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  • Let's be clear right from the start -- "Alien Trespass" is not a spoof. Nor is it a parody, satire, sendup, lampoon, or pastiche. It may be presented as a spoof and most ticket buyers will likely go in expecting one, and the makers of the film may even have set out to produce a spoof.

    But what they achieved instead is a meticulous recreation of a film from the 1950s, earnest and straightforward. The period detail is truly impressive, with costuming, sets, and locations all note-perfect. Even the casting is to be commended, especially for the younger actors -- it is actually difficult to find actors who can convincingly portray people outside their era, but these folks do a great job. There are a few minor anachronisms, but overall the period recreation is staggering, right down to the feel of the film stock and even the lighting.

    The film's accuracy is actually its greatest problem, in terms of success. Instead of the "Airplane" type treatment many will expect, the film instead gives us just what it pretends to: a film made in the 50s but only recently unearthed. But this means it has only the camp factor inherent in those films; the audience with which I shared the preview screening wanted it to be a spoof, laughed at some parts, but the things they were laughing about were accurately rendered from that time -- they were laughing at period "quaintnesses" only gently exaggerated. The film is too straight-faced and sincere to get the average viewer laughing.

    I am surprised this movie got made, but near-astounded that it is getting a theatrical release. The production values are high, and Eric McCormack has some name draw, but I am still not sure how they sold it for distribution.

    Let's put it this way: If you know who Wade Williams is, if you and your friends trade dialogue from "Forbidden Planet" and "The Day the Earth Stood Still", or if you ever saw the original Blob in an actual theater, this movie will give you a warm feeling and a nostalgic smile as a love letter to the movies from that time. Just about everyone else, I am afraid, will feel perplexed and disappointed.

    I enjoyed "Alien Trespass", and I feel like they made it just for me. But really, how many of me are there out there?
  • First, this is not a comedy. It's clear that the filmmakers were sincere in making this movie and tried to recreate a movie with the feel of a 1950's sci-fi, including the same kind of humor (for the most part). Sure, a comment that Edsels would be around forever, but there's not even a whole lot of that.

    This film was made for people who enjoy watching the monster movies made 50 years ago. This has it all; small town in the desert, unusual goings-on in the hills; teenagers that adults won't believe; even the local scientist. It's an homage in the finest tradition.

    As such, if you can't stand watching old '50's sci-fi, then don't bother with this. But if you catch yourself at the video store looking for some forgotten red-scare flying saucer thriller, or if your copy of This Island Earth is in regular viewing rotation, then Alien Trespass is intended for you, and you should see it.
  • ........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA...and ORLANDO, FL

    If reading my "Summary" Phrase provokes a reaction (good or bad), brings back memories, or holds any special meaning for you, watching "Alien Trespass" undoubtedly will trigger the release of large quantities of DOPAMINE from your basal ganglia, prompting you to rate it 7* or higher. If you're clueless after reading my lead-in phrase, you should expect no more than 6*. Simple as that! So, if you're reading this solely to determine if you might like "Trespass" or not, "Mission Accomplished!"

    Should you want or need more information, here it is:

    For those of us who couldn't get enough of those schlocky 50's/early 60's "B" Sci-Fi/Horror flicks, "Trespass" serves up a laundry list of "B" movie conventions, in just the right sequence, duration, intensity and style:

    The somewhat nerdy, but relatively good-looking astronomer/scientist, who warns of potential danger lurking behind every asteroid; his femme fatale Stepford-wife, whose libido seems 180 out of sync with his; the teenage couple parked on lover's lane who first encounter the alien monster, only to discover that no one will believe a word they say! Their apparently absolutely nothing in common "Cool Cat, Hey, Daddy-o" black leather jacketed best friend with all the good ideas; the "Let's-lock-up-all-those-crazy-juvenile-delinquent-punks!" local police chief; the reclusive drunken old codger and his Old Yeller look-alike dog, who live in the area adjacent to the crimson-glow crash-site; the resourceful, but desperate to land a husband, waitress from the local diner; and an only slightly digitally enhanced cheesy, tree stump tentacled Cyclops alien monster…among other elements!

