Anorak

Celebrities | Anorak - Part 40

Celebrities Category

Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.

Straight Outta Central Casting: First Look At The Cast For The NWA Biopic

HIP HOP royalty, Dr. Dre, has shared details of the forthcoming NWA film ‘Straight Outta Compton’, stating that the biopic will see release on August 14, 2015.

The film will tell the tale of how NWA – Dr Dre, Ice Cube and the late Eazy E – came to be.

Dre and Eazy E will be played by newcomers while Ice Cube’s own son will play his father. You have to hope there’s no sex scenes with an actress playing his mother, because that would be weird.

Yesterday, Dre tweeted an image of the cast, and they really look the part, if better looking than the original members.

 

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Ice Cube will be played by O’Shea Jackson Jr, while Dre will be played by Marcus Callender who has had some roles in Criminal Justice, Blue Bloods and Elementary. It is thought that Dre wanted Michael B Jordan, but he’s signed up for the The Fantastic Four franchise.

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Posted: 20th, June 2014 | In: Film, Music | Comment


‘The Same Animals…Only Functioning Less Perfectly:’ The Five Most Underrated George A. Romero Movies

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GEORGE Romero’s impressive movie-making career stretches back to the Pittsburgh area in the late 1960s and spans over forty years.

Like many horror filmmakers of his generation, Romero has seen his share of big successes, like Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Creepshow (1982), critical darlings like Martin (1976), cult classics such as The Crazies (1973) and the occasional out-right bomb, like Diary of the Dead (2007).

But several of Romero’s finer films didn’t meet with financial or critical success, and deserve to have further light shone on them.  Accordingly, my selections for the most underrated of his feature films are listed below.

 

 

 

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Hungry Wives (1971)

George Romero’s self-described “feminist” horror movie, also known as Jack’s Wife and Season of the Witch, involves a bored suburban house-wife, Joan Mitchell (Jan White) who is only able to define herself in terms of her place in the suburbs as a married woman and a home-maker.

In an attempt to rebel against her “accepted” role in society, Joan delves into witchcraft and then adultery, but the movie’s crafty point is, commendably, that witchcraft is no more defining or self-actualizing for Joan than being a house-wife had been. She has merely changed her demographic affiliation or club, while everything else in her life remains the same

Hungry Wives is so powerfully-wrought because George Romero serves as both editor and director, and his editing flights-of-fancy make the movie’s point plain in terms of visualizations.  Early on, for instance, Joan experiences a telling dream in which her husband leads her around on a leash, like a dog.  One of the film’s final images reveals Joan involved in a coven ritual, a red rope looped about her neck, and the symbolism is plain: she has merely traded one trap for another. This visual counterpoint is underlined by the counsel of Joan’s therapist, who advises her that she is imprisoning herself, and must change that pattern if she hopes to make her life better.

 

 

 

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Day of the Dead (1985)

Before 2007 at least, Day of the Dead (1985) was the least-appreciated of the famous Romero living Dead cycle. This lack of approbation was a result, in part,of the film’s overtly and relentlessly serious tone.  For all its mayhem and violence, Dawn of the Dead — set at a shopping mall — also had a fun or jaunty side to it.  But Day of the Dead proved a totally different animal: a solemn and extremely gory exploration of mankind’s last chapter as the dominant species on Earth.

Rather unconventionally, the movie ends with a committed and likable protagonist, Sarah (Lori Cardille) realizing it is all over but the crying, and essentially giving up the fight so as to live her last years (and the last years of humanity…) on a nice island beach somewhere with two decadent helicopter pilots.

But importantly, Day of the Dead also moves the cycle forward in significant fashion via its introduction of Bub (Howard Sherman), a zombie who has been domesticated, after a fashion, and reveals both rudimentary memory, and rudimentary humanity.

In fact, this lovable zombie shows more humanity than the film’s brutal military leader, Rhodes (Joe Pilato), and thereby suggests that the change in the social order might not be all that bad, if the zombies continue to evolve towards something…civilized.

