Here’s the tagline for Xtro: “Some extra-terrestrials aren't friendly.” As this film was released in 1983, less than a year after a certain other extraterrestrial-based film, one starting with an “E” and ending with a “T,” I can only assume this tagline is making reference to its other, slightly more popular, cousin.
Here’s one thing you can be assured of, however, the films bare absolutely no resemblance.
Xtro opens with Sam Phillips (Philip Sayer) and his son Tony (Simon Nash) playing with their dog in the back yard of their vacation cottage on a sunny summer afternoon. Sam throws a stick up in the air, assumedly so the dog will chase it, although it actually appears as though he is trying to throw it on top of the house. The stick freezes in mid-air, explodes, the day turns instantly in to night, and Sam is quickly and efficiently abducted by aliens.
As Tony is the only one to witness this affair, it is believed the boy has created a rationalization to deal with his father leaving him and his mother, Rachel (Bernice Stegers). Everybody is on board with this explanation, from the doctor to the mom to the new boyfriend Joe (Danny Brainin) to the extremely attractive French housekeeper Analise (Maryam D’abo).
However, three years after his disappearance the alien ship reappears, crashing into a forest, and what I can only assume is Tony’s now mutated alien father crawls from the wreckage. In the brief snippets we get he appears to be a mix between an H.R. Giger painting and Sloth from “The Goonies.” Except he crab-walks on all fours.
He saunters out to a road, where he is hit by a car. When the man who hit him gets out to investigate the damage, the alien kills him by licking his eyes. He then makes his way to the nearest house where he knocks a woman out and impregnates her by placing some sort of tentacled appendage over her mouth. A few minutes later a fully-grown, completely human Sam Philips crawls out of her womb, bites through his umbilical cord, and goes to steal the dead man’s car.
All of what I have currently explained occurs in the first twenty minutes of the film.
After all those shenanigans occur, there is a marked lull. This is due to the reintroduction of Sam in to the family, the questions of where he’s been, the obvious unease it causes between Rachel and Joe, and so on and so forth. I started to become concerned “Xtro” would turn in to a tired mistaken identity film, where everybody believes Sam is Sam, but he’s actually an alien in human’s clothing. My fears were heightened after Tony catches Sam eating his pet snake’s eggs.
Tony, worried maybe dad is acting a little weird, attempts to run away but Sam catches him in an alley. He bends down to console his son with a hug, then promptly injects him with alien juice by sucking his shoulder until it becomes a festering pustule of evil. Later that night, Tony starts to make some of his toys move with his mind. It appears as though the injected alien juice is displaying itself in young Tony as telekinesis.
And then the film becomes an incomprehensible mess.
Here’s the rundown. Dad is an alien, the son is a telekinetic who can not only move things with his mind, but can actually turn them to human form, the most prominent of which is a wooden clown that manifests itself in the form of a psychotic midget. There are plenty of deaths from here on out, some people are simply killed while others are turned in to alien surrogates.
The longer the film runs, the more incoherent it becomes. The “plot,” such as it is, begins to dissolve into more and more fantastic visuals……it just so happens they are also completely nonsensical. There are just too many ideas, and the paper-thin plot doesn’t even really bother trying to tie them together in any manner. Yet, for all of its flaws, the direction isn’t bad, the acting is actually pretty good, and the soundtrack is filled with keyboards that sound so 80s you would swear it’s somebody in the year 2011 trying too hard to sound like keyboards from the 80s.
I guess what I’m really trying to say here is, if you are a fan of 80s horror, this is a film YOU HAVE TO SEE. It makes no difference if it’s incoherent, or low budget, or has some of the absolute worst editing I have ever seen in my entire life. It simply has to be seen for the pure oddity of it.
Written by Ryan Venson