Monday, 27 December 2010

Alien Vs Mockbuster [Review: Alien Vs Hunter]

Isn't copyright law interesting! It seems you can copyright and therefore protect the name "Predator" but not "Alien." This gives me hope for the future of the cross-over spin-off: I'm looking forward to "Alien Vs Mega Shark" "Alien Vs Forrest Gump" and "Alien Vs Thomas The Tank Engine" in 2011.

Alien Vs Hunter is an Asylum-produced film with a DVD cover designed to mimic Alien Vs Predator - while the film bears almost no relationship to the original. So it's a mockbuster of a cross-over spin-off from two movie franchises. The plot is simple - two meteorites land, and a small town is caught in the crossfire between a giant spiderlike creature and a mysterious armour-clad human figure. The staff of the town newspaper form an uneasy truce with the local NRA survivalist militia to defend themselves.

The film is mildly enjoyable in places. Rare praise from me, I know. However by rights it should be unwatchable - rudimentary special effects, an overwritten script, and some dodgy cardboard sets. As in some other Asylum productions it's made bearable by strong performances from the main actors - particularly Hillary played by Dedee Pfeiffer and Valentine played by Randy Mulkey.

I particularly enjoyed the making of mini-doc on the DVD extras, something that would usually bore me to death. Instead of a mutual congratulatathon, this mini-doc gives you a glimpse of the Asylum approach to filmmaking - the twelve day shoot. I wonder if, paradoxically, something about this pressurized process actually brings out the best in some actors.

Tellingly, Randy Mulkey lets off steam by making fun of the director, albeit in a good natured way, while Dedee Pfeiffer talks about the challenges of the project. Dedee's professionalism is also inspiring - treating this hit-and-run production as a job like any other, and holding tight to her character's thinly written backstory (Hillary is apparently an ex-biker chick trying to get away from her past) to give a good performance on the first or second take. There's rarely time for a third take on an Asylum set.


Monkey Migraine said...

Good review. It is interesting that they treat their work with dedication rather than just blowing it off. Funny how they put so much work into such a bad movie

Sci-Fi Gene said...

So true: I'm learning a lot of respect for actors from my own experiences and also from watching the Asylum.

And thanks for the comment. Even being this critical represents a kind of breakthrough for me ;)