Is this one really a sequel?
That’s a strange question to ask, but somehow it seems inevitable. After all, Don Dohler‘s Nightbeast and The Galaxy Invader also feature aliens crashlanding on Earth and causing all sorts of trouble for the locals. Either one of them could have been labeled “2” just as easily.
Nor do we have any returning characters from the original. I’m not even sure it takes place in the same town, nor are there any references of any sort to the first film.
It had in fact been over thirty years since he’d made the original, a marvelously clunky do-it-yourself effort he and his friends from Cinemagic threw together in rural Maryland; sixteen since he’d made his last SF film; and a decade since his last film. It was also his final finished film: he’d started a 80s slasher homage at the time of his death, but it had to be finished by his long-time collaborator, Joe Ripple.
The surprising thing here is how much more polished this film looks, with vibrant color and far better clarity than the blown-up 16mm film of the original. The sound is miles better as well – in fact, at times it seems almost too clear, without the layers of echo and background sound they’d have added in a Hollywood studio. He even managed to add a car chase, something unimaginable in the original.
But curiously, I find myself thinking of certain of the scenes in the original – e.g., the sunrise and playing children sequence that leads to finding the body of one of the victims – and recognize that the “sequel” lacks any moments which try for such levels of artistry.
Still, it’s a nice stew of B-Movie goodness, with FBI agents, a deadly cyborg, a doctor who is far, far, FAR too interested in cutting open his alien patient to see what’s inside (I don’t want this guy as my Family Doctor. Just saying), a time barrier, a brave B-Movie Sheriff (female this time), a spaceship crash, and a biker gang. What more could you ask for?
…Other than a stormy, late night to watch it, and a big bowl of popcorn.