John’s Horror Corner: Mutilations (1986), a 70-minute B-movie with a Claymation Gorn alien monster.
MY CALL: Boring, boring, and more boring–not even really “so bad it’s good.” The best part of this movie was its silly Claymation, and they overplayed it so much that it became more annoying than entertaining. Hard fail. MORE MOVIES LIKE Mutilations: Alien Predators (1985). Or even Q: The Winged Serpent (1982) comes to mind just for the cheap claymation.
So why am I watching this? I had never heard of it. No one had recommended it. And that is the reason. I could say the same for the quite obscure Nightwish (1990) or The Night Feeder (1988) which, however poor and boring, did have a most bizarrely interesting payoff in the end with a tentacle-tongued brain-sucking mutant baby—not that I’d recommend it. These are the often somewhat regrettable films that I just can’t help myself but to need to see from time to time. And this is another one…
We open with an astronomy professor explaining the basics of the thousands of stars visible during an evening class trip with his students, of one which asks if any of those distant “specs” (i.e., the stars) could have life on them. The answer is NO. A burning star (i.e., a SUN) would fry any lifeform! The planets that we cannot see, however, do have a shot at housing life. Next question. LOL.
The same night, using the light from his hobo garbage fire, a vagrant reads in the newspaper about recent cattle mutilations as a meteor is revealed to actually be a UFO. About as casually as approaching the new neighbors across the street, he casually approach the spaceship to meet a slimy-clawed reptilian alien—a more menacing Gorn (Star Trek) monster really.
Our astronomy class takes a trip out to the remote area where some “lights in the sky” sightings have been made and cattle have been mutilated. They find the most terribly (yet hilariously) mutilated Claymation steer. It’s pretty poor, and you can actually “see” the green screen separating the actors from the flayed-inside-out steer as it thrashes. It’s pretty goofy.
Speaking of not taking this at all seriously, our professor uses phrases like “conduct legitimate scientific research” when he really means “gaze at the sky” with his students, and he identifies his job title, specialty and institution to basically everyone he meets. In fact, almost all dialogue in this movie is exposition, and often needless.
The effects are pretty entertaining (even if dumb). A victim is strangled and his head shrivels and transforms into a sloppy gory mess. The finale includes some tentacle-armed Claymation aliens (looking like the Gorn and Brundlefly had a baby) against green-screened students armed with harpoons and flashlights. And, of course, there was that Claymation steer.
Officially listed at 1:07:30 (67.5 minutes), there were 2.5 minutes of opening credits with no scenes taking place in the background—just empty space and theme music—and the closing credits begin at 1:05:00, leaving this haphazard film barely over 60 minutes. Although that might be something of a blessing considering how boring it is.
This 60-minute B-movie was written, directed and produced by one-and-done filmmaker Larry Thomas (no other credits) and stars almost entirely actors who had never been in anything else, nor would they ever. The acting is on the verge of robotic, like they were reading cue cards completely unrehearsed and limiting the filming to single takes.
As much as the Claymation scenes made me smile, they were overused and often repeated the same footage several times. And as silly as the premise was, the movie was too boring to really embrace its badness. It was almost as if they were trying to make a “real movie” on a shoestring budget and an inexperienced cast, rather than realizing what this truly was and running with it.
Just terrible. I recommend this to no one unless you have a group of friends and a case of beer.