It's been sleeping peacefully on a moon of Saturn for 2000 centuries ... until now!
Year of Release: 1985
Also Known As: Alien Creature, The Titan Find
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Running Time: 97 minutes (1:37)
Director: William Malone
Stan Ivar ... Mike Davison
Wendy Schaal ... Beth Sladen
Lyman Ward ... David Perkins
Robert Jaffe ... Jon Fennel
Diane Salinger ... Melanie Bryce
Annette McCarthy ... Dr. Wendy H. Oliver
Marie Laurin ... Susan Delambre
Klaus Kinski ... Hans Rudy Hofner
Jeff Solomon ... Creature Player (uncredited)
Astronauts exploring the wasteland of Titan accidentally unleash alien life forms 2000 centuries old. When a U.S. spaceship later crash lands, Hofner, the maniacal sole survivor of a rival mission, warns the travelers of the indestructible, brain-sucking monster which consumed his crew.
One by one, the humans on Titan are relentlessly stalked - and mutilated - by this horrifying beast. Until the last survivors risk all to entrap the creature and end its reign of terror.
Creature, remindin' us that malpractice insurance always seems unnecessary until you accidentally pull someone's face off.
Speakin' of people without much to say, I apologize for bein' incommunicado the last coupla weeks, but until this very moment I been sworn to secrecy by the highest levels of local government and the Chickawalka Weather Bureau; or as we call 'im, Murray the Groundhog. I'm ashamed to admit this, but we've been experiencin' some pretty strong anti-groundhog sentiment ever since Murray predicted six more weeks of winter for the eighth year in a row. There's even a rumor goin' around that Murray's doin' this on purpose 'cause he's a welfare queen who'd rather go back to hibernatin' than work for a livin'. This is completely false, of course, because as any rational person knows - the groundhog only *predicts* the future, he doesn't *control* it.
Course some of the local folks' understandin' of climate patterns is on par with that of clowns and magnets, but regardless, it wasn't long after the annual forecast that the station manager (I forget the guy's name, but he's mostly there to scoop up Murray's prophetic poopies) started gettin' threatenin' letters in the mail from disgruntled farmers.
Eventually we hadda start movin' Murray around from place to place when one of these chunkheads made an attempt on his life by droppin' a tub of Grime Time nachos into his kennel. Fortunately, drive-in food is the main staple of Murray's diet, but since most people don't know that the action had to be interpreted as the assassination attempt that it was.
Far's we can tell there musta been a few dozen of these agricultural insurgents, 'cause within a coupla days they'd find out where Murray was couch surfin' and try breachin' the gate with a quad-mounted snow plow till Sheriff Hardassian'd get wind of it and threaten to void their ATV permits if they didn't go home. Course, stormin' tract houses with white picket fences and three-story marble bird baths positioned perfectly to accentuate the adjoining rose trellis is one thing; penetratin' my perimeter was a whole 'nother animal. First thing I did once I'd been informed that I'd be harborin' Murray for the foreseeable future was call up Cleave Furguson and Duke Tankersley and get 'em to Jigsaw up both the front and back yard with snares, rusty farm implements, treble hooks, lawn darts, and every other commercial product that's been deemed hazardous by the Consumer Product Safety Commission since 1978 in preparation for the inevitable raid.
Woulda been naive to think that at least a few of 'em wouldn't make it inside, so I got Duke, Cleave, Sadie & Mrs. Sadie Bonebreak, Tetnis, Billy Hilliard, and Bambi Mastrude (and no, we won't be talkin' about what I hadda do to persuade Bambi to help, so just forget it) to hole up with me, and after that it was just a matter of tellin' Skunky Hernandez that I was in possession of Murray durin' intermission at the Grime Time and his mouth did the rest.
Sure enough, by the time the credits rolled on Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter about thirty guys'd massed near the catfish pond to strategize, only once everybody else'd left I paid Harley and Rowdy Pankins $5 each to let the air outta the tires of every rig with an NRA sticker or a confederate flag on the antenna while the rest of us met up back at the house to prepare. Those Pankins boys're uncontrollable hellions but they're shockingly reliable for 12-year-olds and take real pride in their work, and by the time the Gravy Seals pulled up to the house they'd been reduced to a single Ranger Bigfoot filled to the tailgate with a Wrangler jeans ad waitin' to happen.
