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John’s Horror Corner: The Terror Within (1989), yet another Alien/Aliens rip-off…pretty dumb, kind of fun

October 26, 2012

MY CALL:  Dumb plot, no shock and rare but splurty gore result in entertainingly bad, but not really the “good” kind of bad, horror that you could probably skip.  [D/D-]  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEAD:  For nonsensical monster rape and mutant alien assaults I would strongly recommend Humanoids from the Deep (1980), Contamination (1980) and Galaxy of Terror (1981).

Okay, so 99% of the population was killed in some incident that goes unexplained yet the desert appears to be rich with life.  Normally you would have to search a long time to find so much life wandering about in the heat of the sun.  Whereas two post-apocalyptic explorers find a rattlesnake and an iguana in two minutes.  This is especially interesting because iguanas aren’t found in deserts.  But, for some reason, after the viral incident…well, there they are.  We’ll call this par for the bad horror course.

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Thank God I still have hair product after the viral apocalypse!

From some sort of underground bunker command center, manned by only a few survivors, we overhear (via walkie-talkie) our two-man foraging team being killed—because, evidently, the guy not only held on to the walkie-talkie while he was being killed, but he also held down the button for outgoing communication.  Before their demise, one of them cried out “Gargoyles!”

Yup.  Gargoyles!  As if the mystery virus wasn’t enough, these mutant monsters are another reason to live below the surface.  But mutated from what?  Were humans transformed into these monsters…by the virus we keep hearing about?  It really isn’t important.

The low budget really stings during the first few monster attack scenes when we never see the monster even though the attacks take place out in the open in daylight!  Despite this “plague” that keeps the survivors living below the contaminated surface, when they do go out to look for food they wear no protective gear or masks or anything whatsoever!  The movie really gets going when our bunker survivors find a pregnant woman on the surface.  What do they do?  Bring her right into their bunker!  Just because she isn’t dying from a virus doesn’t mean that she can’t give it to everyone else!  And hey, how do they get power in that bunker?  They’re in the middle of a desert!!  WTFF is going on in this movie!?!?!

The survivors have mixed feelings about this pregnant woman.  Some take it as a sign of hope.  Others fear the addition of extra mouths to feed.  But the expecting mother is strangely not happy about it at all either.  Of course, one of the handful of survivors is a doctor, so they perform a c-section delivery and the monster baby bites the doctor’s hand and scrambles into a ventilation shaft.  Armed with a dog, a weaponized surgical laser, a flame thrower and a crossbow, they try to hunt the monstrous baby.  No guns?  Curious.  I guess they were going for more of a The Thing (1982, 2011) meets Thunderdome (1985) mash-up.

The gore is spurty-spray-y fun, but it doesn’t start until halfway through the very slow-starting movie during the baby hunt.  Overnight, if that long, the monster baby has grown from about 8 lbs to 280 lbs.  Even if something was capable of growing that fast, I’m left to wonder what it ate to pack on that linebacker mass given the fear of low rations in this bunker.  The humanoid monster looks pretty cool for 80s standards.  For some reason it has some torn flesh and a few exposed ribs, as if it was a bit zombified.  But whatever.  It’s neat and has a crazy-toothy mouth.  Clearly in an effort purely to upset me, the writers decided that the bunker crew would defeat this giant monster with a dog whistle.

This looks like some zombie behemoth straight out of a Resident Evil movie.

I was surprised that there was no nudity—this being a Roger Corman flick and all—but it was not without its share of monster rape.  With such titles as Humanoids from the Deep (1980) and Galaxy of Terror (1981), a Roger Corman horror fanpage could easily be named “Monster Rape Connoisseur” or “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Evil.”

Among the cheap-horror-seasoned cast are George Kennedy (Brain Dead, Creepshow 2), the McGuyver-haired Andrew Stevens, Starr Andreeff (Amityville Dollhouse, Ghoulies 2), Terri Treas (The Nest, House IV), John LaFayette (Fright Night Part 2, Temptress) and Tommy Hinkley (Buried Alive II, Silent Night Deadly Night 4).

As none of the actors, nor the director, writers of effects crew did well, I’d strongly suggest NOT seeing this hot mess.

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