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  Creature Moontrap
Year: 1985
Director: William Malone
Stars: Stan Ivar, Wendy Schaal, Lyman Ward, Robert Jaffe, Diane Salinger, Annette McCarthy, Marie Laurin, Klaus Kinski
Genre: Horror, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the future, and two rival companies, one American and the other West German, are searching the solar system for minerals that they can mine. Their best bet at the moment appears to be the moon of Saturn called Titan, and research teams have been dispatched there to delve into the surface to see what they can discover, although there is a rivalry between the corporations which sees them anxious to beat the other to whatever rich seam of treasure might be there. However, one party uncovers evidence of a lost civilsation, or at least something which has left behind proof that someone was there before the Earthlings - but best not to get too close...

Ah, Alien, part of the sci-fi boom of the late seventies which carried over to the eighties, most apparently in efforts like Creature, or Titan Find as it was known in some territories (presumably the name change was to make it sound more Alienesque). Yes, there were quite a number of low budget "tributes" to the idea that mixing horror with your science fiction would be good box office, whether it was or not is unclear, but they must have made some amount of cash or there would not have been so many of them. This one was brought to you by genre fan William Malone, who had some props left over from Forbidden Planet and decided to build a film around them.

Not that you'd notice much, because outwith the notion of an alien civilisation leaving traces of their existence behind which return to terrorise the visiting crew from Earth, this was far more faithful to the Ridley Scott favourite, with the expected lighting, or lack of it, so gloomy that you'd be hard pressed to make out the actors never mind what props they were using. In an interesting casting decision, it is Wendy Schaal who is the female lead in this, taking the Sigourney Weaver role - interesting why? Because she is the voice of Francine on the cartoon series American Dad! and here stars against a man called Stan and a man called Klaus.

Klaus is not a talking goldfish, but Klaus Kinski, stealing the film from under the noses of the rest of the actors in a couple of short scenes, and he is a welcome presence, having done so many of this kind of low expectation movie that he displays a mastery of the form. It's a shame when he is replaced by a man in monster makeup, as when he was onscreen the film briefly lit up, but for the most part this is highly predictable, even if you've never seen the film it rips off. We're in slasher movie territory really, so once the Americans arrive on Titan and work out that the previous ship to land there got into serious trouble (Klaus being the sole survivor, fills them in on what they're faced with), they begin to get picked off one by one in time-honoured fashion.

There is a twist to the formula in that the otherwordly influence casts a spell over those it has captured and turns them into mind-controlled versions of themselves that to the untrained eye seem perfectly normal, but actually are harbouring a brain bug clamped to the side of their heads that guides their every move and coaxes the survivors into their clutches. What this has to do with the bloke in the rubber suit wandering around and chomping bits out of the rest of them is unclear, as not even Klaus has a decent explanation, but that's what inevitably happens, with Malone displaying his love of old sci-fi by having it electrocuted in the way that Schaal's character saw in The Thing from Another World. This is as if to say, see, watching these old movies can come in handy, although what it more likely says is that they come in handy if you've reached the stage in your screenplay where you've run out of ideas. Music by Thomas Chase and Stephen Rucker.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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