One of the kings of intensive B-movie production, Fred Olen Ray attempted to cash-in on both Alien and the Terminator in one single movie, and the end result is this this pretty bad, yet still perfectly watchable sci-fi action/horror. The opening prologue set on a space prison (and clearly filmed in a disused industrial unit on the outskirts of Hollywood) offers maybe the most fun part of the whole movie with the cheap sets and the ridiculous costumes, the female character with two big holes in her top is especially comedic; but then again I doubt is this was ever intended to be taken in the slightest bit seriously. The alienator herself is a daft looking cyborg that appears to be made up of bits and pieces raided from a prop department and cack handedly put together in a few hours. Fans of low-rent 80's cheese should give this a go as it isn't overly dull, or that badly made that it becomes unenjoyable to watch, but everyone else should stick to the films this wants to imitate.
Whenever I criticise a low budget Independent film like this, I get a lot of hassle as if my sole argument is that the film didn?t have a large budget. I?m going to get this out of the way now; a film?s budget is not a legitimate quality of a film that can be criticised. I can however, comment on just how bad a film genuinely is. I found Alienator as a VHS in a Charity Shop, unopened. When I eventually decided to watch it, I figured it would be an extremely guilty pleasure to watch, because just looking at the Plot Synopsis and images on the back of the Box, you could tell that this wasn?t going to be high art. Instead, it angered me. I put the lacking Visual Treats out of my mind and tried to accept the film for what is was strong in, but I drew large blanks. If you?re reading this, I doubt you?ve seen the film, and my aim is to convince you with my criticism that you shouldn?t change that.
So the Premise of this abysmal mess of a Science Fiction film revolves around an alien criminal named Kol about to be executed. He manages to escape though; he steals an aircraft and lands in some woods in America. The commander of the Spaceship trying to have him executed decides to send out an indestructible death machine, named the Alienator, to execute Kol. While on Earth, Kol meets up with some teens and attempts to use them to survive the Alienator?s attack. It?s a plot ripped straight from the Terminator; right down to the title. An indestructible creature is sent to Present Day Earth, to destroy a significant individual. The differences between the 2 are few, but still apparent. For one, the Terminator was all about Time Travel, whereas Alienator is more based around aliens and space. Also, while the Terminator was in part a slasher film, Alienator decides to take inspiration from the surge of slasher films that were released following the release of John Carpenter?s Halloween. The teenagers that act responsible survive, and those that act stupid get what they deserve. However, much like all of these Slasher films, it?s entirely predictable and you guess the fates of all of the characters. The film attempts to throw in a few sub-plots, and most of them are unnecessary. There?s a romance sub-plot to do with a couple of the teens, and there?s one teen in particular who has an odd past. They go nowhere and just add to the time that the film runs. One sub-plot tries to actually make the audience think; is Kol really a cruel and dangerous being, or is he falsely accused. Normally, I applaud a film for taking a smart tactic, but Alienator misses out on that praise. When a film applies this tactic in an effort to be smart, they make sure that the writing and story based around that sub-plot is thought out properly as to actually be smart. The question surrounding Kol?s personality never had me thinking, because the film isn?t subtle about displaying it. I?m going to ruin the ending here, so if you?re desperate not to know, then skip to the next paragraph. It?s revealed that the Alienator was right in trying to kill Kol, because he is a ruthless and selfish tyrant, determined to murder and continue his own life. Throughout the film, there are occasional poorly written scenes that try to pose him as a misunderstood and falsely sentenced individual, but the actual script made it easy to determine his true emotions. Everything he does is selfish and over the top, and when they try to paint him as a kinder individual, it fails.
There isn?t a single recognisable actor in this film. Being this low budget, it?s no surprise that the actors chosen were cheap to hire, and their talent reflects. The person playing the role of the Alienator, Teagan Clive, has the excuse of being wooden. Playing the robot and merciless killer doesn?t require a layered performance. The rest of the cast are also very wooden and unbearable to watch though, but they don?t have an excuse. There?s no point listing off the actors, because they?re not recognisable.
I?ve already commented on the special effects being terrible. It?s to be expected though with a film this low budget. It doesn?t change that they?re terrible though, it just gives you the indication that they couldn?t have been much better. The sets though were terrible. There are a couple of scenes that were filmed in the woods, but they?re chosen poorly and directed terribly that the set may as well be fake.
Alienator is a film that comes ever so close to getting my 0 out of 10 rating. A couple of fun sound effects barely elevates it over that level, but it?s dangerously close to the completely irredeemable rating. There are some films that are so bad that they?re good, but this isn?t one of them. It?s just plain bad, not recommendable, and a waste of both time and money. My advice, and I beg you to take it, is to not give this film a second thought.
Andrew?s rating: 0.5 out of 10