    I can offer up no rational explanation as to why the last 45 minutes had me mesmerized, other than that watching countless B movies in my youth seems to have hard-wired my brain to crave them! Be sure to watch the special features shorts, they're a real treat and will help you appreciate the film even more! Comparisons to 2004's "Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" are inevitable. Despite giving "Trespass" 8*, "Cadavra" I consider a unique 10* masterpiece, in a league all its own!....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

    Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
  • Do you remember: It Came From Outer Space, War of the Worlds, The Blob and Invasion of the Body Snatchers? If you liked these classic 50's Sci-Fi movies, then you'll love Alien Trespass. It's a smartly written terror/mystery/comedy that is completely true to the 50's Sci-Fi style . . . and it's also in color! When I was a kid I went to see all these movies and unfortunately most of them were not that great. Then starting in the 70's people began making retro versions with the same disappointing results. Alien Trespass is the first and only really well crafted retro Sci-Fi movie I've ever seen - I've waited a long time for this one. They claim that it's a 'lost classic' stored for 50 years. I think they could be right!
  • tommylarc21 April 2008
    I attended the premiere of "Alien Trespass" last night and I wanted to share a thought or two.

    Authentic is the first word, which comes to mind. The sets, the period pieces, the language, the automobiles, everything was beautifully realized, developed, researched to create the "authenticity" of small town America in 1957.

    Humor, well, it goes without saying. The script was superb.

    "Great Dick" "The Goata is a biomorphic being cable of making itself invisible" "Paranoid camera" " The Edsel will be around forever" " I had a pipe"

    Execution, Direction, Lighting, Timing, all superbly done, top notch and professional. It was crafted beautifully.

    I left the movie theatre with a sense of delight and chuckle. My older sister remarked how she remembers playing on the Electrolux when we were kids skidding around the living room like a sleigh. The colorful jackets, the housewife, the pipe, The 3 holed Buick (not a four holed Century) all fond memories as a kid growing up. The illusion of a better time, innocence, naivety, which we fondly look back on, but it never really existed, the lack of knowledge but the pursuit of greater understanding of space, star ships, time travel, aliens, far off planets and the unknown. I walked out thinking "I loved that movie" it brings back so many good memories.

    But the movie does more. With all its authenticity, humor, superb production, scoring, timing, lighting, acting, writing and direction, all necessary ingredients to establish quality, continuity and credibility, the movie makes us laugh at ourselves. This was best realized when we, the audience, were seated in the theatre watching a movie about a movie. It was during the "Blob" segment that we in fact became part of history.

    The Blob segment was woven brilliantly, right down to the original chief of police. Instead of hearing Steve McQueen shouting CO2, CO2, I kept saying to myself, NaCl idiots, NaCl. The audience was experiencing three movies at once and we were laughing at all three simultaneously. So, it was more than a period piece, but also contemporary in its ability for us to see ourselves over a 50 year stretch of time and simultaneously, ponder if the human race will evolve in the coming 50 years.

    It was simple in its complexity like Little Miss Sunshine, nothing pretentious, just accessible and wonderful for everybody. It makes us feel humanly vulnerable and gives us an opportunity to laugh at ourselves in the process. To ponder complex ideas in simple human terms and concurrently laughing out loud at our naivety and silliness, is well, very tough to pull off successfully…………. I loved it, thanks for making it.

    An avid movie goer.
  • As someone raised on those Grade B 50s sci-fi movies, I was delighted to be treated to one more. The movie is a love poem to the genre. Unlike contemporary sci-fi monster thrillers, which rely on unreasonably graphic gore and violence, this movie finds its feet in story and pathos. The characters are memorable, the special effects are sublimely imperfect, even the monster has an endearing quality in its hokeyness. The film captures the hopes, dreams, angst and fears of the 50s, and evokes not as much nostalgia but perspective. The film is not satire, for the characters believe in themselves and their peril as seriously as we believe in ours. Neither is it comedy, despite some truly funny moments. My sense is the actors had a whale of a good time in their roles. Although humanity is indeed threatened in Alien Trespass, we see that the essence of humanity extends far beyond our own solar system.
  • It's not really a Spoof. They are playing their lines EXACTLY as they would had it been 1950. The difference is that now in the 21st century-- we can do Spaceships and Monsters MUCH better.

