If you’re a frequent visitor to B&S About Movies, you know we hold director Fred Olen Ray in high regard. Fred Olen Ray: Ye king of all of things boobs, blades, and blood in the ’80s and ’90s. Of aliens, bikinis, world disasters and Jean-Claude Van Damme knockoffs. He of our VHS-rental favorites The Brain Leeches, The Alien Dead, and Biohazard. The celluoid god who put scantily-clad women in a space prison with Star Slammer, plopped Heather Locklear from T.J Hooker on a high-tech motorcycle in Cyclone, and wrangled my beloved Ann Turkel into Deep Space (1988). The man who gave us Evil Spawn, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Dinosaur Island, Wizards of the Demon Sword, Evil Toons, and Beverly Hills Vamp. The man who is currently eleven films deep into a career of Christmas TV movies — check out his holiday resume in our review of his most recent film, A Christmas Princess — in a resume that is currently at 158 films and counting.
But long before Meghan Markle became Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex and decided to tell the Queen to “sod off,” and became the narrative inspiration behind A Christmas Princess, Fred Olen Ray, who was always up to the challenge of producing a low-budget knockoff to a successful Hollywood movie, made his version of James Cameron’s The Terminator. (Not that it has any importance to this film review, but Meghan was nine years old when Alienator was released.)
Oh, yeah. The movie. Sorry.
Well, if you’ve ever wondered what Ross Hagan has been up to since 1975’s Supercock (hey, dirty mind, it’s about fighting birds), what John Phillip Law has been up to since Space Mutiny, where P.J Soles disappeared to after Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and Stripes, how far Robert Quarry had fallen after Count Yorga, Vampire, Dr. Phibes Rises Again , and Madhouse, and how quickly — and far — Jan-Michael Vincent had fallen after the 1986 cancellation of CBS-TV’s/USA Network’s Airwolf — Alienator is your movie.
If you need a movie where alien astronauts simply “exit” their spaceships by walking out from behind a cinematic processsing plate (image overlay-camera trick) of a space ship — Alienator is your movie
And if you want a movie with more “rail kills” than Space Mutiny (aiiieee-arrr!) — Alienator is your movie.
Oh, yeah. The movie. Sorry.
In a Battlestar Galacatica — wait, it’s not that good — a Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (I hate the friggin’ show!) episode gone bad — on mothballed sets and excised expositional techobabble dialogue excerpts from 2019: After the Fall of New York (i.e., techs mindlessly pressing and monitoring flashing lights as they say things like “we closed off sector A-6 and G-3,” “we have to stop them,” and “you’ll pay for your incompetence with your life”) — we have a movie about a female (?) — oh yeah, the metal bra gives it away — gynoid retrival unit out to fetch a space criminal who escaped to Earth.
“Hey, wait a minute. Are you confusing this movie with 1987’s The Hidden and 1990’s I Come in Peace?“
When Kol (Russ Hagan) is sent to the
electric chair laser chair for execution by Warden Jan-Michael Vincent, he — regardless of the plethora of highly-trained, lazer pistol and rifle-packing guards (even more useless than Star Trek: TOS “red shirts”) — breaks out of the run down and abandoned dairy processing factory (in 2019: After the Fall of New York, Eurac headquarters was, in fact, an abandoned, Rome yogurt factor) and steals a spaceship (models shot in-camera that are the most impressive aspect of the movie) that subsequently crashlands on Earth via cost-effective plate-process shots.
And that’s when the set P.A notes today’s call sheet tells him John Phillip Law arrives on set. John is Ward Armstrong, the local forest ranger who springs into action to protect a gaggle of actors from the Ed Wood Institute of Washed Up Porn Actors (there’s no proof any of them did actual porn flicks, but by the “skill” of their “acting” . . . ) who are the obligatory-obnoxious college kids (these idiots are “law students”?) who ran over Kol with their camping RV.
“Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t that what happened in 1987’s The Falling?” (Its available on a Shout! Factory Blu-ray under its alternate Alien Predator title.)
Uh, sort of. But you’re right: that had college kids in a camper running afoul of an alien.
Anyway, that’s when the set P.A notes today’s call sheet tells him American bodybuilder Teegan Clive (the post-apoc romp Interzone) arrives on set. She’s the Amazonian
Terminator “Alienator” that silently starts blasting away with her arm laser and will retrieve Kol — who (plot twist) is not a criminal, but a political prisoner — at any cost.
Oh, yeah. P.J Soles and Robert Quarry: PJ is Tara, a ditsy, uh . . . space secretary (?) (dig that chest-revealing uniform against all the males in baggy overall flight suits) to Michael Vincent’s warden that can’t seem to push the right button to excute a prisoner. Quarry is an alcoholic doctor who’s never too drunk to violate his hypocratic oath of protecting any errant alien convicts who fall to Earth.
Woo-hoo! This one is on DVD and Blu-ray!
The fine folkes at Shout! Factory released Alienator on DVD as part of their 2013-issued 4-film “Action-Packed Movie Marathon” and on their 2017 Blu-ray — complete with a commentary track by Fred Olen Ray.
On the Blu’s commentary, Fred tells us that Alienator was his “semi-remake” of the 1957 film The Astounding She-Monster (I never got around to seeing that one), which starred Robert Clarke (TV’s Dragnet; pick a ’60s or ’70s TV series). The Clarke films we do remember seeing, via old UHF-TV viewings, are his sole writing and directing effort, 1958’s The Hideous Sun Demon, and 1960’s Beyond the Time Barrier, which he produced (and starred in both). Clarke stars in Alienator as Lund, the robed, drippy-hippy leader of a space religion-political party who defies Michael Vincent’s “barbaric” execution initiative.
And for you video-fringe purists: Ebay and Amazon have plenty of Prism Entertainment’s 1990 VHS for your collection.
What?! There’s no English language VHS rips online, anywhere? Not even on You Tube? Bogus! Denied! So you’ll have to channel surf over to the retro-UHF cable channel COMET, which is featuring Alienator all this month. Or, if you’re cool with dropping six bucks, you can rent it on Amazon Prime.