27 June 2018

SECOND SIGHT FILMS PRESENTS: XTRO. (1982) GRUESOME CULT SCI-FI HORROR REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.




XTRO. (1982) WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND MUSIC BY HARRY BROMLEY DAVENPORT.
STARRING PHILIP SAYER, BERNICE STEGERS, DANNY BRAININ, MARYAM D'ABO, SIMON NASH, DAVID CARDY, PETER MANDELL, ARTHUR WHYBROW AND ANNA WING.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Xtro: Limited Edition Box Set lands in the UK for the first time on Blu-ray in June 2018 courtesy of SECOND SIGHT FILMS!

Not all Extra-Terrestrials are friendly...

Part E.T., part Alien, British horror classic Xtro is one of the strangest, most shocking exploitation flicks to land on earth during the video nasty heyday. A film that narrowly avoided inclusion and prosecution on the original nasties list, threw in buckets of blood and gore and some of the most outlandish plot twists of the VHS era to create a truly memorable horror classic. Now it makes its arrival for the first time on Blu-ray courtesy of Second Sight Films as Xtro: Limited Edition Box Set.

Loved by horror fans, reviled by highbrow critics on its original release and one of the most notorious homegrown films of its time, Xtro lands in June 2018 in a newly restored version complete with a raft of new extras, including an hour-long documentary charting the film’s history and its impact, alongside its original alternate ending too.
Can you stomach Xtro

I was expecting to hate this one because I'm not the world's biggest fan of so-called 'cult sci-fi movies,' gruesome or otherwise, but I didn't. I loved it, possibly because it's a British horror classic and not an American one.

No offence intended there to American science fiction movies. After all, they did ET: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL and the ALIEN films, amongst countless others. It's just that the Britishness of XTRO really charmed the pants off me, and that's not easy to do, lol.

In fact, it usually involves weeks of romantic dates in pricey restaurants and loads of thoughtfully-chosen pressies before I'll even consider your application seriously, so think on, lads, as they say on 't' telly. Think on.

Anyway, here's the deal with XTRO. The handsome, dark-haired actor Philip Sayer, who tragically died of lung cancer in 1989 aged only forty-three, plays the lead role here. He's a family man called Sam, and he seems like a good hubby to his missus Rachel and a devoted father to their son Tony, aged about ten or maybe less.

One day, Philip and Tony are playing a game together in the garden of their isolated summer cottage, which, if that's a cottage, I'm flippin' Prince William, lol. It looks like a bloody mansion to me. Snobby rich people, huh. They've got a fancy apartment in London as well, in an absolutely gigantic apartment building that looks like bleedin' Buck House.

Anyway, I promised myself I wouldn't get all het-up about snobby rich people, haha. The plot's the important thing here. An inordinately bright light suddenly appears in the sky in broad daylight and, strange as it sounds, 'abducts' Sam, leaving a gobsmacked Tony staring up at the skies in disbelief and destitution.

Three years pass. Rachel the wife has moved a new lover into their fancy London apartment but that doesn't mean that she's forgotten Sam, the husband who seemingly just walked out on her and Tony three years ago without so much as taking his wallet or a change of underwear with him. She probably just feels like she should be 'moving on' at this stage.

The lover is a spoilt, surly American guy called Joe, a glamour photographer who's obviously a fair bit younger than Rachel, who's still very much a fine-looking woman herself. Joe is possessive and likes to get his own way all the time. I'm sure the sex is great- the sex is nearly always great with a younger guy- but Joe's a bit of a brat just the same. That's the price you pay for getting yourself a toyboy, innit?

Tony, Rachel's son, doesn't get on at all with Joe, but then Tony is convinced that his father is coming back any day now. Rachel keeps trying to make him understand that his father has left them both but she's wasting her time. Tony was there. He saw what happened with his own eyes.

One day, to Rachel's absolute amazement, Sam does come back, just like Tony always said he would. Rachel is shocked to find that she still loves Sam and Joe, who senses problems for himself in Sam's stunning return, is all agitated, prickly and defensive about it.

Tony is thrilled to be reunited with his absentee Pops, although he knows that Sam is different now. When he sees his father devouring his pet snake's eggs as if they were a Big Mac with cheese, he knows that Sam is different now.

Sam explains to his son that he's had to 'change' a bit in order to survive in the environment in which he's lived for the past three years. It looks like a lot of stuff about Sam has changed since he mysteriously 'went away' and now it looks like, with Sam's 'help,' the adorably chubby-cheeked Tony is going to 'change' a good bit too...

I haven't said anything at all yet about the alien element of the film but trust me, it's there. This, after all, is the film with the alien rape in it and a sort of alien birth that will blow your mind. This is the bit of the film that everyone always remembers.

There are quite a few gruesome deaths in it and an evil circus dwarf who looks like he's really enjoying giving full rein to his darker side. It's a really gory, messy kind of film that will appeal to fans of horror films where you see lots of guts and intestines and stuff. I normally prefer the more cerebral, suspenseful kind of film myself but this is still good icky fun.

I love Bond Girl Maryam D'Abo here as Analise, the world's worst French au pair. She sleeps later than her employer Rachel and her little charge Tony do and the second they're out of the house, she sneaks in her boyfriend for sex. She even does this while the boy is in the house, the blondey strumpet. She gets totally naked in the film and everything.

In real life, it would be a terrible mistake to bring a woman as good-looking as Analise into your home if you have an impressionable husband or boyfriend who might be corrupted by her snooty French sex appeal and fantastic willowy body. And her sexy French accent would charm the birds right down from the trees, and they'd all have raging erections, lol.

I like the two downstairs neighbours too, the nosy old biddy with the blonde bouffant 'do' (played by the actress who portrayed ballsy EastEnders matriarch Lou Beale) and the janitor Mr. Knight who, if I'm not mistaken, has a framed photo of Josef Stalin in his kitchen. Dunno what to say about that, really.

It's just an odd thing to have in your kitchen so it kind of stood out. I mean, Nazi memorabilia is one thing but Uncle Joe? Christ on a bike. Lol, I'm only kidding. I don't own any Nazi memorabilia. That box of SS uniforms and assorted gew-gaws was actually an inheritance, I'll have you know, from a distant great-great-uncle in Brazil. I hardly ever even put them on any more.

XTRO has a smashing electronic score and a terrific sense of fun about it. I loved the ending too, although it might interest you guys to know that there are in fact two endings, and the fabulous Limited Edition Box-set from SECOND SIGHT FILMS features both. 

The box-set is available to buy now with a ton of brilliant extra features and, if you like your retro sci-fi horror flicks good 'n' gory, you'll love, love, LOVE this. Remember though, the first few rows will get goo on them. I guarantee it...

Xtro: Limited Edition Box Set lands in the UK for the first time on Blu-ray in June 2018 courtesy of SECOND SIGHT FILMS!




AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com










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