    But it's all there-- the sleepy midwest town. The Scientist and his wife. The Town Sheriff and his Deputy. The Teen lovers sneaking a smooch at 'The Point'. The Town 'Bad Boy'. . . and all the rest. Except now it's all in brilliant HD color. And in the dialogue and sets you can catch the little winks at the Manufactured Mores of that time.

    Think "It Came from Outer Space" re-Mastered and you'll have fun watching it. Especially if you're old enough to remember!

    This one is Best for a Saturday Night. And Oddly enough, this movie isn't for the Kids. It's for Us.

    Have some chilled wine and pull the girlfriend close. Even She'll have a hoot!
  • sherazade9270010 January 2009
    I just watched this movie at the Palm Springs Film Festival Premier screening and I recommend you all to watch, it is a great movie and I had the pleasure to see the Director and Erick McCormick talking about the movie and the making of this fantastic work. I will see it again when is on the movie circuit! The scenes really takes us back in time and the Cast did work their part really well too, the costumes. It's funny, entertaining and everyone in the Theater had the were really pleased and voiced out on their comments.

    Worth Seeing everyone!

  • i enjoyed this spoof of 1950's alien movies and the 1950's era in general.there are certainly some amusing moments and a few laugh out loud scenes,but i wouldn't call this an hysterically funny film.and maybe it isn't supposed to be.but there a couple of truly inspired sequences that work very effectively.including the opening sequence many of the gags are telegraphed a mile a way.with two nudges,a couple of winks and a nod.the movie knows what it is,and doesn't try to be any thing's no classic,by any means,but you could certainly do a lot worse with your time.just don't expect too much,any you won't be disappointed.for me,Alien Trespass is a 6/10
  • I must say I loved the movie Alien Trespass. I saw it at a test screening in LA recently and because my parents are from the 50's I really didn't think I'd like it. However it's a movie that's intelligent yet innocent, vintage yet state-of-the-art, thrilling and also heart-felt. I thoroughly enjoyed the Gold-a-Vision concept; the colors were so vibrant! Alien Trespass is the best trapped-with-a-monster-right-behind-you movie I've seen in a long time. Wait until you see the Ghota! It's actually scary in a really creepy way.

    Tammy (Jenny Baird) is a heroine like no other in 50's sci-fi films. She thrills you, she is strong yet she is also soft. Tammy is a real woman who does what she can (and then some) to protect herself and the people around her. Of course, the better known Eric McCormack, Dan Lauria and Robert Patrick all dole out superb performances; but keep in mind that this film is stocked with new-comers who are perfectly cast in their believable characters.

    Alien Trespass is a perfect movie for both young and old. You won't see any nudity or hear any cussing - just a smart, clever script and a well-done storyline. A great sci-fi ride in a time machine. It's really a classic from the 50's (back to the future) and who knows - maybe it even could have happened . . .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm a big fan of classic black-and-white horror movies with goofy monster designs, stupid dialog and acting and a lame or inconsistent plot that makes no sense.

    Well, Alien Trespass has all that, but it's a 2009 movie!

    Here's the story: An alien crashes on our planet and it's captive, a violent creature known as a Ghota (or however you spell it?) escapes. Our alien goes on a chase across the country to find this Ghota, or else mankind is doomed...

    I can see from which movies this film has taken inspiration. Here's a short list of movies that came to my mind while I was watching this: Teenagers from Outer Space (1959), The Green slime (1968), Island of Terror (1966) and The Blob (1958) {They even show parts of this classic movie in a scene at the cinema!}. I'm sure there are more references, but those are the ones that I recognized right away.

    Alien Trespass is not for everyone. I'm sure a lot of people think it's a lame, stupid movie that doesn't appeal. HOWEVER if you are a fan of old classic sci-fi 'horror' movies then this is definitely a watch for you.

    Alien Trespass captured the spirit of 50's/60's movies perfectly. A job well done!

