This one proved better than I expected.
The basic story is simple enough: aspiring author Paul Mantel gets a mysterious package in the mail, apparently addressed to the people who lived in the house before him. When he opens it, he finds a large cocoon, which appears to hold some sort of insect.
He’s unemployed and spends most of his time at home, but that changes dramatically when it crawls out of its cocoon and his behavior changes suddenly.
Paul now spends most of his time away from home on mysterious errands: he’s been posing as a talent scout for the movies and perhaps other things, in order to lure people out to the tiny, stagnant pond which he claims that he used to visit.
Mind you, we know he’s been taken over by aliens (if they are aliens), and they have a big hive hidden out there in the woods…
A lot of people have described this as a Fifties-style sci fi film, but I’m not sure I agree. The story and the way it is told are quite different from any Fifties Science Fiction films I can think of, except perhaps The Brain from Planet Arous (although the title, while it doesn’t really fit the film, is meant to be a very Fifties Sci Fi title). The ending, however, is one which feels very out of place. I don’t think it was seen on the big screen until the Sixties (even if it does show up on TV, radio and in print before then).
It does give the film a very early-Roger Corman vibe that so much of it takes place within the confines of a single small house or on location, and the black and white cinematography does add to the retro feel of the film.
Fortunately, John Varesio, who plays Paul, and Catherine Johnson as his wife work well together as the feuding couple, even when the script asks Catherine to get very worked up at the end. It seems a bit over the top, but doesn’t descend into absurdity the way it might have.
What doesn’t work are the insects: they are entirely CGI and look very unreal, although that isn’t the real problem. They have an oversized…head, for want of a better word, which is like a big, flat coiled-up circle that is massively oversized for the rest of the creature. Nor do we ever get any hints of explanation for what this feature is, nor do we ever see any moving parts.
And somehow these things can fly without wings — or motion of any sort.
Let’s face it, a big rubber bug and a few green screen effects would have looked better and fit the faux-Fifties vibe far better.
And might even have given the impression that they were some sort of insect.
As I said, this one is far better than I expected — and far better than most of the DIY Z-movies out there, whether from the Polonia Brothers or anyone else.
Which does make it seem all the stranger that it was never released to video but instead was put into the Public Domain to ensure that it actually got seen.
I suspect there are a lot of first time directors who should be doing this. Once it becomes obvious that you can’t sell your film, then you should consider alternative routes to get it out to the public, even if it won’t make money.
After all, what really matters is that it gets seen…