Thursday, September 16, 2010
VHS Review: Xtro (1983)
"Not all extra terrestrials are friendly"
RUN TIME: 84 Min.
DIRECTOR: Harry Bromley Davenport
CAST: Philip Sayer (Sam Phillips), Bernice Stegers (Rachel Phillips), Danny Brainin (Joe Daniels), Maryam d'Abo (Analise Mercier), Simon Nash (Tony Phillips)
SUMMARY: Three years after the disappearance of Sam Phillips (Philip Sayer), his young son Tony (Simon Nash) pines for daddy's return when mom Rachel (Bernice Stegers) takes up with another man. The fractured household, which also includes a sexy babysitter (Maryam d'Abo), is further upset when Sam mysteriously returns and has a nasty habit of attacking local residents and seeping mysterious fluids from his body. A grisly, fast-paced blend of sci-fi thrills and gut-churning horror, Xtro became an instant audience favorite and remains one of the most popular British cult films today.
THE FILM: XTRO begins as father and son are playing fetch-the-stick with the family dog. As dad throws the stick over the cottage it strikes something unseen midair. There's flash of electricity and day turns to night as father is abducted in a beam of bright light in the sky, a real CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND on a really low budget kind of moment. Tony has always insisted that his father was taken by a light in the sky, however, mom believes that Sam's run off with another woman.
DVD: I didn't have the pleasure of watching this film in the digital glory of DVD, instead I picked it up on 1.33:1 full screen VHS at the local Goodwill for incredible price of .99, you now you're jealous, admit it. I haven't watched a VHS in years, what a nostalgic blast. The DVD is readily available and I'm sure I'll be picking it up in the near future. All three Xtro films are available on a triple pack DVD, FYI. The film as presented on DVD is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with a Dolby 2.0 audio track. The DVD special features include 2 alternate endings, a deleted scene and an interview with the director, which I hear is hilarious.
VERDICT: Of all the exploitation flicks that came after E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind this is definitely one of the strangest cult & sci-fi exploitation flicks out there. The atmosphere of the film is quite deranged, you never know what might happen next. If you crave alien rape, full frontal nudity, awesomely terrible special effects, this a true treat. A must see even if only one time. Be forewarned, there are a lot of bizarre goings on here that are never explained. Just kick back with a few beers and enjoy. Now I'm in the mood to see GALAXY OF TERROR or INSEMINOID. *** (3 out of 5 stars)