Finally, Day of the Dead features an epic and awe-inspiring opening,:a view of a city in Florida completely overrun by the living dead.  This moment is arguably the biggest in scope of the entire dead run, and establishes brilliantly the zombies’ numerical advantage.  As this shot reveals,  Day of the Dead is actually the Twilight of Man.

 

 

 

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Monkey Shines (1988)

I still remember discussing this Romero horror film at length with visiting movie critic Molly Haskell at the University of Richmond in the late 1980s. We agreed that the critical community had virtually ignored what was a very powerful and very relevant film about human nature.

Monkey Shines involves a man, Allan (Jason Beghe) who is paralyzed in an accident and becomes a quadriplegic.  As such, he is provided by his scientist friend (John Pankow) a capuchin monkey named Ella to act as his arms and legs.  Before long, Ella and Allan form a close bond of friendship and dependence…but then each begins acting on each other’s emotional states and desires.  Soon bloody murder is being committed…but is it at Ellas behest, or Allan’s?

Monkey Shines informs audiences that the “devil” is “animal instinct,” which acts by its “own set of laws,” and then asks the pertinent question: are we that different from the lower animals we treat as pets?  Are we truly evolved, or — underneath the surface — are we just as violent and capricious as cousins in the jungle?

The scenes involving Ella in Monkey Shines are convincing and powerful, save for a few moments where an inert stand-in is clearly utilized, and the film’s debate about instinct (an avatar for the human subconscious in some critical way…) makes the film stand out in an era when rubber reality and slasher movies reigned supreme.

 

 

 

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The Dark Half (1993)

Here’s a Stephen King adaptation that almost nobody loves, or even remembers.  In The Dark Half (1993) Timothy Hutton plays Thad Beaumont, a writer grappling with his famous nom du plum, George Stark.  When Beaumont elects to kill his famous literary name, however, the alter ego comes to life and threatens the writer and his entire family.

A deliberate and modernJekyll-Hyde story, The Dark Half is part of an early 1990s “meta” or post-modern movement in horror.  Films such as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) and John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness (1994) gazed at worlds in which the line between fiction and reality were blurred.  The Dark Half treads meaningfully in similar territory, and gazes at the act of writing as literally a physical birth, as an independent creation that – much like a human child – can no longer be fully controlled by its creator.

There’s nothing flashy or expensive about The Dark Half, and the ending is a bit of a bust, but otherwise Romero crafts a thoughtful, low-key horror film that possesses some electric jolts.  One early scene, set in an operating room is downright terrifying, and another — with a woman broaching an invader in her dark apartment — also gets the blood flowing.

More than anything, however, The Dark Half explores the idea that the creative act of writing represents a violent assertion of will.  “The only way to do it is to do it,” one character notes, and this same determination indeed is what wills the Dark George Stark into the world.

 

 

 

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Survival of the Dead (2009)

Survival of the Dead is yet another Romero living dead movie, and another seriously underrated work of art.  Since the very beginning of his career in 1968, director Romero has used his zombie saga to explore political and social issues of the time. 

For example, Night of the Living Dead speaks to the political violence and upheaval of 1968, and to race relations in America.  Dawn of the Dead very much concerns conspicuous consumption and the “Crisis in Confidence” Carter Age.  And Land of the Dead (2005) explores post 9/11 territory.

Similarly, Survival of the Dead is a thoughtful, point-for-point allegory for American involvement in the Iraq War.  Unfortunately, horror movie fans were too busy complaining about CGI blood effects to notice the movie’s clever thematic framework.

In short, Survival of the Dead involves a refugee, O’Flynn (Kenneth Welsh) — the fictional equivalent of Ahmed Chalabi — who tricks American armed forces into fighting his war for him, and ousting his enemy, Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) — a Saddam Hussein figure – from the land that he would like to lead, paradise-like Plum Island.

Obligingly the National Guard moves in — guns blazing — only to find that matters aren’t so straight-forward.  The soldiers have become involved in a pissing match that, ultimately, doesn’t concern them or their well-being.

The film features an Old West sort of milieu on Plum Island, with rivals O’Flynn and Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) wearing cowboy hats and riding horses while zombies (here called Dead-Heads) are trapped in the nearby corral.

