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John’s Horror Corner: Dead Space (1991), yet another silly Alien/s rip-off… but starring Bryan Cranston.

January 21, 2023

MY CALL: There are a lot of video-era Alien rip-offs out there… and this is among the more entertaining and at least moderately budgeted among them. We also have a decent cast and a lot of screen time for our monster. So this is a recommendation for anyone looking for a solidly enjoyable bad movie. MORE MOVIES LIKE Dead Space: For more low budget Alien/Aliens (1979/1986) rip-offs, check out Contamination (1980; aka Alien Contamination), Alien 2: On Earth (1980), Scared to Death (1980; aka Syngenor), Galaxy of Terror (1981), Forbidden World (1982; aka Mutant), Inseminoid (1982; aka Horror Planet), Parasite (1982), Biohazard (1985), Creature (1985; aka Titan Find), Star Crystal (1986), Creepazoids (1987), Blue Monkey (1987), Nightflyers (1987), Deep Space (1988), Transformations (1988; aka Alien Transformations), The Terror Within (1989), Shocking Dark (1989; aka Terminator 2, aka Aliennators), The Rift (1990), Syngenor (1990), Xtro 2: The Second Encounter (1991) and Zombies: The Beginning (2007).

Commander Krieger (Marc Singer; House Hunting, V, Beastmaster 1-3, Watchers II), as glistening and jacked as a middle-aged underwear model, awakens in his sleep pod to respond to a distress signal. So Krieger and his droid companion set a course for Phaebon to check on the distressed scientists.

Geneticist Dr. Salinger (Laura Mae Tate; Subspecies), bacteriologist Dr. Darden (Bryan Cranston; Godzilla, Total Recall) and Dr. Stote (Judith Chapman; Scalpel) have been working on a cure for an incredibly deadly virus. But to do so, they created an even more deadly virus to kill the incredibly deadly virus. In doing so, their even more deadly virus managed to create some sort of lifeform which breaks free from its containment and enters a human host up her nostril. After the facebugger-esque rip-off phase, we see a chestburster-like life stage emerge from her gory thorax and escape into the air vents. Again, this multicellular monster with a highly evolved and specialized metamorphosis was created from a virus. Because science!

So now, like in Alien/s (1979, 1986), the crew must hunt this rubber bug-lizard monster down. It’s the size of Frenchie and when it attacks the victim violently shakes the rubber creature to simulate its movement and attack. You know, classic B-movie techniques. Of course it grows, and it is as glorious as bad movie monsters get. Looking like a slimy dragon with insectoid limbs, this reptilian mantis thing continues to attack the crew in as clumsy a manner as one could imagine.

Eventually, the aberration is covered in web, perhaps meant to be the forming of a chrysalis or something, and it totally bites and rips of Darden’s head on-screen, which is way more ambitious than I’d expect from a movie like this! The special effects are a joy to observe as spaceships shooting laser blasters fly by a space station, a scientist’s melted face is gorily displayed, a scene after scene of giant rubber monster attacks.

I had read that this was just a cheap remake of Forbidden World (1982), which was also a cheap rip of Alien/s (1979, 1986). But the monster here looks way better. We see a lot of it, and we see it frequently. So as far as B-movies go, the pacing is actually pretty engaging.

I mean, was this movie awesome? No. But it ranks around the middle ground in terms of cheap Alien rip-offs. And I’d know. I’ve covered a LOT of them here.

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