Every now and again, I like to rekindle my retroactive romance with the analog video cassette. Seriously, I do. My interests in these antiquatedly-awkward, easy-to-irreparably damage bundles of plastic are not for their quality, however. Not by a long shot. Nevertheless, I find it fun to occasionally pop in a fuzzy, bastardized pan-and-scan transfer of an obscure and poorly-made excuse of a motion picture and laugh away. However, it’s not so much the crappy-quality factor that amuses me so: it’s the fact that, quite often, these are the only ways you can see some of the most hilariously mind-numbing films ever made.
For some ungodly reason, nobody has ever bothered releasing movies like The Headless Eyes (1971), Cruise Missile (1978), or Deadline (1981) on DVD. As such, original VHS copies of these classics (or, “class-icks,” as they are sometimes referred to as) are true collector’s items to connoisseurs of trashy ol’ b-movies.
And then, there are those movies that were never even released on videocassette in the United States to begin with. During the pre-Internet days, there were video distributors located in basements all across the country that sold genre film collectors second-generation (if you were lucky) copies of prints of movies that had been culled from various International sources (VHS, Beta, LaserDisc, etc.) for about $25 a pop. Once the era of the Digital Versatile Disc began to shine some much-needed light on the world of cult cinema, various gems of diverse grades finally started to get the attention crazed film aficionados like myself felt they deserved.
We were happy. Hell, we were fucking ecstatic! But we still have our little lists of movies that we feel may never se the light of day in the US. One such film is — or rather was — Ciro Ippolito’s 1980 horror/sci-fi obscurity Alien 2: Sulla Terra, which has not only received its very first legitimate debut in America period, but which is also unveiling itself via a glorious High-Def presentation from the brand-spankin’ new label, Midnight Legacy.
“Hey, wait a second. Did he say Alien 2?”
Yes, kids, I did. The English-language translation for Alien 2: Sulla Terra reads out as Alien 2: On Earth. But, while Ippolito’s unofficially official Italian rip-off “sequel” to Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic bears a five-letter extraterrestrial critter in its title, the ultra-rare, ultra-cheap obscurity no more resembles its famous American cousin than Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 bears a passing likeness to George A. Romero’s original Dawn Of The Dead. In the case of the latter two titles, they both contained flesh-eating zombies that like to kill stupid humans. In the case of Alien 2: On Earth vs. Alien, they both feature highly-intelligent varmints from other worlds that like to kill stupid humans.