Extra Terrestrial Visitors [Los nuevos extraterrestres] (1983)

(aka Pod People)

This is a movie with a serious identity crisis.

It starts off sensibly enough:  a group of evil poachers are out in a wildlife refuge stealing rare eggs, a famous but vain singer plans to take a wilderness camping trip with his engineer and his bevy of beautiful backup singers, and a meteor lands, scattering alien eggs.

Now we know how this is going to end even before the first bodies start piling up.  After all, all we have to do is listen to the creepy music.  We can even predict which girl is going to die next when they suddenly dump enough backstory on us that we might feel just a little unhappy to see her go.

We even get our one F-bomb we’re allowed for a PG-13 film (or, in this case, as it doesn’t seem to have been given a U.S. rating, a UK “15” certificate).

Just another alien monster on the loose, right?

Wrong.

You see, there’s this kid.  He finds one of the eggs and adds it to his little zoo of pets, it grows up really fast and becomes his friend.  it even shows off an absurd series of telekinetic tricks.

You can blame E.T. for this one:  it began as exactly what it seems like it should have been, a routine alien monster on the loose film, but then Spielberg’s film came out and the producers decided to turn it into an E.T. copy, whether that made any sense or not.  Even the director, Juan Piquer Simón (who was responsible for such cheap SF and horror films as  The Rift, Slugs, and Mystery on Monster Island) wasn’t happy with the end result.

It is worth noting that the creature is just awful.  It is sort of a bat-eared, anteater wookie thing (or maybe a very tall Ewok, considering its short stature) and the mask is clearly incapable of displaying any sort of expression:  as far as I can tell was made of hard plastic or something equally inflexible.  It doesn’t even have  working mouth, it just sucks food up through its snout.  Nor does it look even remotely cute or cuddly and I can’t imagine anything you could try that would change that, except perhaps extreme intoxication (not that I would really recommend making the experiment).

It’s the kind of creature that only a kid in a movie could possibly love.

However, this film has been successful in the one place such films are successful:  on Mystery Science Theater 3000, where it was the basis for one of the most popular episodes.

So file it under the heading of cheap, Spanish made, direct to video, midnight movie.   Most of you will probably be more comfortable watching this one with Mike and the Robots (or was it Joel?), but the huge incompatibility between the two very different moves that have been combined into one does make this one an interesting — if seriously flawed effort.

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