"Give us the critter or else!" one of 'em hollered from the truck bed, a bit on the P.O.'d side after having surmised the cause of their sudden lack of tire pressure.
"Or else what? You'll all reenact Brokeback Mountain in my driveway? There're laws against doin' that in public, ya know," I taunted, with only my head pokin' outta the doorway.
This swiftly ended any chance of a diplomatic outcome, and whatever plan they'd formulated earlier in the evenin' pretty much evaporated as they charged the house, but even after six of 'em fell victim to the snares, chicken wire, and Silas Tankersley's old bear trap, they still had us outnumbered 14 to 8 (worse than that, really, 'cause Mrs. Sadie, Cleave, and I were never in high demand when it came to choosin' dodge ball teams in P.E. class).
Fortunately, we had home-field advantage and the element of surprise. I killed the lights and spread everyone out around the livin' room in anticipation of their entrance, and just like we'd rehearsed, the moment they broke through the door and found the light switch, Mrs. Sadie ripped open 'er blouse and sprung 'er meal tickets outta the chute - stoppin' the lot of 'em dead in their cowshit covered tracks. That was actually Bambi's idea and she'd written the part for 'erself, but I was eventually able to convince 'er it'd be more effective this way on account of Mrs. Sadie havin' greater success at outwittin' gravity.
Anyway, this gave us the openin' we needed. And once they were all stunned into boob-induced silence, Cleave and I dropped the two rubes closest to the hide-a-bed with a pair of heroically placed low blows and the brawl was on.
Duke grabbed the first guy he could get ahold of and put his head clean-through the drywall and into a stud, but was immediately tackled by two Marlboro men who proceeded to pound the tar out of 'im until Bambi grabbed one from behind and tore off eight inches of face with 'er lacquered fingernails.
By that point all but two of 'em'd made it through the doorway, but those two never set foot in the house 'cause we'd stationed Billy outside behind the shrub, and once the rest of 'em had gone in Billy grabbed 'em by the scruff of their mullets, spun 'em around, and chokeslammed 'em both through the windshield of the Coronet.
Unfortunately, one of the smarter ones had enough foresight to pack a taser with 'im, and when he heard the glass shatter he bolted back out the door and grounded Billy from behind. Lucky for him Billy couldn't reach the electrodes or else he'da prolly just ripped 'em out and ate the guy for lunch.
Back inside, Talon Higgle, one of only two dullards who didn't see fit to hide his identity, had forgotten all about the ruckus and begun gettin' fresh with Mrs. Sadie as she frantically tried rebuttonin' 'er blouse. He was only a few seconds away from gettin' his 10W-40 stained paws on 'er goodies, when Sadie looked up from pummelin' the dolt I'd temporarily impotized, saw what was about to happen, and clobbered Talon with a boot that'd come loose in the melee. I've seen Sadie P.O.'d more times than I'd care to recall but none of 'em compared to this, 'cause after Talon went down she dragged 'im over to the woodstove and held his face to the side of it till he passed out from the pain. Whole house still smells like bacon and Redman and nothin' I try seems to cover it.
Not wantin' to see a repeat of that situation, Sadie flung open the bedroom door, shoved Mrs. Sadie inside, and told 'er to lock the door rather'n tempt fate again, but by that point things were lookin' pretty grim. There were still eight of them against just me, Sadie, Cleave, Bambi, and Tetnis, who by then was backed up against the TV bein' slugged in the gutbucket by some shit-kicker while two other guys held 'im, when all the sudden, Duke, still down on the rug by the front door, lets loose one of them old man whistles that makes ya deaf for five minutes but that they don't realize is even loud 'cause they spent 40 years workin' around machinery with no earplugs.
In all the confusion of tryin' not to get killed I'd forgotten all about 'em, but as soon as Duke gave the signal, Gank and Apollo came chargin' in from the kitchen and sank their teeth into the two guys holdin' Tetnis and gave 'im a fightin' chance when they turned chickenshit and bolted out the door with Gank and Apollo about a half-step behind. Tetnis was pretty well spent, but when he finally collapsed he had the presence of mind to grab onto the neckbeard who'd been layin' punches into his midsection, and pulled the guy's nose down onto the top of his head as his knees hit the floor; bustin' it in the process and blindin' 'im with his tears.
