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21.2.16

XTRO (1982)


Director: Harry Bromley Davenport
Starring: Philip Sayer, Bernice Stegers, Danny Brainin, Maryam d'Abo, Simon Nash
Rated R, 84 minutes

The success of ALIEN spawned a slew of knockoffs, but perhaps none were as bonkers as this. XTRO is about a boy who witnesses his father being kidnapped by aliens. Of course, his mother doesn't believe him, and prefers to think that her husband simply abandoned the family. Several years pass, Mom (Bernice Stegers, MACABRE) has taken up with a live-in boyfriend (Philip Brianin), hired a sexy and hot-to-trot French nanny (Maryam d'Abo). Yet son Tony (Simon Nash) still believes his dad is living in the stars, and will one day return.

And he does, in grand fashion. An alien creature lands on earth and attaches a face hugger-style tentacle to a woman's face, and badda bing, badda boom, Dad is reborn in perhaps the screen's most painful, and bloodiest, birth sequence. From there, the film just gets crazier. Dad returns home and seriously disrupts life for all involved, and before its over, the son will be slowly turned into an alien, Maryam d'Abo will get naked, and toys will come to life and kill.

No plot description could ever capture the sheer lunacy on display here. Writer/director Harry Bromley Davenport apparently decided if he couldn't compete with ALIEN in terms of style and execution, he would just go nuts instead. As a result, XTRO is a complete mess of half-baked ideas and non-sequitirs. It feels like ideas for several movies hodge podged into one, and ends up playing like a long weird dream. While there's no known measurement that could qualify it as a "good" movie, it's definitely not a boring one. XTRO's kitchen sink approach to space weirdness must be seen to be believed.

2.5 out of 5.

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