Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Extra Terrestrial Visitors - 1983

Also known, (better to me) as Pod People.  Also, The Return of ET, The Unearthling, Visitor, The New Extraterrestrials, and more.

This is the very well known rip off of ET that was featured on MST3K and was recently voted as one of their top ten episodes ever by the fans.  I do have to agree that this film is extremely good material to riff on, and it was a great episode for those guys.  I tend to like a lot of the obscure MST episodes that aren't fan favorites, but this is a "gimme" because the kookiness of the early seasons of MST matches perfectly with the kookiness of the movie.

Watching it without riffing, I first turned it off immediately.  I decided I wasn't going to watch it, because the movie itself was ruined for me by MST.  MST does such a good treatment, it's an episode I've seen so many times, and I could literally start remembering the riffs as they would've happened in the treatment, so I didn't think I could make it through the whole flick.  But, that was about 6 months ago, and I gave it another shot, and watched it to completion. 

This was originally going to be a violent alien film much like any ol' horror flick from the 80's set in the woods with evil aliens.  But ET was a huge success, they decided to copy that instead, and made what was supposedly an almost sequel.  And it is pretty similar.  Alien lands, little boy Tommy finds alien egg, takes it home to have it hatch to a little alien guy that has magic powers.  In the meantime, a group of campers encounter the mother alien, which accidentally kills one of their friends.  They find Tommy's house, and ask his parents for help.  Tommy's alien, Trumpy, and the mother alien look the same, so naturally when it's uncovered that Tommy has an alien, shit hits the fan.

As a kids film, it's much more accessible than the other "kids movies" on this boxset.  This is a film which I might actually show a kid.  It's weird, but fun, and it actually has appeal in the ways that you'd expect.  The whole film goes by innocently enough, and it has no major hurt or anything to it.  In fact, I'd be hard pressed to say anything truly negative about it besides the fact that it's so second rate in nature.  But shit, if I saw this and not ET, I'd probably like this a lot.  ET is a good film of course, but this one has that isolation factor to it, it's also got a less complex plot, and I would argue that having one kid in Pod People versus a whole gang in ET makes this one more identifiable to people like me that didn't have a lot of friends when they were kids.

Maybe I've been jaded by seeing this as a MST episode, however I truly did enjoy this in a way.  It's got that 80's charm, and the low budget charm as well.  One thing about ET I never really liked was the whole third or whatever act where the government guys have ET and ET is dying and Elliot has to save him....that part got bogged down for me and has a lot of things that I think an adult would appreciate more.  This film is almost more childish, except for the one "F word" and some sexual dialogue.

Anyways, it's not like a competition.  Besides having friendly magic aliens that hang out with kids, these films barely have anything in common anyways.  So I'm over it.  I'd argue that this film is one of the more surreal and bizarre in the boxset, one of the more enjoyable films, and one that is at least very memorable.  And for that, 4 stars.

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