Dir: Harry Bromley-Davenport.
Cast: Philip Sayer, Bernice Stegers, Maryam D'Abo, Tik, Peter Mandell, Tok, Anna Wing, Simon Nash and Danny Brainin.
One dark, windy night doting dad and all round good guy Sam Phillips - no, not that one - (Sayer from the fantastic Slayground) disappears in a blaze of flashing lights (that look suspiciously like a helicopter) as a spooky synth soundtrack plays and his obscenely tight shorted wee boy Tony (Ex-Frankie Goes To Hollywood bassist Nash) looks on in horror.
Nothing like firing straight into the action.
And yes, this is nothing like that.
Anyway with the backstory done and dusted in such an intriguing manner it's time to start the plot good and proper.
And almost three years later where poor (and scarily just as little) Tony is still convinced that his dad didn't just up and leave but was abducted by 'the aliens'.
His mum, the button nosed, Uber-MiLF Rachel (Stegers from Lamberto Bava's Macabre) and her new, fashion photographer boyfriend Joe (Brainin, best remembered for his striking role as 3rd Reporter in Dreamchild. No, me neither) are a little concerned by his almost Autistic obsession but are far too busy having lots of brightly lit 80's sex to really notice.
Luckily Tony's sexy French nanny, Analise (former Bond babe D'Abo) at least listens to him occasionally, sometimes even nodding in a concerned way.
When she's also not having brightly lit 80's sex with her boyfriend or getting a milk bottle put up her arse that is.
Surprisingly tho' it looks like he may have been right in his concerns as one night a UFO lands in the local woods and a bizarro alien, looking like a man on all fours with a mask stuck on the back of his head....(oh, hang on, that's exactly what it is) disembarks and sets off across the countryside for a late night stroll, killing the first person it comes across before impregnating the poor guy's still screaming girlfriend via a slimy tube in her mouth and some mouldy Kinder Eggs.
Which, amazingly is even less tasteful than it sounds.
"Put it in me!...oh sorry, you already have".
The unfortunate lady wakes up the next morning, horribly hungover, breath smelling of Frenchman and with her make-up smudged only to discover that not only is her boyfriend dead but she's about to give birth.
To a full grown adult male.
Gah indeed Mr. Reeves.
After chewing thru his own umbilical cord followed by a quick shower, shite and shave, the reborn Sam (for it is he) heads back to his old family home for a quick catch up, much to the dismay of Rachel and Joe who've only just got over the annoyance of Tony walking in on them mid shag.
Could've been worse tho'...could've been Peter Bark playing Tony.
Talking of which (Tony that is, not Burial Ground) the boy is absolutely delighted to see his dad again, admittedly he gets a wee bit freaked out when he catches him licking ooze from his own arm but in a fantastic bit of parenting that would make Dr. Tanya proud, Sam reacts by biting his son on the shoulder before sucking a big nob shaped lump of skin out of it.
From then on it's fun all the way as young Tony discovers he too has strange alien powers.
And not all of them lumpy skin based.
First up he summons a freaky dwarf clown (soon to be an Ewok Mandell) to play with before conjuring up a panther and finally a life-sized Action Man in order to kill his nosy, pet snake killing neighbour (Eastenders Anna Wing).
Big Toy or little house?
Despite all this strangeness going on, Rachel is willing to give Sam the benefit of the doubt regarding his fantastic tale of alien abduction, anal probing and nob suckling, deciding to head back to the Welsh holiday home where the couple were staying when Sam disappeared in order to see if anything jogs his memory, leaving Joe to a weekend of tearful anger ridden wanks and a Hot N Spicy Pot Noodle and Tony in the care of Analise and her bottle fetish.
How come that never happened to me as a child?
There's no pleasing some kids tho' as Tony, now bored with his creepy dwarf, big cat and killer Action Man for company (the fool) is sitting about whining and complaining in that way that only precocious, stage school kids do, only settling down when Analise gives in to his demands for a game of hide and seek.