Again, Romero’s thoughtful set-up makes it impossible not to think of the post-911 “dead or alive” rhetoric from the Bush White House. The film’s final imagery — which depicts cowboy zombie versions of O’Flynn and Muldoon trying to kill each other under a bright moon — makes one despair that human nature is ever going to change.

With neo-con dead-enders everywhere on cable news stations this week attempting to re-enlist America in the war in Iraq a decade later, Survival of the Dead is more relevant than ever.  Accordingly, this Romero film is really about discredited zombie ideologies that have long outlived their usefulness, but which keep coming back from the dead to threaten the rest of us.

Posted: 20th, June 2014 | In: Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment


Bumping Geriatric Balls in the 60s : The Album

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THIS record is proof of a glitch in the Matrix.  Life is an illusion, a computer simulation, created by aliens to harness our biologic energy…. it’s literally the only explanation for this record.

Apparently, in 1968 the Milton Bradley Company tried to market their new “Bump Ball” by issuing a corresponding record.  The rules of the game: (1) Throw the Bump Ball into the air, then (2) you and your partner attempt to catch it between your bodies.

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Posted: 19th, June 2014 | In: Flashback, Music | Comments (2)


The Beatles Go Back To Mono: Or Are They Just Trolling?

The Beatles pictured in costume for a sketch during dress rehearsal at the Finsbury Park Astoria, London, of 'The Beatles Christmas Show'.  Date: 24/12/1963

The Beatles pictured in costume for a sketch during dress rehearsal at the Finsbury Park Astoria, London, of ‘The Beatles Christmas Show’. Date: 24/12/1963

 

YOU may not know it, but The Beatles split-up in 1969. Since then, they’ve released more albums than when they were actually together.

Of course, most Beatle-nuts can’t help it and will fall salivating onto just about any Beatle release. They’re still capable of fun surprises – no-one expected the ‘Love’ album (with Cirque du Soleil) to contain a stone-cold banger like the Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows mash-up.

It also featured on a video game with a load of fun psychedelic effects.

 

 

There’s been a host of radio session LPs, outtakes, ‘naked’ versions and, of course, remasters. One thing all fans of the Fab Four can agree on is that the original stereo versions of their famous LPs are a pain in the arse.

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Posted: 18th, June 2014 | In: Music | Comment


And Now For The Omni-Weather: Jeremy Paxman’s 8 Best Newsnight Moments

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JEREMY Paxman has taken his quizzical expression and sardony to pastures news. The BBC’s Newsnight will find a new bullshit wrangler.

That this show survived the Jimmy Savile cover-up is interesting. That Liz MacKean was not a shoo-in to edit a new evening news show is an error.

Paxman became the best thing on Newsnight. He set its knowing, sneery tone. He’ll be missed by many.

So. Let’s see his best 8 moments:

 

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Posted: 18th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities, Reviews, TV & Radio | Comment


For Sale: PERSONALISED ASTON JLS BIRTHDAY BADGES / FRIDGE MAGNETS / HANDBAG MIRRORS

JLS have gocen to the EU’s Boyband silo. But you can keep the magick alive with your…

…PERSONALISED ASTON JLS BIRTHDAY BADGE /FRIDGE MAGNET/MIRRORS

 

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Posted: 17th, June 2014 | In: Music, The Consumer | Comment


The 20 Greatest Codas In Popular Music: The Song Goes From Average To Anthem

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SONGS are composed of various different structures: the chorus, verse, bridge, etc. If they’re put together right, it sounds like one cohesive unit. Today, we’re looking at one section in particular – that last piece, the coda. It’s basically a separate section which brings an end to a song. In popular music, it’s sometimes referred to as an “outro”; the opposite of an intro.

It’s not necessarily long- for instance, “cold outros” as in “What I Like About You” by the Romantics end abruptly (and are a DJ’s worst nightmare). I’m speaking more of the “fade-out coda.” The most well-known example in popular music is probably the “Na Na Na” ending of “Hey Jude”.