"Give us the god-damned rodent!" the guy who, for want of a better description, seemed to be in charge, growled.
"EAT. MY. ASS!" Sadie roared, before launchin' a Blair-esque precision loogie directly into the guy's face.
This was probably not the best course of action, but Sadie'd pretty well gone full-Hulk by then and the remainin' cow punchers knew it, so when the remainin' six of 'em rushed us three broke off and went after Sadie. Sadie's about the toughest broad I know, maybe even the toughest broad *alive*, but even she couldn't take three cattle wrestlers at the same time.
Fortunately, she was fightin' next to the second toughest chick I know, and after Bambi'd groined the tool that went after her and crushed his arm in the footrest of the Barcalounger, she pulled one of the three goobs offa Sadie and stomped his windpipe with a candy-apple red platform pump... about one second too late to avoid the boot that swept 'er leg and sent the back of 'er head crashin' into the ColorTrak (don't worry, the ColorTrak's mostly fine - just got a little blue tinting that bleeds into the corner where Bambi's head hit it).
I make it a point never to lie to myself, so I'm just gonna tell it like it is - Cleave Furguson and I were simply not put on this Earth to bare-knuckle brawl with haybale buckin' rednecks of questionable breeding stock, and they knew it. So when it was clear we didn't pose any real threat, this lanky sombitch tells the guy poundin' Cleave to go find Murray while he handled the both of us. Prolly woulda kept us both down too, 'cept at that moment, Mrs. Sadie - her mascara runnin' plum down into 'er socks, and her eyes crazier'n Sissy Spacek's after the blood dropped at the prom - emerges from the bedroom, shrieks like a banshee, and shatters my favorite lava lamp over the head of the sentient dip can puttin' the boots to Cleave and I, layin' 'im out like a suburban housewife at a Black Lives Matter protest.
Even so, Cleave and I are in no condition to help Sadie, and with her momentary surge of courage depleted, Mrs. Sadie reverted from her beneficial state of temporary insanity back to her usual run-of-the-mill hysteria, leaving Sadie to the mercy of the two yokels poundin' 'er kidneys. Thank cripes I insisted on payin' Harley and Rowdy *after* the job was done, 'cause about that time they come creepin' in, notice their mama slumped unconscious against the TV, and... well, I'm not even gonna tell ya what they did to the two clowns workin' Sadie over. Let's just say, both Mike Tyson and Hannibal Lecter would approve.
"You okay?" I grunted in Sadie's direction.
"I guess," she managed between coughs.
"Cleave? You alive?" Sadie queried, nudgin' 'im with her shoeless foot.
"Yeah. 'Least until I get home and Roxanne sees what that last gorilla did to her cell phone," Cleave whined, displaying Roxanne's new V-shaped iPhone.
"Duke, you still with us?" Cleave wheezed.
"Yup. Just gotta work my shoulder back into-- POP -- ah, that's better," Duke responded, like this was all perfectly normal. And I guess in his family it kinda is.
"Hilliard? You good?" Duke hollered toward the front lawn.
"Thoon ath one of you removes theth electhrobes from my thpine, yeah," Billy growled.
"Tehnith?" Billy called.
"Had 'em... right where I wanted 'em..." Tetnis grumbled, holdin' his ribs. "Lucky... them dogs... showed up."
"Mom's comin' around, but we gotta get 'er home before the cops come. Serious probation violation here," Harley explained as he and Rowdy gingerly walked Bambi to the doorway.
"Good boys. Here, take the Topaz," I offered in a pitiful attempt to toss Rowdy the keys. "I'll get you your cash plus interest soon as I can move my arm again," I winced.
"There you are, you livelihood wreckin' weasel!" The last man standing had found Murray in the can where we hid 'im.
"Gotta... stop..." Sadie groaned.
"It's fine," I smirked.
"What're you talkin' about? He's... gonna kill--" Sadie gasped.
"Ya know how in the movies nobody ever looks up?" I asked.
"Jesus Christ! Get it off! Somebody help, you worthless ass--" after that there was no more discernable speech, only horrified screams.
"Shankles?" Sadie giggled painfully.
"Shankles," I affirmed.
