Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Aliens, killer clowns, a man emerging full-grown from a woman's vagina: This film has a lot going for it. Too bad the good bits come in fits and spurts and the result is a film that is less than the sum of its parts. Xtro isn't a bad film, but it's not a very good one either. It's a jumbled, mess of a movie with a few memorable moments thrown in here and there.

Don't ask me to make sense of this one, because I can't. Shit happens and you've just got to accept it. One bright summer day, a father and son are playing fetch with the dog when, zaaaappp... dad disappears in a flash of light. Abducted by aliens, if you ain't already guessed from the poster (left).

Three years later an alien being comes to Earth, landing in the English countryside, and immediately gets down to business. And by that I mean it impregnates a local coed. (It's rape if you want to get down to brass tacks, and certainly no way to endear the hero to the audience.) Our victim wakes the next morn to find her belly plump, but before she can get a coat hanger, a fully-grown man pops out of her vagina. So much for a late-term abortion.

The man turns out to be Sam, that father who disappeared at the beginning of the film. After washing up, he too gets down to business. And by that I mean insinuating himself back into the life of his estranged wife and son. Of course, mom is not too keen on the idea. Even less so is her new boyfriend.

The boy, Tony, is a little weirded out by dad's behavior, like his snacking on snake eggs. But Sam puts the boy at ease by confiding in him his plans to take him home to... wherever... someplace in space. He also imbues the boy with psychic powers by... I dunno... nibbling on his neck a bit, it looked like.

Tony's newfound abilities allow him to will things into existence, like Billy Mumy on that episode of The Twilight Zone. The sudden appearance of a midget circus clown and a black panther turn the boy's room into a... umm... circus. The crotchety widow downstairs doesn't take too kindly to all the racket but Tony dispatches her quick enough.

Not personally, no, he sends up a life size G.I. Joe to gun her down.

Then things get really weird when Tony impregnates his nanny. He doesn't do this in the usual way, instead sucking on her belly and wrapping her up in a cocoon. I'm not sure if this was better or worse than Oskar's sex scene in The Tin Drum. Well, at least Tony kept his pants on.

With the clown left to gather up the eggs dropping from the nanny's... well... it ain't a vagina... ummm... nevermind... Tony and Sam head to the hills to meet up with the mothership.

Of course, I was left wondering why Sam had to hang around for the ship to come back. Why not just zap Tony up at the beginning? I had a lot of questions by the end, but I also realized if I thought too much about it I'd just be wasting my time.

Directed by Harry Bromley Davenport • R • 1983 • 84 minutes

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