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Posted: 17th, June 2014 | In: Key Posts, Music | Comments (4)


Stephen Fry Can Sing? BBC Plan Own Toe-Curlingly Bad Version Of Brit Awards

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THE BBC has long eyed up ITV’s pop-cultural weight with envy. ITV has The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. The BBC have got the rather stuffy Later… with Jools Holland and the even stuffier Strictly Come Dancing.

One big hitter in the TV calendar is ITV’s coverage of the Brit Awards and now, trying to muscle in, the Beeb are launching a rival to it, which will no doubt be like the musical equivalent of the incredibly dry Sports Personality of the Year.

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Posted: 16th, June 2014 | In: Music | Comment


RIP Casey Kasem – The Voice Of Scoobie-Doo’s Pal Shaggy Dies

RIP Casey Kasem. You were the great radio DJ who counted down the Top 40.

 

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Posted: 15th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Angelia Jolie Picks Up Yet Another UN Award To Make The Inept Organisation Look Good

FACE if the week  was US actress Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, hugging Neema Namadamu of the Democratic Republic of Congo at the ‘End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ summit in London.

 

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All noble. And all a bit weird.  The UN and Jolie are a roving awards dinner.

This is Jolie, who when she’s not shooting people in Mr And Mrs Smith is the holder of, among other titles, The International Rescue Committee (IRC) Freedom Award, a gong previously awards to the likes of Willy Brandt, Winston Churchill and Aung San Suu Kyi.  In 2003, the UN created the U.N. Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award and gave it to Jolie. In 2005, the UN refugee agency Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie was given the Global Humanitarian Action Award. It was the first of its kind.

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Posted: 15th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Pear Shaped: Everything You Needed To Know About Alan Yentob And BBC Arts In One Epic Vine

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PRESENTING BBC man Alan Yentob being amazed by Ray Davies’ listed pear tree.

 

 

Spotter: Andy Dawson @profanityswan

 

Posted: 12th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


London Tribute: To Rik Mayall Who ‘Punched His Friend In The Balls On A Bench Near This Spot’

LEST we forget:

A temporary English Heritage style blue plaque in Hammersmith, west London, dedicated to the comic actor Rik Mayall who died yesterday, the QR code on the plaque links to a Youtube clip showing the opening scene of the comedy series ‘Bottom’ that was filmed in Hammersmith.

It’s what he would have wanted…

 

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Posted: 12th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment


‘Dying’ Morrissey, The Sickliest Musician In The World, Cancels Tour

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\IF you work in the music industry, or know someone who works in the biz, you’ll inevitably have hundreds of anecdotes about Morrissey’s behaviour, all them which will result in some kind of libel from the longest face in music.

However, it seems that Moz doesn’t mind making accusations about other people at all, which he did while cancelling all his dates on his American tour.

Morrissey postponed dates in Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington, but how now sacked off the rest of his schedule because he’s a bit poorly.

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Posted: 12th, June 2014 | In: Music | Comment


The Daily Mail Reduces JK Rowling’s ‘Air Bags’ To A 1950s Ideal

THE Daily Mail is read by women who enjoy disliking other women.

In today’s newspaper, readers are treated to a banner declaring “How women’s bodies have ballooned since the 1950s”.

Ballooned is not a word associated with praise, is it? A balloon is

an inflatable bag (as of rubber or plastic) usually used as a toy or for decoration

That’s women for you.

And below that appraisal of the female form, the Mail has a photo of JK Rowling, the Harry Potter writer. Eyes wander to her bosoms, or “air bags”, as the Mail would have them.

 

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Posted: 12th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities, Tabloids | Comment


Man Locked Inside Vegas Airport Driven Mad By Celine Dion

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RICHARD Dunn responded to being locked inside a Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport by filming his version of Celine Dion’s 1996 hit All By Myself – a song best played and sung well away from any other sane human being.

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Posted: 11th, June 2014 | In: Music, Strange But True | Comment


JK Rowling Doesn’t Want Scottish Independence

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THE political hot-tatty that is Scottish Independence has seen most people thinking ‘it doesn’t really matter whether Scotland would be better off independent, they’ll probably vote ‘Yes’ just to get away from the Tories and UKIP’.