Once Sheriff Hardassian and Deputy Duggan'd locked up all the chunkheads that didn't require extensive medical attention we decided to celebrate our victory by dippin' into the supply of emergency Pole Cat I keep stashed in the attic until the effects of the blunt force trauma subsided enough to enjoy a neglected drive-in classic. In hindsight, killin' all 11 cases was probably a mistake, and if you've never hadda return that much brew to the land of sky blue waters whence it came, you'll be interested to learn that it's even less fun with three cracked ribs. I can also report that while under the influence of libations direct from your local taphouse, your heightened senses are able to fill in a lot of the naturally occurring plot holes created by a lighting budget consisting primarily of Bic lighters. I'm not gonna go into all the intellectual discoveries that we unearthed that night because that'd take forever and plus I can't remember most of 'em, but here're three of the observations that stuck with me in spite of the intense intracranial pressure and multiple blackout incidents. First, regardless of how excited you may be to use your new Kodak Instamatic, antique dealers typically prefer their merchandise without hinder-shaped divots embedded in them. Second, exercising a little caution never hurts when your dead girlfriend shows up nekkid outside your bedroom window on a moon where 77 degrees below zero is considered balmy. And third, it's danged embarrassin' predictin' a divided Germany in the year 2089, only to see the Berlin Wall four years later.
The movie begins on Titan where a coupla astronauts in Michelin Man suits're screwin' around with an intergalactic tupperware container till the brains of the operation gets the idea to have the other guy pose for a picture with his asstrocrack parked directly on toppa the bin's freshness window, and next thing you know chocolate pudding starts oozin' outta the pod and causes a glopola geyser to erupt inside the guy's helmet. This prolly woulda been the end of the story, 'cept the photographer escapes back to his ship and kamikazes a nearby space station, blowin' it to bits and rendering the entire quadrant unsafe for middle-class suburbanites due to the impending influx of alien meth addicts lookin' to sell the scrap iron for fix money. Eventually word of the station's destruction comes down to Commander Hard Luck Alan Thicke (Perkins), and he orders his crew to cruise on over to Titan and investigate the cause of the catastrophe and Kirk Cameron's sudden unemployability. Unfortunately, the ship's kickstand breaks off when they try landin' in a crater spawned by a Mercedes McCambridge radio drama that impacted the moon's surface, and by the time it quits rollin' it looks like the Rattlestar Compactica. Then they hafta hike over to a German freighter to see if they can borrow some Fahrvergnugen, but all they find in there're a buncha dead Hogan's Heroes extras and a big ugly drool monster skulkin' around in the dark lookin' for Sigourney Weaver, and when security officer Gozer (Bryce) blasts it with 'er plasma rifle it gets P.O.'d and turns the ship's mouse spokesmodel (Susan) into a viscera volcano.
So with the prime directive havin' been violated worse than the congressional dress code on Insurrection Day, the crew retreats to the relative safety of their scuttled shuttle, only somebody leaves the screen door open and Klaus Kinski sneaks in and starts fondlin' Gozer, who drops 'im like 3rd period Home Economics when she discovers he only *thinks* he's a god. Klaus is immediately hauled to the bridge for interrogation, and he tells Perkins they're basically trapped inside H.R. Giger's petri dish and that he's the only one left from his crew 'cause even a snaggletoothed space mutant trapped in an interstellar coffee can for 200,000 years can't compete with his level of crazy. Then the creature slips into its Susan-suit and gets nekkid to lure the engineer (John) into Snarlsbad Cavern where it attaches a mind control mollusk to his skull to get 'im on team tentacle and to prevent 'im from tellin' everybody about how he managed to get with 'er after a carefully orchestrated plot involvin' chocolate, Barry White, and a feigned interest in Bette Midler's filmography. John the Pawn then heads over to the German vessel to Zoom conference with the American ship and attempts to woo the crew with promises of a sustainable air supply and an extensive library of Elke Sommer movies, only when they return the diabolical brain parasite conceals itself beneath an ace bandage and leads the ship's physician into a dark, steamy corridor to examine his head wound. She's able to remove a Westworld-sized chunk of John's face with an iron claw, but by the time Davison (the pilot) and Perkins find 'er she's overdrawn at the blood bank from mucus monster hickies and Perkins hasta turn John's head into an abstract mural representing man's inner struggle to comprehend the purpose of that flap in the front of his underpants.
