Morons From Outer Space and(MGM Home Entertainment, 6.7.2005)
Alien From LA
A few years ago MGM began releasing films under their Midnite Movies label and, ever since, it's been an up-and-down ride. I mean, we did finally get Killer Klowns from Outer Space, as well as some bitchin' double bills like Deranged and Motel Hell. Then again, we're also getting crap like Morons From Outer Space and Alien From LA.
To be fair, Mike Hodges' Morons isn't nearly as wretched as its disc-mate but it's bland as all hell. I just watched the entire film without so much as a smirk. Sure, it's cheap, campy, 80s fare but I've seen leagues better. The film's biggest flaw is its tame material and flat delivery. Everything feels unexcitable and half-assed. I don't regret having seen it but once will probably do for this lifetime.
Morons centers around several aliens who crash-land on Earth. They also happen to lose one of their buddies, who will end up on the planet later by-way of a space alien skeleton guy. It sounds funnier than it is. The other aliens' identities are revealed and they ultimately become huge celebrities. The other alien shows up, they ditch him, he gets peeved, and the others get picked up by their kind in an unfunny homage to Close Encounters. The film's gags are certainly not "flung at you like darts," as the DVD cover suggests.
Moving along to Alien from L.A....man, was this bad. This is a film I actually regret watching. I want my 87 minutes back! I know Kathy Ireland -- making her acting debut here -- is a hot Playboy model but, boy, is she unappealing in this film. For starters, there's her insanely annoying voice. I was actually clenching my fist as I listened. It's so squeaky and high-pitched that I thought my glasses were going to shatter.
The whole 80s wardrobe thing is also extremely unattractive. From her big ass glasses -- I know, she's supposed to be a dork -- to her puffy hair-sprayed head to her wardrobe. I mean, I guess she gets hotter as the film progresses (from dud to stud...for girls) but that voice...THAT VOICE!
The story follows an outcast girl (Wanda) from L.A. who goes to Africa to find her archeologist father who abandoned her years earlier. She goes to his place, takes a nap, wakes up, falls to the center of the Earth, and ends up in the lost city of Atlantis. She goes on to meet a bunch of underground misfits who help her locate her daddy and find safety from an androgynous, cyclops baddie. Oh yeah, the film ends on one of the worst/best 80s freeze frame images I've seen in ages, complete with an atrocious soundtrack. Sounds like a campy blast -- I wish that were the case.
This movie was not "wild and sexy" as the DVD's cover would suggest. I'd prefer to call it prudish and impotent (ouch!). It's mostly just about an underground freak-show: think Fred Savage and Howie Mandel in Little Monsters with even lower production values. Even better, think The Super Mario Bros. Movie's underground, nonsensical, cheaply-financed city with its silly-looking baddies (sorry Hopper, I know you tried your best to nail Bowser).
Both extra-free films look pretty swell, although Alien From LA is in full frame, rather than its original aspect ratio. Damn, I was really hoping to see some sweet, widescreen, underground magic. -- Neil Karassik