    8 out of 10 stars.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Send up of the 1950's science fiction films that play better than other recent attempts (Lost Skeleton of of Cadarva for example). The plot is an amalgam of bits from the Blob, Day the Earth Stood Still, It Came From Outer Space and others all mixed up into a familiar blend. It kind of works but even at 80 minutes the film feels too long for what it is (A newsreel at the start seems to indicate they needed to stretch the run time). For me the real problem is that the film is in color and while thats fine since many films like War of the Worlds and When Worlds Collide were made in color, this is the wrong sort of color (If you watch the film you'll know what I mean). It looks good but just feel wrong and I think Black and White would have been better. Worth a rental if you like old science fiction films.
  • I really liked this movie. It had all the antics and clichés of a fifty year old sci-fi movie but with the better acting, picture quality and audio of a newer movie. People may rag on the quality of the acting, but it is supposed to be a bit over the top and clichéd. THAT'S THE POINT! Most of what I read about this film was so negative that I was really reluctant to spend the time to watch it, but I think a lot of people are missing the idea. The movie is supposed to be pretty cheesy and goofy. There is not supposed to be some great contribution to the philosophical understanding of the human condition, nor are you supposed to put this down as an adrenaline pumped thrill ride. It's more like hearing an out of this world tale from your granddad with dementia, you don't take it seriously and just kind of enjoy the ride. This is the kid coaster you take for the nostalgic pleasure NOT the pulse-pounding fear ride you take to prove you're a man.

    All in all a great lite cinematic meal.
  • Yes, it's a 50s camp movie. But it's so much more than that. The contrasts are sharply drawn when you take notice of the fact that this is a homage to 50s sci-fi flicks but filmed in high-def. Similar to Quentin Tarantino's GRINDHOUSE series homage to the blood-and-guts films of the 70s, ALIEN TRESPASS pulls no punches in letting us see "the cheese" that accompanied these campy movies from 60 years past.

    And the homage doesn't just stop at the style of the film. Many references to 50s flicks come up. Most notable is THE BLOB, where we've got a collection of people in a theater (trapped!) where an alien attack is about to take place (most sci-fi buffs will see this coming a mile away, but it's still cool to watch).

    The great thing, too, about Alien Trespass is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. The main character Ted Lewis (Eric McCormack, DEAD LIKE ME) gets "inhabited" by the spirit of an alien who's ship crashed. This alien's name is (wait for it) ...Urp. And he's an intergalactic marshal. And he has a shoot out with a deputy. Any of this ringing a bell? Think "Earp".

    With tongues firmly in their cheeks, but playing it straight, the entire cast really pulled in a very fun movie to watch. Even the interviews on the DVDs are done in such a way that we're led to believe these new actors are family members of the "original" actors who starred in the supposedly destroyed film, Alien Trespass. Yes, there's a documentary-style film-within-a-film, even before the actual movie begins. Kind of like the way TROPIC THUNDER started but bent more toward the appropriate era here.

    I also enjoyed the overt sexuality simmering beneath the surface for Ted and his cleavage-enhanced wife, Lana (Jody Thompson). But there's no physical sexuality seen and only the great fade-to-black shots we were all used to seeing whenever something tasty was about to happen between men and women during films of the 50s.

    If you were a fan of 50s camp-flicks (particularly COMMANDO CODY: SKY MARSHAL OF THE UNIVERSE), you definitely have to see this one.
  • Alien Trespass can be added to the increasing number of "retro" movies which pretend to imitate the cinematographic style from previous decades,evoking a more simple,gentle and free from cynicism time.Unfortunately,this movie makes the mistake of thinking that intentional anachronism will be enough for making it interesting or entertaining.That is like thinking a book will be better if it was impressed with a different typography...after all,the stylistic details do not care too much when the story is not solid.The story of Alien Trespass makes a tribute (or,better said,copies) to various classical sci-fi movies made in the 50's and 60's.Its basic structure is similar to It Came from Outer Space,but there are also some elements from The Day the Earth Stood Still,The Creeping Terror,The War of the Worlds and The Blob.

