, written and directed by William Malone.
Aka Titan Find
Those alien relics are a quarter of a million years old, right? Nothing inside the glass capsules can be alive, of course not. Then it is certainly ok to shine a light inside and sit on one for a photograph... Oh, no, that was a mistake. Sorry, Fred. Now something is loose and it is just awful
. Maybe they can kill it with electricity, but remember kids: they always jump one more time!
We paid money to see this back then and it played in the really nice Cinerama theater that hosted all the big SF spectacles of the era. SF-horror films -- even cheesy low budget ripoffs -- were really big for a few years after Alien (1979)
Anyway, we laughed and laughed, imagining a phone call from one of the actresses: "Mom, Dad? I got the part! ... No it's not porn... I do have to run around naked on a poison gas planet and have my brains sucked out, but it is a good role. Not like that exploding head guy."
Still, I think it was a cut above the typical Roger Corman homage to splatterific alien menaces and I wanted to see it again. Problem: it never had a proper home video release. I've got a cropped 1.33 version in one of those economy SF packs, but this is a scope ratio film.
Googling around, I found the strangest story. I don't know if it is all true, but this is what I read: frustrated by the lack of a proper DVD release, the director used his personal print to produce his own bootleg DVD and was planning a Blu-ray release when the studio shut him down. Only a few discs made it into the wild where they command high prices.
A director's bootleg: that's weird. Still, you can understand MGM's reasoning: the DVD era is only 20 years old and they still might want to make some nickels on this obscure catalog title. Someday, when they get around to it.
I found a suspiciously cheap copy on ebay: $14.99 opening bid plus $5 shipping from Brazil. Brand new, still in shrink wrap. Ok, let's try it. As the only bidder, I won it!
As I suspected, it is a bootleg of the bootleg:
- This is burned media, single layer, where the label specifically says dual layer.
- Cover and disc are signed, but the marking is printed on.
- The files are dated 2016, several years after the supposed production.
At least he used quality Taiyo Yuden media, unless the the media code is also phony, which happens. The content is complete with correct aspect ratio, all extras and director's commentary.
Quality suffers from the recompression: I see macroblocking in dark scenes and the intermittent gridded or graph-paper overlay you see when squeezing video too hard.
And yet: I am tickled to have it. If you want your own, check ebay for "Titan Find DVD", the seller from Brazil. You might PM him an offer if you don't want to sit through an auction. He always has more.
The director provides a commentary track both fond and rueful, saying:
- No one really wants to make a cheezy movie but you make what the producers pay for. They were beginners desperate to be filmmakers and German financiers put up $750,000 for something like Alien (1979). Ok, movie magic time!
- It was a happy shoot except for (1) being extremely hot in LA that summer and having to wear the spacesuits, and (2) one week of Klaus Kinski.
- The producers dropped Kinski on them at the last moment. He was a nonstop raving madman and everyone has stories. Particularly women who didn't keep their boobs out of his reach.
- The director collects SF film props and used them in this one. He's particularly fond of Forbidden Planet (1956) and we have bits of Krell technology in view.
- They had actually cut the gratuitous sex scene (required in 80s films) for lack of time. When they put it back in they had already struck the spacecraft sets. The actress said: "Why don't we just do it out on the planetary surface. And I think I should be naked". Director: "Well, if you really think so... Also, when you first go up to him and it's off camera, grab his crotch. Let's see what sort of expression we get from him".
- The film negative is lost. At the time he bought an answer print from the lab and kept it in a refrigerator all these years. It is the source of the DVD, but is slightly different from the theatrical release. Just tiny edits, he says.