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Movies From the Black Lagoon: AVH: Alien VS Hunte

Movies From the Black Lagoon
AVH: Alien VS Hunter - 2007, Rated R
By Tom Doty

All good exploitation film ideas spring from the same source-Roger Corman. Think of him as the Steve Allen of the Drive-In set. Corman pioneered all manner of on the cheap practices, which helped low budget films thrive for the last five decades. One of his ideas was to keep an eye on the product of the major film studios. He had no problem cashing in on Hollywood hits (he had "Piranha" on Drive-in Screens one year after "Jaws") but he was even better at anticipating what sorts of films would be moneymakers before they were even released. In the 80's this talent allowed him to get three underwater horror films in theaters before James Cameron (Avatar) could finish editing "The Abyss." Cameron wasn't to mad because even he studied under Corman (his first flick was the sequel to Piranha which he made for Roger).
Now we have Asylum Studios continuing this tradition. They started their company by getting "Snakes on a Train" in video stores before the larger budgeted version (starring Samuel L. Jackson) had a chance to tank at the box office. Here we have their effort to copy the success of the match up that all film fans waited for (Alien vs. Predator). Their version is about as good as the actual films which isn't saying much but at least the movie comes on a DVD that holds two other efforts from this fledgling studio and is priced to sell (under five bucks which appears to match their average film budget).
The story opens with our main character, intrepid reporter Lee, jogging across a bridge. Turns out that intrepid doesn't mean observant as he totally misses a huge space ship soaring over his head and crashing in some hills. Turns out his Walkman tuned out the noise but that's no excuse for what happens next. His policeman buddy pulls him over and tells him that a U.F.O. crashed nearby and even offers Lee a ride to the scene. Our ace investigator actually states that he would rather go home and shower. Luckily the policeman talks him into going but as a former reporter I can't relate to a writer who turns down a story tip as well as a ride to the scene.
Once at the crash site our story picks up immensely as an alien arachnid emerges from the woods and eats the policeman. Lee runs like a rabbit and soon hooks up with other towns people. They band together and decide that the local survivalist has the equipment they need to escape. Unfortunately they soon realize that there is another alien afoot and it means to kill the spider like E.T. as well as any humans that cross its path.
It all leads to a lot of head scratching as our barely drawn characters prove that they share a decision making disorder which makes them do incredibly stupid things (like splitting up and walking around in tunnels without a light source). Actually they crawl through a lot of tunnel too. In fact this movie spends a little too much time on aimless wandering though it gets points for plenty of gruesome alien attacks between scenes of people doing dumb stuff.
The final solution amounts to getting out of the way while the alien's fight. That's right folks this one leads up to an exciting climax wherein nobody does anything. Slacker paradise.
This film is at least fun to watch. The cast is made up of the people they probably hired to move equipment around though they do manage to cast William Katt as Lee. If you remember Mr. Katt then you're a 'Baby Boomer" as he was big after starring in 'Carrie" and then hitting 80s T.V. with a starring role on "the Greatest American Hero." Age has caught up to Mr. Katt and his curly locks hang limp while a scraggily goatee sees him starting to resemble Col Sanders. Sadly he phones it in but Dedee Pfeiffer, a veteran of several television series, deserves a special award for acting like she has no idea that the film she is in is this terrible. Her timing is phenomenal. She also manages to read her lines in a convincing manner. She's the only one here who could probably use a clip from this on her talent reel.
The special effects crew appear to have had a ball creating the spider alien but there take on the "Predator" type is decidedly lame and adds up to some poor sap rocking a wok on his head while decked out in rubber.
Best Line: "It came from outer space, it crawls on the ceiling, it looks like a spider on steroids. It's an alien."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to:

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