Creature

January 8, 2013 at 2:50 am (7 Heads, Creature) (, , , , )

Creature – 1985 – United States

Director William Malone’s first feature was Scared to Death (1981), an Alien (1979) rip-off that spawned the sequel Syngenor (1990). His second feature, Creature, was derived even more blatantly from Alien, including its half-assed title.

Two corporations compete for an ancient alien wreck on Jupiter’s moon Titan. A crew of hard-working salvagers is menaced by a deadly biological entity after their ship is damaged in an accident. This invincible creature mind controls its victims by implanting parasites in their heads. But, ultimately, man is the worst monster. The ruthless corporations covet the wreck despite the cost in human lives. Then there’s the crazy brain-addled molester, played by Klaus Kinski with no restraint.

Beyond its derivative premise, Creature’s stylistic debt to Alien is huge. The models and sets have a familiar gritty aesthetic. The spaceship’s corridors are cramped with wires, pipes, and hoses, and Titan’s dusty surface flickers with lightning. The gory, slimy effects are also reminiscent, right down to the creature’s elongated skull and oozing spittle. There’s even a tough commando broad who physically recalls Sigourney Weaver. Also, I suspect some sound effects were taken from Star Wars.

At least Creature is a good imitation, with admirable models, sets, effects, and acting. I dig the utilitarian design of the salvager’s spaceship, and Titan’s hostile landscape is foreboding. Don’t miss the gnarly cranium explosion scene, not unlike Scanners (1981), or the triumphant finale, in which the creature is electrocuted and detonated with a bomb.

As the salvagers investigate Titan’s archaic wreckage, it’s hinted to be the ruins of an alien zoo. This cool concept is sadly wasted. Imagine all variety of innocuous and deadly extraterrestrial beasts awaking from suspended animation with the salvagers trapped in the middle. Awesome! Unfortunately, Creature isn’t nearly that imaginative, but it’s as good as it can be while being utterly unoriginal.

Rating: 7/10 Shrunken Heads. In an ironic twist, the Creature promotional poster was ripped off for the American box art of the Nintendo Entertainment System game The Guardian Legend (1989).

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