    Alien Trespass is not a comedy at the style of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra; it is not a post-modern experiment like Grindhouse; and it is not a serious historical manifest like Prometheus Triumphant : A Fugue in the Key of Flesh.It is simply a recreation of the fantastic cinema which set the backgrounds of the genre,combining the serious and intellectual themes from literary science fiction with the accessible formulas from heroic cinema.The movies from this style I have liked are the ones which do not only posses nostalgic value and naif manufacture,but also a good story and some brief comments about the human condition.I did not found anything of that in Alien Trespass,so the final experience feels boring and very weak.

    Besides,I would have preferred the "retro" style would have gone much more far away.The sets,"props" and costumes are well designed,but a lot of elements make the movie to seem too modern,like the clean colour cinematography (which is also done in "widescreen") and the tri-dimensional animation in which the flight of the spaceship is shown.In fact,all the special effects do not fit with the movie.I think they should have been done on a more "classical" way,like the way they were done on the previously mentioned The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.

    I would not consider Alien Trespass to be a bad movie...I would simply say it is a pretty mediocre one for various elements,but specially for its complete lack of ambition and its lack of a solid story and entertainment value.I do not recommend it,because a boring movie does not deserve that.
  • pdja16 September 2010
    "Alien Trespass" is a loving tribute to all those 50's Sci-Fi Monsters from Outer Space Movies- and bears more than a little resemblance to "It Came From Outer Space." The only drawback is it should have been filmed in Black and White. Other than that, it's a lot of fun. I love the "Interveiws" done with the "Stars" of the movie. The tip of the hat to Edward R. Murrows "Person To Person" is quite apparent. Eric McCormack is pitch perfect, as are Dan Lauria and Robert Patrick. The locations are in keeping with the 50s spirit. The script has just enough humor and inside jokes to make it interesting for fans of old Sci-Fi. So pop some corn, grab some candy and settle in for "Alien Trespass."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film reminded me of the type films that played occasionally as a part of a drive-in triple feature,way back in 1957.

    They generally were released by studios on the lower tiers of the studios. To give you an idea of how far down the list these studios were,

    Republic, Monogram & Producers Releasing would be higher up on the list.

    What we now have is a 2009 movie made in that style using a cast of not very well known players. The acting is done in the same weak style as they did back then & the same goes for the production values. This film was made in the Vancouver, Canada area..

    They used to be made in the studio & the back lot and in black & white.

    This is in glowing colour of the type they used in 1957.

    The special effects in 1957 were on the 'cheezy' side & they aren't much better now.

    I did not expect a real good film, In 1957 I did enjoy these for what they were. I enjoyed what I saw tonight in the same way. It definitely is worth a rental, By the way in the films of the '50's & earlier, people did properly dress as seen in the film.

    I forgot to say who is cast: Eric Mccormick from some TV show has a nice double role as the lead. Robert Patrick is the only other known player.

    R.W.Goodwin directed,James Swift & Stephan P.Fisher did the story & screenplay.

    My rating probably is close to what it would have been in 1957, The film is not very good BUT it is likable.

    Ratings: **1/2 (out of 4) 66 points (out of 100) IMDb 6 (out of 10)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Last night we watched 'Alien Trespass'. It's a 2009 film that attempts to pay homage to the great old sci-fi films of the 50s and early 60s. I'm happy to say it succeeded, this is an entertaining movie.

    I've seen a number of films in recent years that wanted to spoof or emulate the 50s sci-fi B-movie classics. They only partially succeeded or failed miserably. This one did a good job. It was humorously reminiscent of films like 'The Blob' and 'It Came From Outer Space'. In fact there's a scene near the end that takes place in a theater that is showing 'The Blob'. What happens almost parallels what's on the screen in that theater. The first part of the film starts with a sort of 1950s B/W news reel about the making of the movie and it's being shelved by the studio chief. I just wish they had more fully explained why it was shelved. Then it proceeds to show the movie. If I had to criticize, I guess I would say that some of the dialog was too contemporary and would not have appeared in a 50s film. Also, it might have been more effective if the whole movie was in B/W instead of color. Still, I guess there were some films back then in color like 'The Blob' for instance. I also read this about the use of color "Alien Trespass's saturated color was inspired by the original The War of the Worlds (1953) - one of Goodwin's favorite sci-fi films". The bottom line is it was l a fun romp. It's not done completely straight and does have a lot of humor in it, also some fun scares. The monster from space is a hoot and looks very appropriate. I particularly like the eerie background music complete with weird sounding chorus, it's hard to describe, you'll know what I mean when you hear it. It's music you might have heard in films like 'I Married a Monster From Outer Space', another favorite film hinted at here. The dialog was good and the acting was professional. I believe the main reason other films that attempted this sort of tribute failed was poor amateurish acting and low budgets. This instead featured fine talents including Eric McCormack (of 'Will and Grace' fame), Dan Lauria, and Robert Patrick. They also had a budget that could do justice to the atmosphere they were trying to create with 50's- era cars, dress, and settings.

