Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

01 June 2008

Xtro, dir. Harry Bromley Davenport (1983)

NIKKI says:
I'll admit -- I was pumped. It's been a long time since I've seen that horrible alien face, the face that used to taunt me at the video shop, daring me to take it home and face its evil evilness! Eventually, after I'd watched everything else on the Magnum Video horror shelf, I went for it. I needed mum, though, as it was R-rated, and I was still in primary school (...I know, but things were different then).

So, yeah, it did freak me out. It freaked me out even more watching it last night that I remember so little of it. I remember the birthing scene and the bleeding ears, but not G.I. Joe coming to life and murdering the old lady next door. Or the clown or the spinning top, or the bathtub full of Xtro pods.

My main memory of this is just that awful backwards-body man crawling in the swampy leaves with Xtro's FACE! Ugh.

We discussed the movie, though, prior to watching it, that even if it was bad, it was still deserving of our attention because it has its place in the evolution of horror in the 1980s. What that place signifies, exactly, I'm not so sure. I think it was one of the first movies I remember to take the notion of the scary little beast and make him so cruelly awful -- perhaps a precursor to Bilal in Basket Case, or those ridiculously disgusting slobbies from Society?

It could just be that Xtro exists as the Anti-ET. The video packet, Steve tells me, contained a line about not all aliens being cute and cuddly. Too right.

I think, too, I noticed a subtext about boys going through puberty without their fathers. There's much here in the way of sexual themes and allusions -- the father being reborn, the kid getting mysteriously covered in "sticky stuff" at night, the kid 'walking in' on his mum with her new man, the fact that the kid has a SNAKE as a PET. Okay, maybe that's going too far, but I'm fairly convinced this is a child's coming of age tale in an era of sky-rocketing divorce rates. And that's all any good horror movie needs -- subtext and scary monster.

It was still lame.


STEVE says:
Okay, new rule: From now on, if a movie has been released in my lifetime and I haven't seen it, let's take it as read that there's a good reason I haven't seen it and just move on.

Xtro had some very good, very wet special effects sequences, an interesting story with a promising subtext, a nude d'Abo and not much after that. Seriously, once the midget clown turned up, I tuned out.

Again, it took me 25 years to watch this and it turned out to be shite. That's a hell of a build up for such a resoundingly bad movie, and I can't help thinking that I'd have been less disappointed if I'd seen it when I was 12.


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