The rules must be different in their household tho' seeing as when I played it with my family I invariably ended up sitting in a cupboard for two weeks (once they actually went on holiday without finding me I was that good at the game) before passing out thru' dehydration because this particular version climaxes with Analise's boyfriend getting his head cracked open with a table lamp and the au-pair being knocked unconscious and cocooned in the downstairs bathroom
culminating with slimy alien eggs popping out of a hole at her feet into a bathful of green gunge.
I'm surprised Noel Edmonds never featured this on his House Party programme but seeing as it was cancelled around 40 years ago he might have and I've just forgotten.
Nightmarish, repulsive yet oh so slightly sexy.
Joe meanwhile has a suspicion that the trail of dead bodies/impregnated women/giant toys that have appeared around the house at random intervals since Sam's return may all be linked but just as he's about to phone the police (their special alien hotline obviously) Tony turns up at his door with the excuse that Analise was wanting to shag her boyfriend without him watching so could Joe babysit for a bit?
Joe decides to take Tony up the holiday home (isn't that illegal?) and confront Sam.
Your dad and his cum face.
By this point tho' Rachel (who's not just a pretty face and smashing tits) too has an inkling that something is different about her husband.
Especially after she finds him writhing about on the bed, farting violently and shedding his skin.
Joe arrives in the nick of time to give Sam a stern talking to about family values, murdering people and misusing strangers wombs but just as he starts pointing his finger in a stern manner, Sam (or the Samalien as we call him in our house) shouts at him with his powerful 'space scream', killing poor Joe stone dead before taking Tony by the hand and returning to outer space.
Cor blimey that was a paragraph packing climax wasn't it?
"Who's not in bed? Igglepiggle's not in bed!"
Rachel is left alone in a forest clearing to ponder the mysteries of the universe and how the hell she'll manage to explain why Analise is stuck to the bathroom wall to the employment agency.
Now you to can experience the effect of watching this scene as a small boy whilst furiously masturbating whilst your Mum cooked tea.
Jumping between shlock horror cheapies - in the nicest possible sense obviously - and low budget indie fayre like the fantastic Smile Pretty and Frozen Kiss, Harry Bromley-Davenport is one of the few, true independent British film makers working today, always colourful, always interesting and always just outside the acceptable mainstream.
And his 1983 lo-fi sci-fi shocker Xtro is no exception.
Coming across for all the world like a darkly diseased distant cousin of Ridley Scott's Alien, the movie gets under your skin and behind your eyelids, leaving you with a nasty, itchy indie rash and a salty cinematic residue in the corner of your mouth.
Which frankly I adore.
The special effects, given the movie's non-existent budget, are both ingenious and incredibly disturbing to watch, in particular the scene where the naked, reborn Sam slowly crawls out from between his 'mothers' legs covered head to toe in slime and blood whilst our first glimpse of the alien walking thru' the misty woods is a truly remarkable sight.
The basic screaming-synth (the director's own description) soundtrack gives an air of menace and other worldliness to an already unnerving film which from the start is imbued with that stark nastiness only found in the British horror film.
And like most of blighty's horror output of the time it has a cast that, although not household names (D'Abo being the exception) each adds an air of unflinching authenticity to the proceedings.
Kudos especially to the great Bernice Stegers who, to this shy timid 13 year old on it's release, show that stern teacher-types could be sexy too.
And maybe a wee bit mental.
It's all your fault Bromley-Davenport!
|Hats - and tops - off to Stegers!|
Unfortunately outside the cult movie circuit, Xtro is most notorious for being one of the only two British movie's on the infamous DPP 'video nasty' list and tho' never prosecuted is best remembered for featuring (and I quote*) "...the most uncomfortable (yet greatest) 'saucy French actress and ex Bond girl becomes an alien egg incubator' scene ever filmed."
Oh yes, and for Lou Beale being stabbed to death by an Action man.
Quite frankly Xtro is screaming out for a double bill re-release alongside Norman J Warren's equally bizarre Prey.
I'd be first in the queue.
*As said by my Nan back in the day after hiring it from Washvac Video in Coseley.