Reviewed by Ned Daigle
Rating: 4.5 Beans
n the wake of "Alien", the early 80's was the hotbed for disastrous sci-fi creature-feature rip-offs. Some were passably interesting ("Galaxy of Terror") but most were so wretched they were barely watchable ("Forbidden World", "Horror Planet", "Creature" etc.). Few, however, were so completely insanely whacked as the British offering, "Xtro".
"Xtro" may not be a very good movie (in fact, it's pretty bad), but it certainly is original, albeit in a feverish nightmare sort of way.
Our story begins in the English countryside, where a father and son (Sam and Tony) are playing ball in their yard, when, suddenly, the skies go dark and a bright light begins glowing in the sky, and Sam is whisked away to parts unknown.
Jump to 3 years later. Tony is still suffering from nightmares dealing with his dad's disappearance, although his mom, Rachel, is convinced Sam ran out on them and was not the victim of alien abduction. She has started a new romance with a live-in lover, Joe and a tarty French nanny, Analise.
Next, we go back to the English countryside, and a similar looking bright light appears in the sky. What happens next is very hard to discern, what from the crappy editing and low-budget effects, I think the space-ship lands, or crashes, or something, but it's hard to tell. All we see is some of the woods on fire and a nasty alien creature rising out of a bog. The creature looks like the unholy hybrid of a walrus and praying mantis.
Anyway, the creature finds a woman alone in a nearby house and attacks her; although at one point I thought alien-rape was a distinct possibility. A slit opens up in the creatures stomach and very phallic tube thing comes out, but instead of going between the woman's already conveniently spread legs, it attaches to her mouth. Hours later, the woman regains consciousness and the alien has been reduced to a melted puddle of muck; after a few minutes the woman's stomach begins to swell to unbelievable dimensions and she collapses on the floor to give slow, disgusting birth to full grown man!! Yes, we get a closeup of a man bursting from between the woman's legs as she dies (natch). Pretty vile. The man, of course, turns out to be Sam.
The rest of the movie is basically a sort of alien father/son bonding family drama. Sam returns home much to Rachel and Joe's chagrin. Tony discovers Sam munching down on some snake eggs (which, to be honest, is the scene in the movie that made me gag- watching him slurp snake egg-slime) and believes daddy isn't quite what he used to be. Sam bites Tony's neck and does...something..to him.
At this point Tony now has special powers where he begins to make his toys grow and come to life. I kid you not. He enlarges his toy soldier and sends him down to bayonet the nosy old lady who lives in the downstairs apartment, enlarges a clown (into a malevolent midget) who dispatches of the landlord with a glow-in-the-dark yo-yo with razorblades attached to it.
This whole warped film comes to an end in supremely over-the-top fashion. Sam slowly becomes more alien and abducts Tony and takes him away on the spaceship after Joe is killed by, I think, a high-pitched alien scream which causes blood to shoot out his ears and Analise is coccooned in the bathroom and turned into an alien egg making factory. The final scene has Rachel, now finding her bathtub filled with green goop and alien eggs, picking up an egg and being attacked by another of the aforementioned alien penis-tubes which attaches to her mouth.
And you thought your family was dysfunctional! You have to hand it to "Xtro" for scoring points in the creativity department; however, the gag-inducing effects, sloppy editing, wretched electronic score, cheesy special-effects and flat performances from all involved, mar what, potentially, could have been a cult-classic. In fact, the entire cast, takes the material WAY too seriously, as if they were performing in Masterpiece Theatre instead of a shlocky "Alien" rip-off.
I haven't seen the direct-to-video sequels to "Xtro" which appeared in the 1990s, but I have a feeling they don't quite live up to the loony heights (or depths, depending on your point of view) of the original.
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