Unique beginning; great cinematography all the way through -- assured movements and close cuts; extraordinary make-up effects by Stan Winston; and each act of violence shot to avoid routine and get under your skin ... and eyelids.
But more fog than you shake a stick at; and a performance by the male lead that makes him the sheriff in a 50s sci-fi movie crossed with the uncle from View From the Bridge ... I blame the director for giving into writer Dan O'Bannon, who has a way of crafting most of a movie incredibly right and letting the rest lapse into cult shtick.
Jack Albertson, as the coroner, deserves the compliments, but for a while it's a wooden performance, a totem for a low-budget horror film. Best acting: Melody Anderson, pissing on the feminism-for-sale of The Stepford Wives, in the sliest screwball comic performance I've seen buried in a horror film. Jenny Blount, as the town tart, is another Stepford refugee, who makes her centerfold appeal as scary as Winston's effects.