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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Return Of The Alien's Deadly Spawn (Aka The Deadly Spawn)

Let me start off by saying the obvious- this movie RIPS! It's pretty hard to find a good horror movie that also has capable young/teen actors, and this one shines above many. This film contains many or horror's necessary elements for success in a practically perfect formula. It also wins for having some of the very best big box art of any vhs currently in my collection. Complete with rental store stickers still in place, this thing is a true warrior from the front lines of yesteryear. Continental was pretty famous for having full cover photography on their tapes, and I think this is one of the best I've seen yet.

Give the trailer a watch:

Plot summary: A huge meteor crashes into the woods somewhere in New Jersey (You just gotta love ANY movie that involves catastrophic events occurring in New Jersey!). Out of the crater emerge gross, highly dangerous, and toothy flesh eating worms. Carnage ensues as the beasts grow and grow, making this rainy day a study session a few school friends will never forget...if they manage to survive. The plot is really that simple, for many more modern movie viewers it is too simple. But why mess about with a formula that works? It's the very simplicity of the story that makes it so damn entertaining in the first place.

The creature in this movie looks so awesome. Yes, the picture on the front of the box is of one of the actual ones used in the film. Note I say ONE OF because this film is actually full of really rad and really well done puppets of various sizes to show the different stages of the creature's development as well as all of the various offspring it and others like it presumably beget all over the countryside. Sometimes the creature only appears in silhouette and shadow courtesy of flashlights and a poorly lighted basement which is a simple technique I miss in newer films. All You have to do is put a flashlight behind the puppet and move its jaws while filming the wall. It looks great! I don't think I've ever seen a movie creature with such an ungodly array of sharp teeth coming out of its mouth before or since. You definitely do not want to rub up against one of these fellas in a poorly lit alleyway, as it will definitely tear you to shreds and then some.


THIS THING WILL EAT YOUR HUSBAND AND TEAR YOUR GOD DAMN FACE OFF! For being a rather low budgeted horror flick, they really pulled out the stops in getting bang for the buck as far as creature and gore effects are concerned and that clip is still the truth. Nothing is sacred from this fleet of killing machines and their blood lust. Not even a vegetarian luncheon of octogenarians. One minute they're fussing over a ceramic giraffe the next moment they are hobbling for their lives. Not too many horror movies have old people as victims and I give major props for the film makers for not being too shy to throw such an inevitable occurrence into what is already a malaise of sporadic carnage.

Yowzers! This movie is also pretty well cast. Even the schlockiest characters pull their own weight without mucking up the proceedings. As this is a sciency type movie, several of the older teen characters are science nerds who have science boners for each others science if you know what I mean. Serious, the smart science nerd girl is a super babe. We also have the duncey hick like buddy who's hoping to learn something before the big test coming up but his cromag brain will obviously never comprehend. My personal favorite character is the little brother who's a major horror movie buff and amateur special effects wiz who manages to save the day after spending hours locked in the basement with loads of these grosser than gross aliens. The script is actually pretty well written for a film of its budget. It has plenty of silly humor thrown in usually coming from the adults in the picture which shows that (unlike the horror nerd little bro who has shit figured out more than people realize cuz he's stone cold like that) they are all a bunch of sub par morons.

This movie has several titles. Some people get confused by this, so let me break them down to you so you can get down with the business. The original theatrical release title from 1983 was The Deadly Spawn. Makes sense right? I'm on the fence about which title I like more- as in the version on the vhs I have or simply the theatrical title. The one on the vhs box has its own flair when the image is present but the theatrical title is by and large much easier to say when in mixed company. As I am obviously very conflicted, I leave this choice up to you.

Well to confuse things this movie is also known as:

-Return Of The Alien's Deadly Spawn (as seen above)
-The Alien's Deadly Spawn
-Return Of The Deadly Spawn
-And in the UK, Return Of The Alien's: The Deadly Spawn

The list goes on and on......

The Region 1 DVD edition uses the original title, but all of the ones mentioning the word "alien" in the title were all done apparently to try and capitalize on the success of Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece ALIEN. As home affordable home video technology was still somewhat in its infancy this makes a great deal of sense, but to all of us who came later it's easy to mistake these for different movies when the subject comes up. The Region 1 DVD at least has a cool cover. While it's not as good as the truly glorious uncut big box you saw at the beginning of this review, it does hold its own as far as mostly lame DVD artwork is concerned. It also has a smattering of really cool extras like an alternate opening sequence and reportedly two audio commentaries. Wait...why don't I own this too just for those......!?!


When one does a google image search for vhs art for The Deadly Sawn, you really can't find one that's a dud. Practically EVERY release of it had art that RULES. The Japanese tape was even in widescreen with Japanese subtitles and English dialogue! No matter what edition you decide on, you really cannot lose. If you  give a decent search via internet you can also find the soundtrack on CD which was a serious surprise to me. It's not very often B grade movies get a decent soundtrack release on any format, so I think you/me/us/we ought to do ourselves a favor and go pick that up too.

If you like B grade horror that will still kick your ass then this is for YOU.

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