromwell aka Ciro Ippolito)

Just released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 5th, Alien 2: On Earth is the first release by Midnight Legacy, a promising new independent label distributed by MVD.  An Italian production originally released in 1980, this film was obviously an attempt to cash in on the ALIEN craze (most films weren't as obvious as billing themselves as sequels though).  Hardly seen until now (even on home video) it is amazing Alien 2 has stayed undiscovered for so long.  When I first read about this film (which I too had never heard of before), I was instantly curious but then I saw the trailer and I thought to myself HOLY FUCK I NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!  (view trailer HERE)
Alien 2: On Earth begins in a TV News studio where a rocket ship returning to Earth comes back empty...or so we think.  The news crew tries to cover this up by showing stock news footage.  For some reason (this part...and several others...confused me) some geologist is being interviewed and suddenly has a debilitating migraine.  Soon after, she goes bowling with some friends and then they put on spelunking gear and descend into some underground caves.  Oh, I forgot to mention that on the way, one of the spelunkers picks up a blue, pulsing rock and brings it with him.   Hmmm.  Of course while inside the caves, we are made aware that the rock actually came from outer space and contains an Alien presence, which somehow comes out of the rock and infestates the caves as a tentacle-like creature which melts people's faces into a pile of goo only to return them to their normal state...and then burst out of their faces.  *Gasp*.....*Exhale*
Alien 2 didn't make too much sense - the characters, the random excursions...well pretty much everything.  That said, I actually enjoyed the film a lot.  Maybe it was the anticipation, maybe it was a carbon monoxide leak in my house, who knows?  The three things that really made this film a winner for me were the Splatter FX, the cinematography and the almost hallucinogenic/dream-like feel.  Starting with the red stuff, Alien 2 delivers with some nasty exploding faces, decapitations and other gooey stuff.  As far as the cinematography goes, surprisingly there are shots that are absolutely breath-taking (the best of which involves the shimmering lights of the cave explorers' headlamps as they descend into the cave).  As far as the "feel" of the film, the whole thing just seems like one, long fever dream.  The way the film was put together, most of the dialogue, the random shifting from one location to another, incomprehensible stops along the just seems like a dream.  Most people would say that this haphazard style is a negative but I thought it just made the film more unique.  I doubt this was in any way intentional, but it worked for me.  So if you still aren't convinced to check this film out, who can resist Aliens exploding out of people's faces?  Midnight Legacy's treatment of their first release is incredible.  I couldn't tell you a single film I have seen that is 31 years old and looks like it was filmed yesterday, other than Alien 2.  My guess is that the film was so obscure that the print just wasn't played too many times, so it was still in pristine condition.  I am behind the times so I watched this on DVD and the picture was positively stellar.  From what I've read, the Blu Ray is superb as well.  I am really anxious to see what this exciting new company has in store for its sophomore release.
RATING:  7/10

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