Comedian Limmy is a huge vocal support of independence. So is Kevin Bridges, Alan Cumming, Sean Connery and actor Brian Cox. David Bowie and Alex Ferguson aren’t keen on the idea.

Billy Connolly says he’s staying out of it.

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Posted: 11th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities, Politicians | Comment


Get Rik Mayall & The Young Ones to Number One!

IT is remarkable that Rik Mayall, who sadly passed away yesterday, was so loved, considering the small matter of his solely playing really horrible people. Somehow, he retained a certain warmth while being slimy, obnoxious and pervy.

Such is the love, that fans have kicked off some campaigns to honour him.

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Posted: 10th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities, Music | Comment


Soccerball Lover J-Lo Sings World Cup Song And Follows The Action On An App.

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THE World Cup is days away and fully grown adults are trying not to vomit with excitement about it all. Women and men everywhere are only half listening to conversations and forgetting to chew their food before swallowing, thanks to the impending cavalcade of football in Brazil.

Of course, the World Cup is big business. Non-football fans will be bitching and whining on social media, talking about how desperately unfair it all is even though they could go to a pub which isn’t showing the football, or go for a walk which isn’t football related or, indeed, look at everything that isn’t football related on the internet, listen to music, watch the numerous TV channels that are showing Not Football and do something else in this gigantic universe that we have, along with all those other people who don’t like football.

However, you can have it both ways – just ask Jennifer Lopez.

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Posted: 10th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities, Music, Sports | Comment


Axl Rose Threatens Everyone With New Guns N’ Roses LP

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THERE was a time when Guns N’ Roses were the perfect, pompous ragtag gaggle of panto rock villains, waddling around giganto-stages and blasting out ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ while smoking fags and drinking booze from the bottle.

Then, like all good enormous rock bands, they cocked it all up with drugs and in-fighting.

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Posted: 10th, June 2014 | In: Music | Comment


Rik Mayall RIP: A Brilliant Comedian Has Died

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ONE of the most brilliant comedians of his generation, Rik Mayall has died.

Mayall, of course, was in his element when playing utterly obnoxious characters. The most famous of his irritating personas was the poetry-writing, Cliff Richard-loving anarchist Rick in The Young Ones, along with Ade Edmondson, who both went on to becoming the arseholes in Bottom.

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Posted: 9th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Gwyneth Paltrow Shouts At Rice And Urinates On Hilary Clinton’s Happy Teddy: The Greatest Celebrity News Story Of All Time

THIS might be the greatest celebrity news story of all time:

 

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It is not a work of parody, unless Paltrow is, for she wrote on her blog:

“I am fascinated by the growing science behind the energy of consciousness and its effects on matter. I have long had Dr Emoto’s coffee table book on how negativity changes the structure of water, how the molecules behave differently depending on the words or music being expressed around it.”

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Posted: 9th, June 2014 | In: Celebrities | Comment


You Don’t Dare Kill It: The 5 Best Alien (1979) Knock-Offs of the 1980s  

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RIDLEY Scott’s Alien (1979) dramatically altered the template for horror films set in outer space. For example, the blockbuster film was among the first (after Dark Star [1975] to suggest that travel in the final frontier would be the purview of “work-a-day” space truckers rather than noble explorers or adventurous astronauts.

And instead of intrepid space travelers fighting men-in-rubber suits inside idealized white-on-white space station environs (as was the case in The Green Slime [1968]) Alien suggested a technological space age marked by endless industrial corridors and aliens of constantly shifting dimension.

The Scott film’s central alien — a bio-mechanoid horror created by H.R. Giger — could also gestate inside a living human host, and this fact ushered in a new era of cinematic “body horror.”

As with any genre blockbuster, Alien almost immediately spawned a host of knock-offs, some terrible and some quite good.  These films found much material to imitate and emulate, from the diverse make-up of Alien’s victim pool, to bloody variations on Alien’s famous chest-burster birth scene.  Many Alien knock-off films also involved long forgotten derelicts or other structures on alien planetary surfaces, for instance.  Inevitably, human crews would discover these Lovecraftian edifices and wake up age-old horrors.

