Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Only now does it occur to me... CREATURE

Only now does it occur to me... that out of all the ALIEN rip-offs (including GALAXY OF TERROR, CONTAMINATION, BIOHAZARD, STAR CRYSTAL, FORBIDDEN WORLD, etc.), William Malone's CREATURE (1985), is the only one that contains a rabid, lecherous performance by Klaus Kinski.

Let's back it up for a moment, shall we? While CREATURE contains homages to THE THING, PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES, and other sci-fi horror flicks, make no mistake that this is a straight-up ALIEN knock-off––and apparently one considered good enough by James Cameron that he hired a few of the FX team to work with a larger budget on ALIENS.


In addition to Kinski, it stars Lyman Ward (Ferris's dad from FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF), who struggles to stay awake throughout

and Diane Salinger ("Simone" from PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE) who battles the Creature with an arsenal that includes a variety of laser guns and razor-sharp cheekbones.

The score is almost exactly the same as Jerry Goldsmith's from ALIEN, down to the fluttery trumpets and foreboding strings. The sound effects are actually cribbed from STAR WARS––throughout, we hear an onslaught of TIE fighter cannons and other STAR WARS blaster effects which are usually not accompanied by appropriate imagery (i.e., laser noises are used for "ambient spaceship" background).

There's a fair amount of low 'budge charm and redonkulous gore, but on the quality index it's somewhere between a Troma movie and Full Moon Picture. I do really appreciate that despite having claws and teeth and acid and killer parasites, sometimes the Creature settles on old-fashioned strangling to dispose of its victims.

Anyway, back to Klaus Kinski––who plays an interloping creepy German astronaut whose old shipmates were eaten by the Creature.

Somewhere, there are horror stories (as of yet unheard?) of Kinski's behavior on this set. There must be. Klaus is often dubbed (but not always), as I have to imagine he didn't stick around (or wasn't allowed to return) for reshoots and ADR. He abruptly transitions into a space zombie at one point, likely because he was ejected or escaped from the set and they needed to replace him with a guy in a Kinski monster mask.

Or maybe he was a complete pleasure to work with and all of these were measured artistic decisions. Ya never know.

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