Greetings creatures, and welcome back to Horror Business, the podcast that comes from a dying planet to rob all men, seduce all women, and learn the peppermint twist. Thank you as always for checking us out and we have got one heck of an episode for you guys.
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This episode we take a look at two films that involve killer aliens but aren’t Alien: 1980’s Without Warning and 1983’s Xtro. If you remember we were supposed to do these films last episode but ended not being to get ahold of them, so we’re doing them now.
We begin by giving a shout out to Chris and LVAC, and then talking about what we’ve seen recently. Liam talks about how he decided to go ahead and see The Girl With All The Gifts without Justin because he hates Justin. We briefly talk about looking forward to seeing the upcoming Jordan Peele horror film Get Out. Liam talks about seeing The Devils for an upcoming episode of Cinepunx and sings praises to the glory of Oliver Reed. Justin talks about starting the final book in Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy and his disappointment with the horror film Abattoir. We briefly hype the Mahoning Drive In’s upcoming Zombiefest in May (May 26-28) and the upcoming Exhumed Films Empire Pictures Triple Feature at International House on Saturday February 25th.
Up first is 1980s Without Warning. We are not very kind or gentle with this move. We start with Liam admonishing Justin about his fear of aliens (and sharks) and we briefly discuss some upcoming episodes we may or may not do about aliens. Liam brings up that most people might already know about Without Warning just based on how awesome the poster was.
Justin and Liam discuss the plot similarities with 1987’s classic Predator and Justin makes a horrible joke about ‘predating’ and how this movie is so bad it really highlights how good Predator is. Liam points out that despite the differences in quality both movies feature the talents of Kevin Peter Hall, who played both the aliens in both films. The weird opening sequence featuring a man hunting with his strange hippie adult son is discussed, as is the lack of clarity as to who the antagonists of the film are, because despite the main alien being prominently featured in all of the advertising most of the conflict involves the living weapons the alien uses. The lack of any real interesting characters, the repeated use of horror movie tropes, and the excess of pointless plots threads are discussed. Martin Landau’s offensive portrayal of a vet suffering from PTSD is briefly touched upon, Jack Palance’s character as the sole voice of reason, and Landau’s characters insanity are all talked about. More plot details are discussed, more 80s horror tropes are examined, the long dragged out scene in an isolated house in which we finally see the main alien is dissected, and Liam and Justin almost get into an argument over whether or not the alien is a Tall White or a Gray (spoiler: Liam’s wrong it’s a Gray).
Jack Palance’s horrible horrible final call out to the alien is discussed. We talk about the incredibly small budget for this movie and how half of it went to hiring Jack Palance and Martin Landau and then a sizeable portion of the remainder went to Rick Baker to create the head of the alien, which given Rick Baker’s relative obscurity at the time made no sense.
The obviousness of the filmmakers delaying the reveal of the main alien by using the shitty small creatures is discussed, and Liam goes on a diatribe about the absurdity of aliens who are advanced enough to travel through space have nothing better to hunt people with other than shitty flesh discs and otherwise act like savage animals as opposed to members of a space going species.
The gulf in quality between this film and Predator is once again brought up; especially in the way the aliens behave. The movie as a perfect storm of mediocre filmmaking is extensively talked about. We conclude the segment by talking about how much warning there is in a movie called Without Warning.
We then move onto our second film of the episode, 1983’s Xtro.
We talk about Harry Bromley Davenport having the most British name of all time and how Xtro has the distinction of being one of the few pre-Nightmare On Elm St horror films that came out on New Line Cinema. Roger Ebert’s lengthy and brutal opinion of the film is discussed, and how despite him being overly critical of the film he’s not wrong on the tone. We give a brief plot synopsis of the film, with a focus upon some of the better-known creature effects.
Comparisons to the work of David Cronenberg are made, and the film as a sort of childish wish fulfillment film is discussed as Tony (the child protagonist of the film) gains the ability to manifest his fantasies due to his alien heritage through his father. More basic plot points are discussed, including some of the more unsettling manifestations of Tony’s newfound psychic abilities. The overall dark and nihilistic tone of the film is examined, in that no character escapes unscathed and the overall idea of the film (a child losing his father to otherworldly circumstances) is tremendously sad, there is more talk of the creature effects of the film, and we conclude by deciding to do a follow up episode on the two sequels of this film.
As always thanks to everyone and anyone who checked this episode out, or shared a tweet/shared a post on FB/gave us love by recommending us to someone. We love you forever for listening. Any questions, comments, suggestions for movies and guests, or if you yourself want to join us for a movie viewing or even an episode, can be sent to [email protected]. Thanks always to Justin Miller and Doug Tilley for their technical contributions and fliers, Mike Smaczylo for the awesome fliers, and also thanks to Josh “Oingo Boingo” Alvarez for the theme song, Chris and LVAC for the support (check them out at www.xlvacx.com), and a HUGE thank you to anyone who retweeted us or shared something on Facebook that we posted. Follow us on Twitter at @thehorrorbiz666, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/thehorrorbiz66, and remember to rate, review, and subscribe to us on ITunes! Until next time…thanks!