Meanwhile, Klaus has taken Gozer down to Fraggle Rock to inspect 'er stalactites and show 'er the alien genome project, only he ends up on the wrong end of some monster molars and finds 'imself with a Heinlein fracture of the medulla that forces 'im to cut the power to the American ship and drag its one remainin' occupant (Slayden) over to the German rig for processing. Unfortunately, Klaus' platinum blonde do reflects so much light that it can double for a torch in a dungeon crawler RPG, allowin' Perkins and Davison to catch 'im in the act and squish his cerebellar dweller before Slayden gets namesaked. By this point the protein supplements're becomin' more trouble than they're worth, so the alien figures it'll just open up all the hatches and settle for freeze dried meals while it waits 'em out in a food coma. This prolly woulda worked if it hadn't chosen to crash in engineering, 'cause while it's nappin' Slayden is able to reroute the auxiliary power to the dilithium hyperdrive manifold and rig up an alien deep fryer in one of the hallways, and when it wakes up it's too groggy to notice the electrodes wired up inside the corridor it's chasin' the crew through and ends up gettin' the James Arness treatment after steppin' in a coupla puddles of panic piddle. That's about all the plot I wanna give away, but I prolly don't hafta tell ya that no self-respecting monster ever got rolled by the first jabroni to knock it down and this one's no exception. So if you wanna find out how the movie ends, it's in the public domain and available at the link below.
Alrighty, so it probably goes without saying, but any reviews you may read about this flick that dismiss it as nothing more than an Alien "rip-off" are pure crapola soaking up precious internet space that might otherwise have been used for something more important - like episode recaps of D.C. Follies. Citing a flick's inspiration is fine - deriding it because it borrows from a more successful movie is lazy even before you consider Alien itself borrows liberally from Queen of Blood. Fortunately, there seems to be an unwritten rule that states it's okay to use ideas from other movies as long as you've got a big budget and stand a chance of improving upon them, which is why you never see people dump on Alien for doing the same thing its clones are accused of. Besides, pigeon-holing Creature in with all the other Alien clones of the era doesn't really tell the whole story, because Alien is just the tip of the iceberg where it concerns the film's sampling of history's science fiction buffet. Of the flick's many samplings, most obvious is the scene where Wendy Schaal's talkin' about the movie she saw where "a group of people were trapped in an ice station by a carrot from another planet," and immediately proceeds to nuke the creature in precisely the same manner as the crew from The Thing from Another World; but wait, there's more! There's also the Star Wars laser sound effects, the ship with the Death Star-esque crater in it, the screen-used props recycled from Forbidden Planet, the Heinlineian brain slugs, and the Star Trek hypospray, just to name the ones I noticed. My point being, the director wasn't just riding the coattails of a recent science fiction hit to cash in on the trend (although that's certainly part of the equation), rather, he is clearly a knowledgable fan of the genre, and when you've got that many different homages in one movie, it should be obvious that the blending of all these different elements was done with sincerity and affection. The thing I find strange about Creature is that it rarely comes up in conversations involving the other alien flicks of the period, like Forbidden World, Galaxy of Terror, DeepStar Six, Leviathan, and so on, because it's really not far behind those titles in terms of production and entertainment values, particularly if you're watching the director's cut where you can kinda see what's goin' on. I dunno, just kinda feels like now's the time to show Creature some love - maybe get it cleaned up and released on Blu-Ray with a director's commentary track which could then run on Shudder or one of the other streaming services. It never did get much of a theatrical run, but it killed on home video, and I could see it experiencing a nostalgia-fueled resurgence if given the chance.