    If you love the old 50s early 60s sci-fi/horror classics the way I do, I'm sure you will enjoy this movie. I highly recommend it to my fellow sci-fi fans.
  • sebpopcorn19 August 2013
    Despite being billed as a comedy this is more like an attempt to make a movie that looks and feels like a drive in film of the 50's. That's great because I love those old movies, unfortunately the end result is a bit unsatisfying.

    The monster isn't great and although I appreciate 50's monsters were a bit on the rubbery side it doesn't look like they really put a whole lot of effort into it. I didn't like its ability to become invisible either, it seemed cheap and lazy. The acting is also distractingly over-the-top or poor depending on how generous you are feeling.

    If you like 50's scifi then you will almost certainly enjoy this movie to some degree, they get enough right that it works but with a better cast it could have been a lot more entertaining. It definitely doesn't have the same charm as the genuine article.
  • sorompio30 July 2009
    Oh, yes, we all catch the joke, so what! Sci-fi movies from the fifties filled our young years and we don't mind watching them again from time to time. A tribute could never be out of place, then, unless somebody decides to make a tribute just for the sake of it. The absolute stupidity of this film is based on the belief that you actually can transform a standard script of a fifties sci-fi B-movie in a frozen modern film and let the irony do the talking by itself. Like a digital watch on a caveman's wrist. All the impact is laid upon mimicking the whole set of big all clichés in antics and acting so we can bask in how ahead of those times we are now and how we lost our innocence to technology and advanced digital FX. Well, the results are lame, to say the least. Just a boring ninety minutes movie, so bad in argument and character that it would have us switching channels in our black and white TV even back when we were kids. Again... to the producers and the director: we all catch the joke, now please tell us something we don't know.
  • If you are looking for a sci-fi that doesn't rely on big name actors to suck you into the theater, doesn't have endless explosions and car chases, doesn't rush into the story without developing characters, and doesn't have any men in black, then "Alien Trespass" is for you. It kind of reminds me of the retro zombie movie, "Fido", with it's flawless attention to 50s period detail. It is what it is, and if you grew up on a steady diet of 1950s sci-fi, you will appreciate the film. If on the other hand you are addicted to c.g.i. extravaganzas, this is not going to be a pleasant viewing experience at all. If minimalist 50s entertainment is to your liking, I recommend "Alien Trespass". Sometimes less is best. - MERK
  • eddax6 September 2010
    This movie is reminiscent of Mars Attacks! in its throwback to the campy sci-fi of five decades or so ago. Mars had Tim Burton at the helm, however, and undoubtedly a larger budget since it also had a huge battery of stars. Alien Trespass has an unknown director and just Eric McCormack, who can't play a comedic role without evoking memories of Will, from Will & Grace. While having bigger names and budget doesn't guarantee a better picture, it does skew the odds in its favor.

