Granted, there are not as many E.T, the Extra-Terrestrial rips as there are Alien and Star Wars rips (here) . . . but I still think (Sam?) we can squeeze an “E.T. Rip-Offs Week” or, at the very least, an “E.T Top Ten Rips” list, you know, like our two “Alien Rip-Offs” list (here and here). Speaking of which . . . is that a monkey’s face on the cover? Is this ripping off Roland Emmerich’s Making Contact, which itself is an E.T. rip, that had a possessed toy monkey in its frames (if I am remembering my movies correctly)?
Warning. It ain’t no friggin’ money. What is it?
Let’s pop in that Mill Creek disc and find out!
If you’ve hung out at B&S About Movies for any period of time, you know that Juan Piquer Simón, aka J.P Simon (but he’s Jack Grey, here; he hated the end product), is a pretty big deal around here, courtesy of his two huge, Drive-In and duplex “hits,” later to become VHS-rental horror de rigueur: Pieces (1982) and Slugs (1988). Our love runs so deep that Bill Van Ryn and Sam Panico paired up Slugs with Squirm for a Drive-In Asylum Double Feature Night. (Yes, we know Simón did an Alien rip — well, The Abyss rip, that itself is an Alien rip, aka The Rift (1990) — that we never got around to reviewing.)
But sandwiched between his Carpenter-slasher ’80s rip and his big bug movie, he made . . . well, it looks like Los nuevos extraterrestres, aka The New Aliens, started out as an Alien rip-off about an asteroid and a freak lightning storm depositing a dozen alien eggs in the woods, you know, like a Luigi Cozzi movie (Contamination). Then some guy by the name of Steven Spielberg went and made a movie about a kid and his lost alien friend. And you know how film producers are. You’re passé, Ridley Scott. Hello, Mr. Spielberg.
At first, this looks like a Godfrey Ho cut-and-paste job of three unfinished films:
First, we have a trio of bumbling wild life poachers scaling trees for rare eggs in the woods, so it seems we’re getting another Don Dohler alien-in-the-woods cheapfest, ala Galaxy Invader or Night Beast.
But wait . . . we have a Z-grade, new wave band recording in the studio and it’s not working out . . . time to hop into the RV and head out to a remote cabin to cut new tunes . . . and become alien hors d’oeuvre, ala Carpenter with a Dohler-alien pinch-slashing for Jason Vorhees.
But wait . . . then there’s Tommy: an annoying Spanish kid (in a bad dub, natch; this was a French-Spain co-production with thespians from both countries mixing it up) in a Spielbergian-Americanized, product-placement bedroom nightmare (Boston Red Sox and Bruins pennants) with a zoo menagerie in his room (a rabbit, gerbil, hamster, kitten), stuck in a remote cabin with his grumpy uncle and domineering aunt. And all the poor kid wants is a friend to play jigsaw puzzles and Simon — again — it’s all about the product placement. (And holy set design déjà vu, Batman: Is that the same bedroom Timmy had in Pieces? Yep.)
So, the poachers, who want rare eggs, smash the alien eggs (?) . . . and let slip the Sid and Marty Kroft alien of war. Seriously. Remember the monkey crack? Well, it ain’t no friggin’ monkey: it’s an aardvark-bear hybrid that, the first thing I thought of was Snork from the ’70s American, daytime TV series The Banana Splits. (Where’s Sigmund and the Rest of the Sea Monsters?) And Snork is on the warpath. And is it the mom? Or brother? Or sister? No matter: Sigmund wants its child/sibling back.
Meanwhile, back at the cabin: Tommy found the last egg and hatched a new friend: Trumpy. No, it’s not a political statement by the filmmakers: it’s because of the aliens trunk. And that baby alien grows into a teen alien overnight, as it sucks up a collection of Kellogg’s cereals and Planters Peanuts (and, I think a jar of Jiff). Again, product placement.
Meanwhile, in the back in the woods: Snork, aka Big Trumpy, killed one of the new wavers. And the band is on the run (sorry, Mr. McCartney) to . . . the cabin where Tommy lives. Oh, and did we mention Tommy’s uncle is one of the poachers? And nice Trumpy, who, of course, has mad ESP skills and makes clothes and shoes from the closet put on a floor show, with musical accompaniment courtesy of Milton Bradley’s Simon, suffers from a case mistaken identity — as a murderer — that threatens the newly formed friendship of Tommy and Trumpy. And Trumpy doesn’t want to go. But Tommy leaves Trumpy — who parents/siblings are all dead, thanks to the stupid Earthlings — in the woods: alone.
It’s actually a sad ending. Here’s a kids that loves animals and takes care of pets. And he abandons the best pet ever — in the woods. Wait. It’s not sad. It’s sick. What the frack, Juan? What’s the “statement” made here? When something becomes a pain-in-the-ass, you dump it? Don’t give friends the benefit of the doubt?
As if this Alien-E.T. clone wasn’t enough of a mess: Film Ventures International also stuck this on the VHS shelves as Pod People and cut in footage from Dohler’s Galaxy Invader (never saw that version myself). In some quarters, FVI said, “the hell with it” and marketed it as a sequel: E.T. – The Second Coming.
You can watch Extra Terrestrial Visitors on You Tube or own it as part of the Mill Creek Box Set.
Oh! Speaking of Film Ventures International . . . be sure to check out our “Drive-In Friday: Film Ventures International Night” and “FVI Night: Part II” tribute nights.