Among the Alien knock-offs of the 1980s were Scared to Death (1981), Forbidden World (1982),  The Beast Within (1982), Parasite (1982), The Being (1983), and Biohazard (1985), to name just a handful.

The list below represents five of the best — or at least the most memorable– of the Alien knock-off breed.  As is often the case regarding knock-offs, the best such films are invariably those that re-purpose not merely the clichés from one source – in this case — Alien — but also from other literary or cinematic works as well.

 

 

 

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Saturn 3 (1980)

The story of a psychotic mad scientist, Captain Benson (Harvey Keitel) who travels to the Experimental Food Research Station on a moon of Saturn during a twenty-two day eclipse and communications black-out called “Shadow Lock,” the much-reviled Saturn 3 might actually be considered, first-and-foremost, a child of the Frankenstein story.

On remote Saturn 3, Benson assists two scientists working to alleviate a famine on overpopulated planet Earth. Major Adam (Kirk Douglas) and his romantic partner, the beautiful and innocent Alex (Farrah Fawcett) are wary, however, of Benson’s form of help: a colossal humanoid robot named Hector, the first of the “Demi God” series. Hector boasts human intelligence, not to mention human tissue.  And echoing his creator’s madness, he soon begins lusting mightily after Alex.

Outside the space-age Frankenstein monster tropes, Saturn 3, like Alien, is set in a location where aid and assistance from the authorities is not available.  Similarly, Earth in both films is depicted as a used-up dystopia.  In Alien, “the company” controls everything on Earth, and in Saturn 3, humans have polluted the planet and resorted to rampant drug use because of the planet’s inhospitable nature.

Hector stands in for the titular alien, as well, and hunts down the film’s Adam and Eve-styled protagonists in the facility’s twisting factory-like corridors.

Finally, in Scott’s film, the Alien is almost entirely a creature of instinct, driven by impulses to reproduce and survive. In Saturn 3, by contrast, the monster is a machine that experiences something “human” beyond programming: psychosis and lust.  Hector is ultimately beaten, however, because as a machine he can’t understand the human concept of self-sacrifice.

 

 

 

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Galaxy of Terror (1981)

Aliens (1986) director James Cameron served as a production designer on this knock-off from Roger Corman’s New World Studios, and in the process created a universe that is very reminiscent of the Scott film, at least from a visual stand-point.  Like Alien,  Galaxy of Terror is set in a “lived in” universe (unlike, say the white-on-white minimalism of 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968] or Space: 1999 [1975 – 1977].)

In Galaxy of Terror, a rescue ship, The Quest, heads to the mysterious planet called Morganthus to discover the fate of the Remus, another ship which crashed there.  Once on the surface of dark Morganthus, however, the Quest crew discovers a strange alien pyramid.  Soon, the crew — including characters played by Robert Englund, Sid Haig, Grace Zabriskie, and Erin Moran — begins to experience their worst fears made manifest.

In this case — if the plot summary hasn’t given it away already —  Galaxy of Terror draws inspiration not only from Alien, but from Forbidden Planet (1956), a film in which another rescue mission (to Altair-4) runs afoul of a “Monster from the Id,” actually the human subconscious.  That’s pretty much the case here, only with slimy monsters, doppelgangers, and a scene involving a rape by a giant alien worm.

The alien pyramid in Galaxy of Terror looks like it could have been constructed on Alien’s LV-426, and the slate gray sky above it even looks eerily similar. More trenchantly, perhaps, Galaxy of Terror’s rape scene also reflects the violent sexuality seen in Alien, the harsh re-purposing of the human body for unwholesome breeding purposes.

 

 

 

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Inseminoid (1982)

Also known as Horror Planet, Inseminoid is probably the schlockiest film on this list. The film stars Judy Geeson, Stephanie Beacham and Victoria Tennant as astronaut scientists, and involves the discovery of an ancient alien tomb on a far distant planet.

