Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Evil Aliens

You will need beer to watch this movie. Oh yes, you will. And lots of it. Evil Aliens is a gloriously cheesy, low-budget, British sci-fi horror with its tongue very, very firmly in its cheek and gore all over its face. Think Aliens plus Predator plus Shaun of the Dead plus Evil Dead meets The X Files in Wales, and you’re about there. It’s from the twisted mind of Jake West, who made the vampire flick Razor Blade Smile. If you’ve seen any of his films, you’ll know what to expect; inyaface outrageous action, dark humour, and women with not enough clothing. In this case, West gives us the lovely Emily “Bouff” Booth, who British viewers may recognize as the presenter of various late-night TV shows such as outThere.

This is as close as you get to seeing boobies.

The plot is really simple. A Welsh woman claims she’s been abducted and impregnated by aliens, and the presenters of a failing TV show go to investigate. And guess what, there really are aliens, and they’re, um, evil. When they find themselves trapped by the tide, the killings and the multilations begin. If you’re squeamish, don’t watch this movie. Really, don't. You may not get past the opening sequence where the aliens carry out a rectal examination on the woman’s boyfriend. And don’t let your kids watch it either.

Everyone gets completely blood-splattered. It's that kind of movie.

The highlight of the movie was a wonderful scene featuring a combine harvester which wins a Mongoose Award for Most Inspired Use Of Wurzels Music In A Movie. (For my transatlantic readers, The Wurzels are the English equivalent of hillbilly music. Everyone in England knows the words to their songs, but nobody will admit to it.) It’s sheer cinematic genius, right up there with I Will Survive in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It had us all drunkenly humming Combine Harvester several hours later, still unable to stop laughing. I’m not saying any more. Watch it for yourselves.

So come on now, let's get together in perfect harmony...

The character acting is magnificently hammy, especially the three Welsh farmers – who don’t speak a word of English. They start off as really unlikeable, grotesque characters, but after a while – ok, ok, once they get going with the chainsaws and shotguns – you really find yourself rooting for them. The “UFO expert”, Gavin Gorman, is another great character, the quintessential UFO nerd, very much like the Lone Gunmen in the X Files. You’re never quite sure whether to laugh at him, hit him, or root for him. And the aliens themselves? Brilliant. For men with silly masks and silver suits, they’re really rather entertaining. They’re unbelievably stupid cannon fodder, and really evil at the same time, just like good Doctor Who baddies should be. And yes, that is Norman “Holly” Lovett in a bit part at the start.

Aliens with satanic symbols on their masks. Huh?

The special effects are much better than you’d expect for a low-budget movie. The alien spaceship is quite impressive really, and while it’s no Independence Day, it’s a long way from crappy models on fishing wire. And the prosthetics are great - limbs and heads get ripped off with gleeful abandon, people get impaled on all sorts of objects, and the surgical scenes are really ghoulishly visceral.

Actually rather effective for a cheap lighting trick.

I thoroughly enjoyed Evil Aliens. If you’re not British, you may not get it, but that’s OK. I can imagine several people I know who would love to make a living out of making movies like this; cheap, cheerful, entertaining. Sometimes "quality" is overrated, and all you need is an irrepressible sense of fun. Evil Aliens is never going to win critical acclaim, but it’s earned a place in my DVD collection.

Babe with a shotgun and a welsh psychopath in tow. You should have got the idea by now what you're in for.


Pineapple Pictures said...

Aaah, evil Aliens..just when you thought it was safe to skip out into the fields with a picnic..

johnnie said...

"The Wurzels are the English equivalent of hillbilly music. Everyone in England knows the words to their songs, but nobody will admit to it."

I'll happily and proudly admit to knowing the words to several Wurzels songs, although not as many as I'd like.

"Or perhaps you knew them, as I did, when they were a new-wave German techno band, Das Wertzels." - Bill Bailey, The Bewilderness LP

Matt Kelland said...

I realised a little while ago that I've seen the Wurzels live more than any other band. This is mainly due to the fact that they're a very local band and play every shindig going, from local fairs to farmers' markets and school sports days, so it's actually quite hard to avoid them.

But there is something rather enjoyable about sitting on the grass in the Somerset sunshine with a pint of the local scrumpy, singing along to "I am a cider drinker (I drinks it all of the day), ooh arrh ooh arrh aye!"