Creature (A.K.A. The Titan Find) (1985)

Directed by William Malone
Written by William Malone, Alan Reed
Produced by William G. Dunn, William Malone, Don Stern, Moshe Diamant, Ronnie Hadar
Starring Stan Ivar, Wendy Schaal, Lyman Ward, Klaus Kinski, Robert Jaffe, Marie Laurin, Diane Salinger, Annette McCarthy

Synopsis

Clumsy, cretinous, corporate cosmonauts examining specimens in an ancient laboratory excavated under the surface of saturnal moon Titan stupidly breach a capsule containing a roused carnivore with a knack for reanimation, which messily terminates them, then researchers dispatched from a West German(!) conglomerate. Next on the menu: a Columbian crew (Ivar, Schaal, Jaffe, McCarthy, Laurin), their mission’s commander (Ward), and security officer (Salinger).

Script

This Alien-alike is distinguishable for its monster’s undead thralls, an electrocutional stratagem lifted from The Thing from Another World, and the undiluted indiscretion, tactical stupidity, and brain-dead gullibility that impairs all of Malone’s and Reed’s characters, from which senseless evagation and death arise.

Direction

Malone’s middling management excites neither dread nor fright.

Histrionics

Unsurprisingly, the American spaceship’s cargo embraces ham (Ivar, Schaal, McCarthy), lumber (Jaffe, Salinger, Laurin), and Ward, whose unflappable, fatherly authoritarianism clashes well with creepy Kinski’s insouciance. Laurin is so wooden that one can scarcely differentiate her vital from zombified states. She’s miscast as a navigator and technician, but cutely bubbleheaded Schaal clicks with captain/helmsman Ivar, an appealing, cut-price Robert Urich (who in turn is an appealing, cut-price Robert Wagner).

Score

Their brassy, trilling, pounding, orchestral score sounds like Alex North’s output in the ’70s; whether Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker composed it together, or for this picture, is anyone’s guess.

Highlights

See 5. and 7. below.

Flaws

The following are by no means comprehensive:

  1. Space helmets worn by Americans are obvious counterfeits of those seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  2. Quality props and paraphernalia seem incongruous in underdesigned, often flimsy sets that are probably the handiwork of a rushed and underfunded art department.
  3. Francine Agapoff’s costumes were also cheaply thrown together.
  4. Creature creator Michael McCracken’s beast resembles H. R. Giger’s xenomorph, were it in dire need of exercise.
  5. Lunching Klaus munches his way through one dumb discussion.
  6. Both Ivar’s and Schaal’s fumbling incompetents briefly survive exposure to Titan’s nitrogenous atmosphere and approximate climatic temperature of -290 degrees Fahrenheit without suffering frostbite or severe trauma.
  7. While they’re spacesuited and ranging the moon’s terrain, infamous sex pest and occasional rapist Klaus grabs hatchet-faced Salinger’s derriere in an unscripted moment portending Malone’s liberality toward his German star.
  8. Opening doors emit reports of blasters from Star Wars.
  9. No protocols for any given activity are observed during this interplanetary mission to retrieve invaluable artifacts.

Conclusion

This crap is less trying than Event Horizon, Alien from the Deep, or Xtro‘s sequels, but not so diverting as Lifeforce or Contamination.

Instead, watch Alien, Leviathan, or Lily C.A.T..

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