Creature is an entertaining enough B-movie inspired by Alien and co-written and directed by William Malone, who helmed the House On Haunted Hill remake and the recent Parasomnia. This was another flick I was fortunate enough to catch in a theater…where movies like this should be seen…when it came out. It was at the long gone Loews Harmon Cove in Seacaucus NJ, if memory serves and I remember my friends and I having a fun time with it. A recent re-visit shows it’s still fun and has some nice added 80s nostalgia now too.
The film takes place in a future where two rival corporations are heading into space to plunder the resources of other planets. As it opens, a ship from the NTI company has found a structure on the Saturn moon of Titan and in it, specimens of alien life…and find out the hard way that freeing one of those specimens, even by accident, is a fatally bad idea. Enter the crew of the NTI corporation ship Shenandoah, who are on their way to investigate the ruins found by the previous ill-fated crew. On Titan, the Shenandoah lands on weak ground and crashes through beneath the surface, stranding the crew on the inhospitable moon. Upon investigating the site, they find an abandoned Richter Dynamics ship, a rival German company, and they find not only a ship filled with corpses, but a very nasty creature with the ability to manipulate it’s victims with small symbiotic creatures. Now the crew must battle not only this vicious and intelligent space monster, but their own dead as well. Worse still, the German ship is their only hope of escape and their fierce and seemingly impervious adversary has made the craft it’s lair.
Malone directs Creature very competently and with a moderate pace. He has a nice visual style and while the film could have used a bit more intensity and suspense, it still entertains. The cast are all fine, no awards, but they try to give their thinly written characters a little life and it helps. Soap actor Stan Ivar plays ship captain and story hero Mike Davidson. Adorable Wendy Schaal makes a feisty heroine as crewman Beth Sladen, who is also Davidson’s girlfriend. Lyman Ward is the mission commander and corporate douche, but contrary to the stereotype, turns out to not be such a bad guy when the chips are down. Diane Salinger plays her security office Bryce as a woman of few words and a big gun, but gives her a bit of charm when the character’s guard is down. Also adequate are supporting players Robert Jaffe, Marie Laurin and Annette McCarthy, who try to give their characters some personality in limited roles. There is also an extended cameo by Klaus Kinski, as an eccentric survivor of the ill-fated German ship. While Malone guides his cast through what is an attempt at a somewhat serious sci-fi/ horror, there is plenty of gore and a splash of nudity, courtesy of Miss Laurin, that keeps this movie well within it’s B-movie status. Speaking of the gore, the make-up FX are quite good and as this is a pre-CGI era film, our slimy villain is delightfully a man in a rubber suit that is equal parts Giger’s Alien and raptor (and almost 10 years before Jurassic Park). The creature is kept in shadow and fog most of the time though, as are most of the sci-fi show level sets, thus hiding their inadequacies and adding atmosphere. For a low budget flick the visual FX are pretty good and the fact that the production’s heart is in the right place helps make this a very likable monster movie, despite it’s derivative story and creature.
Sure, it has it’s shortcomings, could be a bit more energetic and the pace could be a bit quicker, but it’s a charming little movie with some nice gory action and some cute heroines with nostalgic 80s hairdos. I’d rather watch a B-movie with a director who really tries, like this one, than a bloated mega-million CGI epic by a director on autopilot…*cough* Avatar *cough*. A charming and fun little movie for fans of 80s B-movies and horror/sci-fi before CGI.
Rated 3 (out of 4) Giger-esque space creatures!