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DVD Review: Alien From The Deep

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Two dashing white folk attempt to expose a corrupt government agency’s dastardly eco-un-friendly plans. A snake farmer (paging Dr. Freud!) all alone in the jungle. Chuck Napier. Budweiser. And a big, awkward extraterrestrial of unknown origin with a huge-ass claw arm thingy… Can the unexpected combination of these four random thematic elements make for a gripping cinematic achievement; one that generations will reflect upon for an entire millennia to come? Well, no, stupid! This is a just another Italian rip-off of the Alien franchise; what the hell are you smoking?

Actually, the phrase “What the hell was the famous boot-shaped country’s prolific b-movie maestro Antonio Margheriti smoking?” comes to mind once you pop Alien From The Deep, a vastly-inept and barely comprehensible mess from 1989 that attempts to splice elements from James Cameron’s Aliens into a blatant “Save the Planet!” message from the damn hippies. Signori Margheriti (aka Anthony M. Dawson) has earned something of a soft spot within the hearts of numerous bad movie lovers around the world such as myself for his long career of paying copyright infringement-worthy homages to one motion picture hit after another during his forty-plus year career.

Quentin Tarantino even paid his own homage to the late director (who died in 2002) in Inglourious Basterds. But, of course, no matter how much we praise Margheriti’s epic gothic horror flick Castle Of Blood from 1964 (one of several truly inspired and memorable original works that weren’t total rip-offs), aficionados of fine Italian cheese will probably chuckle over the memory of watching Yor: The Hunter From The Future before anything else.

But even the epically-awful Yor: The Hunter From The Future is a step up over this film!

Not to call for a personal vendetta between the noun and myself, the “story” for Alien From The Deep consists of several different plots that were thrown into a blender and left to puree for far too long. During the movie’s seemingly eternal runtime (good, God, does this movie ever end?!), we meet the aforementioned pairing of two inept, journalists determined to bring about the downfall of a greedy pro-Nuke island-based factory; an unquestionably-generic Indiana Jones adventurer employed by a pharmaceutical company to extract venom from poisonous snakes; and — towards the middle of the film, when things almost kinda sorta start to kick in gear (but not quite) — a gigantic and humorously-bulky alien critter that has crash-landed on the planet for no apparent reason whatsoever.

At the center of these soiled plot points is veteran character actor Charles Napier as the nuclear plant’s immoral commander, Colonel Kovacks. Looking even more embarrassed than he could have ever hoped to have looked in One-Eyed Monster, good ol’ Chuck wades his way through Margheriti’s wishy-washy disaster of a sci-fi/horror film as the (human) arch-villain, while Italian b-movie favorite Luciano Piozzi (aka Alan Collins) turns in another amusing performance as a compassionate, wiser-than-God scientist that automatically deduces the alien’s weakness as soon as it touches down in the water during one of the movie’s many lifeless “action” scenes.

Representing the cast’s other half of sympathetic characters is Italian actress Marina Giulia Cavalli (under the anglicized alias of Julia McKay) as our wholly attractive but incredibly dull heroine. While she sports the occasional set of raisins underneath her t-shirt throughout the film, Miss Cavalli’s sex appeal nonetheless offers very little to the project — and her scenes with the ultra-campy Robert Marius (who some genre buffs will instantly recognize as the overacting Dr. Holder from 1988’s catastrophic Zombi 3) are so painful, one wishes they were attending a drunken midnight screening of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull instead.

Actually, the whole damn movie makes you wish you were back in George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s avaricious arms. Hell, even the god-awful Alien Vs. Predator flicks seem like a rockin’ good time after sitting through five minutes of Alien From The Deep!

Of course, the word “drunken” can not be eliminated from the equation here. Despite its numerous, numerous faults (i.e. everything), Antonio Margheriti’s Alien From The Deep succeeds at entertaining those of you who are wise to fuel up on the inebriating beverage of your choice beforehand. The movie is terrible at best — but, with the right amount of alcohol, classic lines like “I sell snake poison. The medical community calls it ‘venom’ and pays very well for it” and a foot-flunky’s calling of a obnoxious bearded helicopter pilot a “big shit” will go down a lot easier.

I have to give some mad props to the demented folks at One 7 Movies for even considering this piece as a release — let alone actually distributing it! The movie, which had previously only been seen in the States via fuzzy second-generation bootlegs, receives an amazingly remarkable video transfer. Presented in a 4:3 full frame transfer, Alien From The Deep shows very little print damage, and is on-par with some of the “major label” guilty pleasures out there. Audio-wise, One 7 gives us an option of an uproarious English-language soundtrack or the Italian-language dub (no subtitles are provided for either version).

In terms of Special Features, One 7’s Alien From The Deep gives us the option of seeing the original Italian-language opening and closing credit segments, as well as a gallery of promotional artwork from several different corners of the world (but mostly Europe, since few other countries saw this atrocity for some unimaginable reason).

So, the bottom line here: is Alien From The Deep something you want to go swimming with? If you’re a fan of Margheriti’s less-original work or you just need something to booze and bake too, then “yes.” If you’re looking for something more substantial, however, then you’ll probably wonder why you even considered this title. Either way, though, I’m grateful to One 7 Movies for exposing this one unto the unsuspecting residents of the home video-viewing world.

Now, if only someone would finally release Margheriti’s Yor: The Hunter From The Future on DVD…

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.