Before long, one astronaut, Sandy (Geeson), is impregnated by the last living alien in the tomb, and becomes the protective expectant mother of two ghastly alien twins. Her maternal instinct is re-purposed to serve an interloper’s biological imperative.

And just as Kane in Alien gives birth to the chest-burster, here Geeson gives birth to two monstrous tykes who — naturally — nurse on human blood.

Inseminoid’s central conceit is that everything on this distant alien world is “doubled.”  The planet orbits twin stars, and the alien mythology is obsessed with twins, and so forth.

Although lacking tact (especially in the flashbacks to Sandy’s impregnation), Inseminoid occasionally features a beautifully composed shot, such as one on the purple surface of the distant planet during a funeral.  There was also a funeral (for Kane) in Alien, but this shot of an alien vista grants the hororr film a nice sense of scope and also a visceral sense of place.

Like Alien, Inseminoid also concerns an alien species that co-opts the human race for its own reproductive requirements.  Here, the aliens suckle on the (open) wounds of dead humans, and Sandy herself becomes a bit blood-thirsty as her biology is altered to play host to most unwelcome invaders.

 

 

 

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Creature (1985)

A corporate spaceship, the Shenandoah, sets down on Titan to investigate an ancient alien archaeological site.  The Shenandoah’s mission is imperiled, however, by the arrival of a ship from a competing corporation, Richter Dynamics, and the presence of its freakazoid captain, played by a scenery-chewing Klaus Kinski.

Before long, the rival crews learn that the archaeological site was actually something akin to an alien zoo or laboratory: a collection of diverse aliens from all over the universe.  Unfortunately, one managed to break free from its captivity and is now attacking and brainwashing human beings…

Creature — while ripping off Alien lock, stock and barrel — also offers a number of notable fan touches.  The film’s Ripley equivalent is Beth Sladen (Wendy Schaal), and her name seems like a nod to Elisabeth Sladen, who accompanied Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who on several dangerous adventures in space in TV serials such as “Ark in Space” and “Planet of Evil.”   The film also quotes dialogue directly from — again – Forbidden Planet.

Additionally, the key to destroying the unleashed zoo specimen in Creature is Sladen’s knowledge of Howard Hawks’ The Thing (1951).  She remembers that — in the movie’s last act — the imperiled humans electrocuted an invading alien.

These and other tributes assure that Creature can be contextualized as more than mere Alien knock-off.

Finally, Creature also revives the “corporate” culture social critique underlying the Scott film.  In this case, the rival spaceships are involved in what the film’s dialogue calls “a fierce race for commercial supremacy.

Even in space — with drooling, brainwashing aliens out and about — the ultimate enemy is…big business.

 

 

 

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Predator (1987)

John McTiernan’s 1987 adventure/horror movie is actually part-Rambo (1985) and part-Aliens (1986), and is the best film on this list, by far.  Still, much of its energy seems derived from the Alien aesthetic.

Here, we get the remote location (a jungle in Central America instead of outer space), an alien — with a similarly distinctive jaw-line — that cuts down one human at a time, and is a kind of alpha or apex predator.

The alien in Scott’s film was the ultimate survivor, able to breed and survive in any setting.  The alien, by contrast, in Predator is the universe’s greatest hunter, a characterization that sets up a conflict with planet Earth’s greatest warrior, Dutch, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But the real commonality between Alien and Predator arises in a mid-story surprise and revelation of conspiracy.  In Alien, the Nostromo’s science officer, Ash (Ian Holm), protects the alien all along, and considers the rest of the human crew “expendable,” on secret orders from the Company.

In Predator, Dillon (Carl Weathers), an ambitious military officer, uses the cover of a rescue mission to get Dutch’s men into a position where they can acquire important documents about “the enemy.”  As in Alien, the soldiers serving under Dutch are thus considered “expendable.”

Neither Ripley nor Dutch respond well when they expose the secret conspiracy, and the conspirator.  In Predator, however, Dillon gets a shot at redemption, and Ash gets…decapitated.

 

Posted: 7th, June 2014 | In: Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (2)