It’s hard for me to call this movie The Falling, since I’ve known of it for decades under its Alien Predators title. I think it was a few years ago when MGM decided to re-brand it and I came across it on This-TV. IMDB states The Falling is what it was called in Norway, and in way I guess it’s a more accurate title. Alien Predators brings to mind Alien (1979) and Predator (1987) and I’m sure that’s exactly why it was called that when it premiered on VHS even though there is nothing like those monsters in this movie.
I have to confess even though it’s a “memory movie,” until last night I’ve never seen it all the way through. I have a vague memory of coming across it on cable, or TV, many, many years ago and getting creeped out by the scene where this horribly mutilated body is found in this camper. I also remember the picture quality being like shit even back in the day, if that is indeed when I may have first seen it.
When it comes to the aforementioned This-TV airing I remember recording it, since it was on late at night, and started watching it the next day but for reasons I can’t remember I just never finished it. What I do remember vividly about that airing was that the transfer was a hell of a lot better than what I saw previously.
This is another movie Fangoria never covered. I checked their index and there is just no entry for Alien Predator(s) or even The Falling, but as IMDB states in their trivia section the (line) producer, Carlos Aured, was interviewed in issue #189 and it appears we Americans may have to blame for the lackluster movie that resulted:
Aured’s last job in movies was as line producer on the plodding 1987 sci-fi horror film Alien Predator (a.k.a. The Falling), featuring then-stars Dennis Christopher, Martin Hewitt and Lynn-Holly Johnson. It was an experience which was partially responsible for Aured’s decision to finally quit the movie business.
“Working on that film wasn’t a happy time, due mainly to the attitude of the American crew,” he says. “The director [Deran Sarafain] was a pal of the producer, the cameraman was a pal of the producer, they were all pals of the producer! Shooting with them was a disaster. They were just too laid back and I couldn’t get them to take a more professional approach, with the result that it went way over schedule—and they left me with a pile of unpaid debts. By the end of it, I just felt I’d had enough of movies; also I was going through a divorce at the time and had all sorts of personal problems, so I decided to call it a day.”
This might go a long way in explaining the tone. I reviewed another MGM MOD just before this called, Mom (1991), and IMDB categorizes it as a horror comedy. That’s only half right. There’s no comedy in that movie. With The Falling it’s categorized as a drama/horror/sci-fi. Yes, it’s scifi/horror, but I’m not so sure the “drama” label fits. Yes, there are moments of “drama” but thanks to the antics of mostly Dennis Christopher’s character, and some other odd out of place “levity,” I would seriously consider labeling this an (unintentional) horror comedy, and if I didn’t already have a shelf in my DVD tower for this flick already set up I would probably put it in with my more obvious comedies/horror comedies.
I shouldn’t put all the blame on Christopher, Hewitt has solo moments of being funny when he shouldn’t be and the “sketchy” acting of Johnson certainly adds to the “uneven tone.” I remember Lynn-Holly from The Watcher In The Woods (1980) and For Your Eyes Only (1981), but I haven’t seen those movies in decades so I can’t recall if her acting was always “sketchy” or if it was just particularly “sketchy” because of this flick.
I had also forgotten how smoking hot she was too! Damn!
In 1979 Skylab falls to earth crashing down in Spain, but not everything burned up on re-entry. Five years after that prologue we see a bull wondering the landscape. Clearly there’s something wrong with it. Eventually it dies but there are sounds of ripping, tearing and little “alien” chittering. Wild dogs come to feed on the body and one of them is pulled inside the carcass and I presume devoured by something that was growing inside the bull.
Collegians Damon (Christopher), Michael (Hewitt) and Samantha (Johnson) are vacationing in Spain when they happen upon this bull carcass and nearly run down one of the wild dogs. With the RV now kind of fucked up by the near accident they enter a nearby town to find parts for the vehicle, while claiming a small spot of unused rural real estate to park their RV. And it so happens to be next to another camper with a family, who awkwardly introduce themselves the day after. No explanation why but the father’s fly is clearly open the whole time, with part of his shirt sticking out of it.
Back in town, as Damon, the mechanic of the group, searches for a parts store, Mike and Sam decide to find a café to have lunch and experience some odd behavior by the waitress. In fact the few Spaniards they do encounter are all “odd” and oddly murderous. You see what Skylab brought back was alien microbes from the moon that once you get infected your life expectancy bottoms out at the 48-hour mark, with psychosis and a bloody nose setting in first then this alien creature gestating inside you bursts out of your face. Check out the photos below to see one of the effects this motherscratcher has on your frail human body and what it looks like when it finally decides to see the light of day.
There’s a romantic triangle subplot between the kids that’s handled almost as comically and a subplot of a NASA scientist, a Dr. Tracer (Luis Prendes), who knows exactly what’s going on and has come to Spain to find out why everyone they send down there to find out why the NASA base they have stationed there has lost communication keep disappearing. Simply being within the town’s limits is enough to infect you, and Tracer claims he can make a cure, but he’s oh so wrong as the final moments of the movie suggests and it also suggests the rest of the Earth is fucked as well.
For you gorehounds there’s some nice FX at work here, but it’s not a heavy FX flick by any means. You get three, bloody, face ruptured head blasted corpses (two after the fact and one actually shown at the very end), the almost face ruptured head blasted corpse (the one pictured above, which reminds of something Rob Bottin may have done in The Thing) and a full reveal of the alien at the end (again see photo above). There’s another partial alien reveal in the middle of the flick but it’s heavy on shadow and quick shots so if you want to see that one you’ll need to use the pause button.
The Falling has never seen a DVD release of any kind until now. Back on August 25th MGM released it under their MGM Limited Edition (DVD-R) sub-label.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: anamorphic 1.85:1 (or) 1.78:1 widescreen—2.0 English Dolby Digital—No subtitles.
The transfer on this was just as good as the one MGM used for their Mom (1991) DVD-R. Crisp and clear.
There are no extras. Typically MGM MODs don’t come with any, not even a trailer.
I wasn’t totally disappointed by the movie. I liked it in a strange kind of way and since I do see myself having an urge in the future to see it again, it will therefore find it’s way into my ever growing DVD collection.