In any event, let's sprinkle a little salt on these brain slugs and see how well they hold. The plot is, well, Alien. Except that here the effects budget was such that it made more sense not to let the crew blast off until the end of the movie. Both crews work on behalf of a mining subsidiary, both crews encounter glopola creatures on the surface of an alien world, both ships have inferior lighting technology, twisting corridors, and a lotta steam that make for plentiful monster chompin' opportunities. The script is actually pretty solid though, including the scene where the now mind-controlled surviving astronaut from the opening sequence deliberately flies into the space station to prompt an investigation of what happened on the moon. The acting is also better than you might anticipate despite Klaus Kinski not being permitted to go nearly as crazy as we're accustomed to. Marie Laurin is probably the weakest castmember, which may account for her being killed off first, but if we're being honest with ourselves I think you'd have to say the leads in Creature give better performances than the leads in Forbidden World (though that's not true of the supporting cast). There's more character development than this type of flick usually permits thanks to the 97-minute runtime, and although the acting is nothing special and would have been much improved by a less restrained Kinski, there aren't many scenes that warrant laughter, and many of the cast members went on to lengthy, successful careers.
Here's who matters and why (less Kinski, whom we all know and love because we never had to try directing him): Wendy Schaal (Innerspace, The 'Burbs, *batteries not included, Out There, Munchies), Lyman Ward (Independence Day, Serial Killer, Sleepwalkers, Mikey, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2), Diane Salinger (Batman Returns, Slay Belles, Stitch 2013, Dark House 2009, Rest Stop 1 & 2), Marie Laurin (Burial of the Rats), John Stinson (The Hand 1981, Scared to Death 1980, Warp Speed), Jim McKeny (The Devil's Hand 2014, The Gravedancers, Haunts), Buckley Norris (Highlander & Highlander: The Source, The Hidden I & II, Waxwork I & II, Alligator I & II, Night Life, Mac and Me, The Sword and the Sorceror), Michael Griswold (Scared to Death 1980), David Moses (Scared to Death 1980, Conquest of the Earth), Eileen Seeley (Jack Frost 1 & 2, Batman Forever).
The cast's mainstream credits are as follows: Stan Ivar (Daniel Scott on Days of Our Lives, John Carter on Little House on the Prairie), Wendy Schaal (voices Francine Smith on American Dad, and played Julie on Fantasy Island), Lyman Ward (Tom Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off), Diane Salinger (Simone in Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Apollonia in Carnivale, Queen Bansheera on Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue), Annette McCarthy (Evelyn Marsh on Twin Peaks).
The special effects are hit and miss but I will say that, because of the film's otherwise decent production values, Malone made the right decision in concealing the monster as much as possible. This isn't normally a position I take, but on the whole, this movie actually has something to lose by going all-in with closeup, full-body shots of its less-than-stellar monster. It's certainly not the worst creature put to film, but the longer the camera lingers the clearer its inadequacies become, and unlike movies like The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues, or The Horror of Party Beach, Creature actually has a few things going for it, and is more likely to sustain irreversible damage as a result of letting the man in the suit run wild. Additionally, we've got a lotta neck chompin', gooey face exposure, corpse makeup, and a pretty fair head explosion to supplement the lack of monster, and these effects range from fair to good. There're also several ship miniatures used throughout the film in the Battlestar Galactica tradition, and for the most part, they're alright.
The sets, while not up to the standard of Forbidden World, are passable. You've got a few classic props from Forbidden Planet, lots of consoles with mandatory flashing buttons and lights, boiler room-esque steel grating, steam, and all the standard '80s spaceship conventions that don't make much sense but that we've come to expect and enjoy. I suspect that the cave complex where the alien storage containers are kept also benefit from the movie's poor lighting, but that's another smart move by the director, because they get the job done without coming across as hokey despite being pretty small and requiring the actors to traverse the same areas repeatedly. The soundtrack may be the film's low point, as it utilizes the same synthesizers we're accustomed to in movies of this period, yet these particular synth tracks sound strangely dated. I suspect that this was a choice the director foisted upon the music department given his obvious affinity for classic science fiction flicks, but it's not especially effective at generating the proper atmosphere and tends to clash with the general mood of the film. Stylistically, it reminds me a bit of the Critters soundtrack if it had been made a decade or more earlier, which may sound flattering, but I assure you, it's not. The two composers, Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker, have gone on to successful careers composing music for numerous children's cartoon shows, and while they might well be the most successful people to work on the flick, you can see why they went in the direction they did based upon this score. Overall, Creature is a few points short of passing on the production side but makes up that minor deficit with its entertainment factor. Not quite as good as Roger Corman's early '80s sci-fi/horror flicks, but close, and it's one that should prove a pleasant surprise to anyone searching for lesser-known titles produced in the wake of Alien.