Review of “Alien Species” (1996)

This is not a trailer, but the first several minutes of the movie. So. Can’t say you weren’t warned.

Plot:

This opens with a white blob approaching earth from space and a voiceover about a prophecy about a mighty armada dominating the earth in the year 1999. A whole lot of trouble happens. The destruction of all mankind, blah, blah, blah…

Max Poindexter (Aaron Jettleson) (good character name) and Holly Capers (Barbara Fierentino) are holed up watching a bunch of monitors. Poindexter bears a passing resemblance to a young Jeff Goldblum. Holly notices something on one of the monitors I couldn’t see. They plot the trajectory—right to earth, of course. Holly asks how long they have.

Max considers. “They’re traveling really fast.” He places a call to Professor Chambers.

Alien ships leave the motherships (which bear more than a passing resemblance to the motherships in 1996’s Independence Day) and begin to attack.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Nate Culver (Charles Napier) has to arrange transport for two prisoners, mouthy Aaron Doyle (David Homb) and morose Paul Towers (Marc Robinson). Riding shotgun is the Sheriff’s brother-in-law, Deputy Harlan Banks (Kurt Paul). Deputy Ty Larsen (Robert Thompson) drives—until he slams on the breaks to avoid a car stopped in the road. A woman (Carol Nelson (Jodi Seronick)) stands under an umbrella with perfect make-up and asks for help. Is it a trap? Deputy Banks calls for help for the injured and stranded motorists.

Sheriff Culver has his hands full. Seems a couple of squad cars have mysteriously blown up while he was on the phone. Doncha hate when that happens? Plus, it draws the media, even before the fire department shows up.

The prisoner transport takes on three extra passengers: an injured Professor Edgar Chambers (Hoke Howell), Carol Nelson of the perfect make-up, and the professor’s granddaughter, Stacy Chambers (Ashley Semrick).

Meanwhile, Denise Justice (Lisa Donette May), a farmer’s daughter, is abducted. The farmer (Roger Glugston) is vaporized and his farm leveled. The aliens vaporize Denise’s boyfriend, Tommy (Michael Tremont), too. A farmer (Michael Reed) hears his horses are restless and grabs his gun, thinking a mountain has gotten into the stable. Something runs past the farmer. He shoots but ends up knocked onto this back.

The prisoner transport wrecks, and the people flee. Seven miles from town, they head into a cave, but they’re not alone. It’s a big cave.

Thoughts:

Besides an Independence Day wannabe, this indulges in just about every horror movie trope. The obnoxious characters are the first to bite the dust. The heroes are pretty good shots. Women quickly become hysterical and must be roughly handled before they endanger the whole group. They also make ready alien kidnap victims. Guys, on the other hand, get vaporized.

There’s a lot of blood and a lot of booms. However, all that fire rained down from the sky seems to damage few buildings, leaving the skyline intact. The viewer is treated to invading aliens and zombies, plus a lot of swearing.

 “Why do I suddenly feel like I’m in a bad episode of the X-Files?” asks one of the characters.

Who said anything about the X-Files?

The acting is, by and large over-the-top. The story is just this side of comprehensible. All the ending does is set up a sequel that has yet to come into existence. So…look to the skies…

The screenwriters did follow at least on dictum: they saved the cat.

Having said all that: one fun thing is the alien shooting gallery. These guys have lasers (…or something) that will vaporize people, but they come running out, apparently one-by-one, at a cop armed with a shotgun, which he doesn’t need to stop to reload.

This movie, in all its glory, can be watched here.


Title: Alien Species (1996)

Director:
Peter Maris

Writer:
Nancy Newbauer

Cast:
Charles Napier as Sheriff Nate Culver
Hoke Howell as Professor Edgar Chambers
David Homb as Aaron Doyle
Jodi Seronick as Carol Nelson
Marc Robinson as Paul Towers
Robert Thompson as Deputy Ty Larsen

Released: 1996
Length: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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