Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Evil Aliens
New Year is traditionally a time for cleaning the slate, starting unrealistic resolutions that will be defunct by February at the latest (I’m talking about you, winter joggers), and wallowing in the misery of a monstrous and unpayable credit card bill. However, here in the vault, I make no promises other than that I will continue on in 2012 watching the mountain of utter rubbish that I sat through in 2011 in the hope of sifting out a few pearls from an awful amount of pig poo. So, given that I want to start the New Year in a little bit more style than I finished the old one, here’s the first entry in 2012’s Schlock Vault: Evil Aliens.
Or, to be more precise, Jake West’s Evil Aliens as it wants to be known. Now, I’m not sure whether this is a massive case of hubris, which will no doubt be followed by an equally large case of Nemesis, but even so I kind of admire the cheek of this. I can’t for the life of me think that there is going to be a massive queue of people lining up to take credit for this film, but by the standards of 21st Century Schlock cinema, perhaps they should, because Evil Aliens is a rollicking little film that on more than one occasion manages to flirt with genuine brilliance.
The film opens with an idiotic Welsh couple shagging in the middle of a stone circle. No sooner than you can say rectal probe, than they’ve been kidnapped. The male half of the couple is then subjected to the aforementioned rectal probe with fatal and truly disgusting consequences (this actually nearly made me turn it off, but I carried on with a sense of foreboding), while the woman, Cat (Jennifer Evans), is impregnated and returned to Earth. Next up we’re introduced to Michelle “Foxy” Fox (Emily Booth- more on her in a moment). She’s the front woman for a piss poor “Real” X-Files type program. Cat has contacted her with the story, and Michelle wants to flog it, but her producer (Red Dwarf’s Norman Lovett- which is strangely appropriate given what’s coming) isn’t so keen. She talks him into it, and we get a brief montage of her selected crew of experts. There’s Cameraman Ricky (Sam Butler), Jack the sound man (Peter O’Connor), UFO nerd Gavin (Jamie Honeybourne), gay actor Bruce (Nick Smithers) and porno actress Candy Vixen (Jodie Shaw) who happens to be Norm’s girlfriend.
Crew assembled, it’s off to the arse end of Wales. Conveniently, Cat lives on an Island that’s cut off from the mainland once the tide comes in, so our intrepid TV crew are now stranded. Cat’s family don’t speak English, and are into the traditional welsh pastimes of animal molestation and inbreeding. Foxy and Ricky think this is an abject bust, assuming that she’s full of shit. Foxy gives her a very rough ride in the interview, much to Gavin’s disgust. Furthermore, they anger him by faking a crop circle, which he then defaces to read “Fuck off”, which is indicative of the level of humour here, not that it isn’t funny, but it is juvenile and crude. Oh, and I’m glossing over the S&M sex while the farmer masturbates up against the wall. I am intentionally skipping it, because it makes me feel a bit ill as it comes complete with spunk jet.
Stage set, it’s now time for the Alien attack. Our hapless victims prove to be utterly useless in the face of an Alien onslaught and are gradually picked off one by one. Cat dies giving birth, and Foxy is taken up to the ship with Gavin. She’s impregnated and he, in a bit brilliantly foreshadowed earlier that also has space titties for those that are interested in such things, shags one of the Aliens (popping his cherry in the process). Once finished, he rescues Foxy, and they nick the Alien’s landing vehicle. Ricky, Jake, Candy and the farmers are having more problems. Jake is blinded and swims for rescue with one of Ricky’s tapes while the herd are thinned out. Eventually, we’re reduced to Ricky, one farmer and Candy in the van trying to escape. Things go completely tits up for them, with Ricky separated from the other two, who in homage to Braindead brutalise a shitload of Aliens using garden implements such as a strimmer. In the meantime, Ricky has nicked the combine harvester and is mowing down as many of them as he can catch (brilliantly set to the tune of “I’ve got a brand new combine Harvester” by the Wurzels, which is described as “motivational farming music”).
Right, skipping to the end, everyone dies; Gavin uses his laptop to rewire the stone circles to blow up the Alien Spaceship. I won’t spoil the ending, but it is downright hilarious. In fact, it’s so funny, that even Mrs. Jarv howled with laughter at it- and what’s really splendid is that it’s intentionally so.
This is typical of the film as a whole, actually. There are many, many outstanding jokes here, and the tone of it is frequently gleefully obnoxious. A few shining examples are Gavin’s Star Trek speech on discovering the crop circle, and Ricky’s response “It’s just as well we faked it, seeing as you welcomed them with fucking Star Trek”, the simply incredible Combine Harvester sequence (I’m actually going to recommend Evil Aliens based entirely on this scene) and so forth. There are just so many laugh-out-loud moments in this film that it’s seriously impressive.
Against that, though, it’s also a very, very gory movie. The rectal probe in the opening scene is probably more than enough to stop all bar the hardiest viewer, the pregnancy scene is fucking minging, and there’s enough claret here to keep the French in wine for a long time. Unfortunately, there’s also enough shit and jizz to keep Tory MP’s happy for a long time as well, but you can’t have everything. Furthermore, I mentioned earlier that Lovett was strangely appropriate for this, and it’s because Red Dwarf had absolutely shocking special effects. Well, Evil Aliens does too. They’re terrible, particularly the CGI. Although against that, the Predator influenced makeup of the monsters themselves isn’t too bad.
Then there’s the acting. Emily Booth first appeared on British TV in some shit called Bitz, which was a computer game review show that put hot women front and centre to appeal to the likes of 16year old me. She then featured wearing frankly fuck all as the host of outTHERE on Channel 5, which was one of those dismal internet clip shows in the late 90’s. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that Emily Booth is a woman that caused Kleenex sales to rocket in the UK during that time. Since then, however, she’s appeared fronting a couple of cult/ horror movie documentaries (notably the one on my Evil Dead box set), and I suspect that a little film like Evil Aliens is right up her street. She’s playing a TV presenter, which is convenient, so doesn’t have to try to act too much, but what she does do, she’s good at. The rest of the cast are all equally competent, aside from Shaw, who’s story arc is the best drawn and matched by the best performance in the film.
Overall, yes it’s cheap and yes it’s tacky. The model here is clearly the early Jackson films, and what Bad Taste and Braindead had in spades was a sense of humour and a lot of heart. Evil Aliens, while not in the same class as Jackson’s film, works hard to hit the same territory, and for the most part I do have to say that it is an absolute riot. Well done Mr. West, have a Jarv stamp of approval, and I hope you continue with such quality nonsense as this. Superb.
At the end of the day, 4 words: ALIEN COMBINE HARVESTER MASSACRE. I was never going to give a negative grade to a film with this in it.
Until next time,