One of the other explorers places the rock — or, “meteorite,” as I believe we’re supposed to call it — in Soavi’s backpack as they descend into the rocky bowels of Italy’s famed Castellana Grotte (damn, they drove far!). Soon (another two hours or so in), the meteor emanates a thingy; one that somehow manages to plant itself into one of the party. Later, in an effect shot that’s a real eye-opener (heh), a barely-perceivable tentacle-like beastie lunges out of the unconscious underground traveler’s ocular opening and onto the neck of another ill-fated European who literally loses his head over the unpleasant incident.
From there, our trekkers are besieged and eliminated by an alien force that remains unseen. Oh, you should get used to not seeing our titular monster: the budget for this shameless non-sequel was so astonishingly low that we never truly get to see the creature for more than just a fleeting (no tot mention unconvincing) glance until the finale of the film — wherein we see a terrified Thelma reacting to a POV shot from the alien’s mouth. Or it could be its tracheotomy. Hell if I know. It’s damn funny, either way you look at it, though.
Well, it’s funny for some. I showed Alien 2: On Earth (which was also released in various parts of the world as Alien Terror and plain ol’ Alien 2) to a group of friends one time — and, even though some of them were devout believers in the Church of Bad Film, they still didn’t appreciate it as much as I did. Of course, I’d also seen it before, back when it was a near-unobtainable mystery, so I knew what I could expect from the movie (not much) and what it would not deliver (a lot). But my reintroduction to this crap-tastic Italian oddity did carry with it an unexpected pleasure: an incredibly glorious High-Def transfer!
Even if Midnight Legacy were to never release another film, they would go down in the annals of b-moviedom for the spectacular video quality Alien 2: On Earth boasts. Taken directly from the original Italian negative, Midnight Legacy’s 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 widescreen transfer (which preserves the original Italian-language credits) is a goddamned wonder to behold — especially if you still have your old bootlegged second-generation VHS copy to compare it to like me). As you might expect, the stock footage seen in the beginning of the film is not so hot. But, once the footage from the actual film comes barreling onscreen (if one dares call this an “actual film”), the quality changes drastically.