What do you do when the aliens show up? Most of the time you merely run for the hills before they have a chance to probe your rectal cavity. As much as people want to imagine E.T. banging on the front door looking for Reese’s Pieces, odds are high that you’ll end up with the Predator wanting to put your skull and spine on display in his man cave made from actual men. Alien Outpost and Extraterrestrials are tales of battling alien abductions released by IFC Midnight that are getting the Blu-ray treatment from Scream Factory.
Alien Outpost twists up the enemy in order to give a tale of people stuck in the middle of nowhere in the Middle East fighting too many enemies. The sad fact is that neither the Iraq or Afghanistan War is a topic that burns up the box office. Even though The Hurt Locker won the Oscar, its box office didn’t touch the gross of an Adam Sandler dumb comedy. So instead of just a tale of an international group of soldiers stuck on the outpost fighting Taliban and other assorted terrorists, Alien Outpost has them fighting the last vestige of an alien force that had retreated a few years back. The movie is constructed as a documentary made by a visiting crew so this isn’t quite found footage. The movie does seem to draw it’s texture from the documentary Restrepo directed by Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington. Alien Outpost touches on the feeling of stuck in the frontier with your only encounters with humanity being death defying. While they have to worry about aliens, the locals aren’t glad to see the troops sticking it out. The plot gets moving when a local leader gets body controlled by the aliens. It’s up to the troops to fight back this psychic advance. The film is loaded with rather new faces so everyone on the screen is a target. The only real major star is Adrian Paul (Highlander the TV series) as General Dane. The wise use of a remote location makes things look awful lonely between firefights.
Extraterrestrial is the classic tale of what can go wrong with a trip out to the country. The movie starts off with a familiar face screaming. This time it’s Emily Perkins, one of the sisters in Ginger Snaps (also available from Scream Factory). She needs help and the guy at the service station doesn’t care. When she uses a phone booth, things go really bad for her. Unwittingly a young couple is planning on visiting that sweet countryside town for a romantic getaway. However that gets derailed fast when all their friends hitch a ride. They get off on a bad foot when the local sheriff (Gil Bellows from Shawshank Redemption) has to pull them over for being really bad with fireworks. The kids promise to stay out of trouble except trouble comes to them. They wander into their neighbor’s weed farm. Luckily it’s only Michael Ironside (Scanners) and he’s cool with getting high with the kids. However they might have gotten really wasted since they swear aliens are trying to abduct them. Can they survive or will they all have their rumps probed? The film looks amazing with lots of dazzling special effects that appear extra messy. The movie has found footage elements except it’s only used sparingly.
Alien Outpost and Extraterrestrial both work the alien aspect without outwearing their intergalactic welcome. Alien Outpost does a fine job blending a documentary film with science fiction action. The troops stuck on the small outpost play the right tone when compared to real documentaries about such locations. Extraterrestrial is a fine tale of a getaway weekend that gets completely gone thanks to UFOs and dope. The film gets off right with a celebrity abduction. While both films are sold separately, they do make a fine double feature.
The video of Alien Outpost is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The image is a bit too clean for a documentary, but that’s the problem with shooting in HD video. You lose those grainy pictures. Audio is 7.1 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio and the 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio. The mix lets you get surprised from all over. The movie is subtitled in English and Spanish.
Interviews with cast and crew (16:23) is covers the making of the series. They give a tour of the outpost and a sense of the camera rig that captured the action. The film was made in South Africa.
Deleted Scenes (3:22) gives more sense of life on the isolated life of the soldiers.
Trailer builds up the danger lurking around the soldiers.
Scream Factory presents Alien Outpost. Directed by: Jabbar Raisani. Screenplay by: Blake Clifton & Jabbar Raisani. Starring: Adrian Paul, Reiley McClendon & Rick Ravanello. Rated: R. Running Time: 90 minutes. Released: July 7, 2015.
The video for Extraterrestrial is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the messy nature towards the end of the film. Audio is 7.1 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio and the 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio. If you crank up the surround sound system, you’ll get bumps and jumps from all over the room. The movie is subtitled in English and Spanish.
Audio Commentary with Cast & Crew breaks down so much of the action in the alien abduction.
Deleted Scenes (7:17) features the fast repair of the phone booth. There’s also a little extra character development including lots of “Missing” posters.
The Masking of Extraterrestrial (7:44) has the Vicious Brothers excited at what they pulled off for the budget. The duo wanted to make a good alien film.
Trailer (1:59) mixes the horror in the woods with aliens.
Scream Factory presents Extraterrestrial. Directed by: Colin Minihan. Screenplay by: The Vicious Brothers. Starring: Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Melanie Papalia, Michael Ironside & Gil Bellows. Rated: R. Running Time: 100 minutes. Released: May 12, 2015.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.