    Alien Trespass just doesn't go anywhere interesting. It tries but fails to be novel with its humor and story, which oh yeah, reminded me of Men in Black, with the aliens pulling humans into holes before taking over their bodies. Another big budget comparison this movie pales against.
  • "Alien Trespass" is a tribute/mild spoof of 1950's monster/sci-fi flicks like "I Married a Monster from Outer Space" and "It Came From Space." It's well made, but kind of dull. The filmmaker's succeed in recreating the look and feel of these old movies, but they fail to make their film either as entertaining as the real deal. There aren't really enough jokes (good ones, anyway) to qualify "Alien Trespass" as a true spoof and it doesn't improve on the old formula enough to succeed as an entertaining tribute (for instance, the monsters look much, much more fake than those in the original films did). Why just re-create an old movie style if you're not going to do it in a new or clever enough way to differentiate it from the movies that have already been done? Part of the gimmick of "Alien Trespass" (emphasised in the DVD special features) is that the film actually is a 1950s film that was recently re-discovered, having been literally buried in the ground for half a century. A story built around the rediscovery of the film, with clips of "Alien Trespass" used as a film-within-a-film would possibly have made a more entertaining flick, a la the "Mant" feature in Joe Dante's "Matinee."
  • April is the cruelest month. Get all excited by trailers for X-Men (May 1), Star Trek (May 8), Terminator (May 21), Night at the Museum (May 22), and Ice Age (July 1), and then THIS is the "feature"?

    This is the quintessential "up to you" movie. While Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse tried to recreate the 1950s double-feature movie experience (complete with bad framing, scratched pictures, and missing reels), this 2009 release tries to recreate an actual 1950s alien-invasion movie. And it does a fine job of it, if that's your cup of tea, right down to the chintzy crashed UFO and the monsters in rubber suits.

    There's a scientist, of course. There always is. This one has his body taken over by Urp, a marshal from outer space, who's trying to track down the monstrous, tentacled, sometimes invisible, huge-eyed alien ghota before it can start reproducing. After a bit, even the astronomer's dolled-up, perpetually hot-to-trot wife notices something amiss. Meanwhile, the local teens continue their running feud with the cops, who continue to doubt the odd things they claim to have seen. Many of the scenes take place in the local diner, whose PM- shift waitress becomes the unlikely heroine.

    The best use of a scientist I've seen in such a film was the tongue-in-cheek Tremors, in which we get the standard scene of all the townspeople standing around speculating where the giant worms might have come from. Space aliens? Radioactive mutants? Evolution run amuck? They all turn to look at the scientist, who says "How should I know? I'm a geologist!". And that's that!

    The only bit in Alien Trespass that comes close to this is when the young hot-rodder wants to go scope out the new cars and his friends try to persuade him to go alien-hunting instead. "Edsels will be around forever", they reassure him. Of course, that line might very well have occurred in an actual 1957 film.

    Aside from that 1 bit, they play it absolutely straight. And, if I were reviewing it straight as well, it would share a 2 with this week's other miscarriage (Dragonball Evolution). But I admit to a certain nostalgia for this kind of thing, so it ends up smack in the middle.
  • I started watching Alien Trespass with some reservations: I'm definitely a fan of the "source material" for this movie, but I haven't really enjoyed many of the handful of retro/homage/pastiche 50s-style genre films I've seen in the past decade.

    In the early going, if you're inclined to be suspicious of the movie's intent (and I was), you may find some technical details that are sort of jarring: "cheap" CGI substituting for the papier-mâché-string-and-sparklers school of SFX, matte paintings and studio backdrops that somehow don't feel period-authentic (might be that the compositing is too good, even when it's intentionally "bad?"); that sort of thing.

    However, once I was introduced to the excellent and very likable cast, and allowed myself to settle into the rhythm of the dialogue, none of that mattered. There's a gentleness in the style and humour that just felt right to me. Of course "right" is completely subjective, and all but useless in determining if you will like the movie; I'll say instead that if you're not in a technical-nitpicking frame of mind (or if you are, but you're willing and able to get past that), it's a very easy movie to enjoy, especially if you're relaxing with it on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

    There's a lot of sharp, caustic humour to be found on TV and in movies these days, and that's not a criticism - I guess I enjoy ironic detachment, sarcasm, and "snark" as much as the next guy - but if you come to this movie expecting that kind of experience, I think you're going to be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you genuinely like the source material, and you're willing to enjoy something pretty much on its own terms, without the broad safety net of winking self-awareness that most "retro" films seem to employ, then I think you'll have a good time with Alien Trespass.
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