CANNON MONTH: Alien from L.A. (1988)

Based — loosely based! — on Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth with a little part of The Wizard of Oz as several actors play parts above and below ground, Albery Pyun’s science fiction fantasy tells the story of Wanda Saknussemm (Kathy Ireland), a nerd — as if — who gets dumped for not having a sense of adventure. That’s when she learns that her archaeologist father has fallen down a bottomless put near Zamboanga and before you know it, we have Atlantis, a thousand-year-old alien spaceship and a journey literally to, you guessed it, the center of the Earth.

So where does the title come from? When Wanda finds her way inside the inner Earth, she becomes the alien, at odds with gangster Mambino (Deep Roy) and Lord Over while falling for charming Charmin’ (Thom Mathews, who I always call Tommy Jarvis). Hey! There’s Linda Kerridge from Fade to Black as Wanda’s aunt and a bar owner!

Pyun and Ireland would return for the direct-to-video sequel Journey to the Center of the Earth, which suffered the Cannon curse of cuts and budget woes. The pre-production work and storyboards were wasted as the final film bears little resemblance to the script, which is why it started as a movie made Rusty Lemonrande — the producer of Yentyl and Captain EO — and Pyun coming on and this turning into a sequel. Nobody was happy with how it ended up. But it does have Emo Phillips in it.

This ran on cable pretty often when I was young. Now you can get it from Vinegar Syndrome.

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