Category Archives: Science Fiction: Mutant Menace

Without Warning

Date:
1980
Stars:
Jack Palance
Martin Landau
Tarah Nutter

Writer:
Lyn Freeman
Daniel Grodnik
Bennett Tramer
Steve Mathis

Director:
Greydon Clark
WRC Score:
4/4

Two couples head out into the woods for a little fun, but end up stalked by a murderous menace that strikes… Without Warning.

Actually there really is some warning, but I couldn’t resist that sentence even if I tried.

What we have here is one of the best low budget Science Fiction flicks I’ve seen in a long while.  And yeah, it’s Sci Fi; while the alien is kept hidden for most of the flick his little killer disks are clearly out of this world, and wonderfully realized (save in flying sequences where you can clearly see the wire spinning it.)

It’s got it all.  Honest to God good acting, with the cast not being blinding outshone as with a lot of these things.  Best of all, you get two great off-kilter performances by Martin Landau and the one and only Jack Palance.

The plot movies at a decent pace and did quite go the directions I expected.  I will also say that the female protagonist was a bit whinier than I’m used to, but not unreasonably so.

Really, a great movie (2 Points).  Loved it to death (2 points.)

Score: 4 points out of a possible 4 

 

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The Being

Also Called:
Easter Sunday
Freak
The Pottsville Horror

Date:
1983
Stars:
Martin Landau, Marianne Gordon, Bill Osco
Writer:
Jackie Kong

Director:
Jackie Kong
WRC Score:
2.5/4

The Being once again demonstrates the all too common results of poor waste management: Talent actors tarnishing their careers.   No, wait, I mean a horrible mutant monster that attacks the populace.

Though either one can make for an entertaining flick

Like this one, for instance.

Let’s hit the bad parts first, shall we?  Overall the film has little gaffes here and there, questionable moments, and a few redundancies here and there in the plot.   No one’s perfect

The special effects aren’t great.  For instance, the monster seems to change size a lot.  However there are some excellent moments here and there.  A few shots of the creature’s eye struck me as particularly creepy and well done.

The acting is decent enough with the exception of the lead, who seems rather stiff.  At least up until one of the higher caliber actors (like Martin Landau or José Ferrer) show up.  Then the difference in quality level is quite noticeable.

Speaking of the higher caliber actors, they seem to take the film with decent grace.  Landau even seemed to be enjoying himself, which helps the whole.

I should also mention that I’m not quite sure The Being isn’t a failed comedy.  Most of Director Jackie Wong’s filmography consists of Comedies, and there’s a bit right at the end of the flick (which I will not spoil) that is completely out of place.  In fact it would only work in a Comedy.

We’re going to stick this in the mid-range of the quality scale (1 point).  If Jaws 3. can be considered the upper region of this particular section of worth, then The Being is well beneath, bordering on Bad.  If that helps.

Despite its flaws (or in some cases because of them) I had a great time with this flick (1.5 points) and you might, too.

Score: 2.5 points out of a possible 4