I Saw A Film!

I generally don’t like to go on about directors and screenwriters and really anything that sounds like an insider’s jargon about films. I want to approach this as a consumer of the entertainment, have fun, and not be terribly concerned about the “shoot” aspect of cinematics. I don’t care who spilled coffee on whom or who was called in last moment to add a special effect to clinch the obscure award. No, none of that, I’m no expert and I’m basically here just to catch up on the many many films that have washed by under my bridge. Along with never having seen Titanic, or Home Alone, I also missed this quite competent horror film. However, Tobe Hooper directed it, and Tobe is a kind of legend of Texas Chainsaw Massacres and Poltergeist . . . OK that’s all I’m gonna say.

While our special effects are of a previous generation, the depiction of the enormous space object that our crew goes to investigate is quite well done and reminds me of a Stanislaw Lem short in which someone monitoring the passing of space debris in an asteroid belt suddenly realizes there’s a perfect enormous canister drifting rapidly past amidst all the boring rocks. Unfortunately it goes by and won’t be back for another 1000 years. In our current story the object is a 150 mile long needle with a bulge. Clearly of manufacture rather than natural. When our crew go to investigate, they bring back some incredible finds. Now one would imagine we’d be much more careful, since seeing Alien, and having dealt with pandemics in the past. But it soon unfolds that what we have here are some space vampires, but they’re the sort of vampire that isn’t drinking blood. They’re more the sort that sucks your life out, represented by blue electrical charges and a wizened corpse. The space vampires are sealed in indestructible glass caskets so we can see how lovely they are. The lady, especially, a nearly perfect specimen of Western beauty (if you like that sort of thing) upon awakening commands deepest affection from seemingly anyone who lays eyes on her. Soon enough she’s escaped the quarantine and out causing disaster as she wanders about buck neckid.

This is one of those horror films where the aliens speak perfect English and Patrick Stewart suddenly shows up in a surprise role, charming all us elderly trekkies. Soon enough the body count starts to rise, and the cast away bodies revive as their own temporary horror vampires (a few of them really impressive puppets) creating a massive zombie-like rush on the streets of London. Good for our heroes is the fact that they seem to be kill-able through an age old method of ramming a sword into them. However, the damage really does seem to be done, as we watch “souls” collected by the thousands sucked up into space.

This life force bull-hooey is a popular concept, and one easy to imagine being real, but honestly there’s not much evidence to support it, or anything like a soul. We enjoy the conceit of being something more than just a biological specimen because our heads are loaded with a cognitive power that causes us some impressive weirdness and amazing arts (sometimes together). I heard Neil Degrasse Tyson point out that while we’re something like 99.99% molecularly equivalent with chimpanzees (incidentally we’re about 60% equivalent to mushrooms), that one thousandth of a percent difference has allowed us all those amazing structures and achievements the rest of the animal world is perfectly bereft of. There’s no punk rock, suspension bridges, plague control, weirdo Westboro Baptists, or extra-terrestrial activities going on with our evolutionary brethren. For what it’s worth. Of course, what comes with that is a powerful case of the narcissisms. Conceit is an issue, and one that has a tendency to overpower reason. We feel ourselves quite special and this drives some seriously twisted and fantastic defensiveness around belief. Kurt Vonnegut had some fun with that in his 80s novel Galapagos. All that to say that I don’t know what the heck these creatures are sucking out of people, but I don’t think it really exists. Still it’s a fun premise, and the film gives you plenty of time to ponder it.

This is running free on American Prime and not bad for the sort of sci-fi mixed with terrestrial horror it allows. And, if you like to watch a gorgeous nude lady just walk about or delivering kisses with gusto. . . it’s pretty amazing for that.

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