Alien Raiders, directed by Ben Rock, 2008

I probably wouldn't have rented this movie if it hadn't been for the recommendations of people I trust on Twitter. Based on the title, I figured it'd be some sort of goofy 50's sci-fi homage, and I'm generally not interested in that type of movie. But as it turns out, that isn't what this film is about. At all.

I'm hesitant to go into details, but I'll say that - on a high level - Alien Raiders is about a team of action-hero-types who investigate a small-town grocery store where things aren't as they seem. I've seen several people describe this film as starting off half-way through the second act of a traditional sci-fi flick, and I wouldn't disagree.

Also, for all you fans of 24 - Soul Patch Tony is the lead character! And he's more or less playing the same character that he did in 24, which is pretty awesome.

I liked the mythos that this movie created, and the fact that we're just tossed in and expected to figure how this world works was greatly appreciated. Alien Raiders plays much smarter than I expected going in, and definitely is worth checking out.

Incidentally, after the film ended I mentioned on Twitter that it wasn't what I expected based on the title but that I really liked it. For some reason, I decided to at-reply the director, Ben Rock (@Neptunesalad). Before long, Ben responded that he hadn't necessarily picked the title, and thanked me for watching. I love that Twitter provides the means for that type of near-instant creator/consumer interaction.

The Gene Generation, directed by Pearry Reginald Teo, 2007

I picked this film to be the SFS Movie Club pick last weekend, and pretty much had my say there. No one has yet commented on that post, and I don't know whether that's because (a) no one else has seen this movie, or (b) like me, no one else really cared for this flick enough to bother commenting about it.

Like Alien Raiders, The Gene Generation dumps you in the middle of a rich pre-existing world and basically expects you to keep up. But unlike Alien Raiders, the rules in The Gene Generation are so foreign and/or ambiguous that there's no real way to fully grasp what's going on. Accordingly, I was left cold and uninterested in much of the goings on of this film. Not recommended.

Mutant, directed by John 'Bud' Cardos, 1984.

I recently bought this movie on VHS for $1. I'm a Bud Cardos fan, and an even bigger Wins Hauser fan, so I was psyched to watch this collaboration.

And while I mostly enjoyed Mutant, it always feels strange to me to see Wings play a sympathetic character. He can pull it off just fine, but it feels more natural when he plays psychopathic characters like Ramrod the pimp in Vice Squad (1982). Here, he and his brother get stranded in a redneck town where chemical-related tomfoolery is going on. As a result, the natives start turning into mutant zombie/vampire hybrids.

The film never achieves any real terror or level of suspense, but I enjoy Wings enough as an actor that I was able to appreciate just watching him run around town, bumping heads with local rednecks and trying to avoid getting infected.

As an added bonus, Bo Hopkins - in the role he was born to play - is the town's drunken Sheriff.
categories Features, Sci-Fi