Monday, May 12, 2014

MAY-DE TO BE MOCKED: Alien vs Hunter (2007)

 Note: Throughout the month of May I will be watching Mockbusters, those low-budget movies which are made purely to cash in on a recent successful blockbuster. I call this May-de to be Mocked!

Alien vs Hunter (2007)
Director: Scott Harper
Starring: William Katt, Dedee Pfeiffer, Randy Mulkey
Format: DVD

Plot: A newspaper reporter is out running when a fireball crashes into the mountainside behind him. He soon discovers that it is an alien spaceship, and with several other residents of his small town, he's soon on the run from spider-like extra terrestrials. Adding to their troubles is the presence of a cyborg-like hunter, who hunts both the aliens and the humans.

Ah, The Asylum. The company whose production line of low budget movies led to the coining of the term "mockbuster", or at the very least made it popular. Snakes on a Plane was a hit? The Asylum offers Snakes on a Train! Transformers becomes Transmorphers, and I Am Legend gives rise to I Am Omega. Rinse and repeat.

Naturally the offerings of The Asylum were going to feature heavily in this month's theme, and first up is Alien vs Hunter, or AVH as it is known for short. I wasn't a fan of Alien vs Predator, so I didn't hold out much hope for this low-budget rip-off, and after watching it, hopeless is probably a good way to describe it.

One of the most fun things about The Asylum's canon is the way they drag washed-up stars out of obscurity and put them back on the screen. Here it's a moustachioed William Katt, who to anyone my age will always be Ralph Hinkley, the Greatest American Hero. And to horror fans he's Roger Cobb from 1986's House. The only other "name" on offer here is Dedee Pfeiffer, Michelle's little sister. That's marquee name value right there. Character actor Randy Mulkey plays a weapon-packed conspiracy theorist (this movie's equivalent of Tremors' Burt Gummer).

IMDB says this movie was made for $500,000 and it shows. The acting is just plain awful (Mulkey is about the only one who doesn't disgrace himself, while I kept hoping that Wittly Jourdan's annoying character would be killed so I wouldn't have to listen to any more of her whining). The special effects are ridiculous (especially the CGI work) and the low budget really shows in the filming locations, which are restricted to small rooms/tunnels and the woods.

With these kinds of movies the saving grace can be the cheese factor. Sadly it's in short supply here, with really only the design of the Hunter's suit standing out. This guy makes Omega-1 from the previously-reviewed Robowar look world class. It's like they put a guy in a suit of armour, then plonked a welding helmet on his head and a salad bowl on top of that. Don't be fooled by the DVD cover above, I'm not sure what movie the "hunter" on the right of the cover is from, but it sure isn't this one. The alien design is actually quite good - a mix of Alien and Predator on the top half and a spider's body on the lower half.

The bottom line is they could have had a lot more fun with this kind of material, but the script by David Michael Latt (SUPERCROC) is entirely predictable, director Scott Harper plays things way too seriously, and there's just not enough cheese. Hell, by half-way through I kept hoping against hope that William Katt would slide into his Greatest American Hero outfit and start flying about comically while trying to battle the alien and/or hunter. That would have made for a great movie. What we actually get? Not so much.

Entirely avoidable, even for fans of silly mockbusters.

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