DirectorFred Olen Ray
Release Date(s)1989 (June 13, 2017)
Studio(s)Orion Pictures/MGM/20th Century Fox (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: D+
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: C-
When an alien criminal is about to be executed for his crimes, he manages to escape to Earth, but it’s not long before his aggressors send a murderous and hulking fembot after him. Caught in the middle are a group of teenagers and a forest ranger, fighting to stop the fembot before it kills them all. An attempt at remaking The Astounding She-Monster while at the same time taking elements from Aliens, Predator, Star Wars, Critters, and The Terminator, Alienator hits it out of the park for being one of schlockiest films of its time.
To be perfectly honest, the first time that I saw Alienator, I didn’t care for it. I hadn’t yet acquired a taste for good/bad movies, especially something this intense. Fred Olen Ray is one of the reigning kings of schlock, and this is one of his more prominent films in that category. After all, having Jan-Michael Vincent and John Phillip Law together is just too much for one movie. Other familiar faces include Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’s P.J. Soles, Day of the Dead’s Joe Pilato, and The Hideous Sun Demon’s Robert Clarke. The aforementioned killer mechanized lady is portrayed by Bodybuilder Teagan Clive, who made a brief career out of playing bodybuilders in films like Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Horrible dialogue and performances mixed with cheesy special effects, costumes, and sets make Alienator a film that you might have to see more than once to get the full effect from.
For Scream Factory’s Blu-ray upgrade of a title that Shout! Factory previously released on DVD, it’s reasonable to assume that this is an older transfer. That said, it’s still a good one. It’s certainly the best that the film has looked on home video, that’s for sure. There are higher levels of detail than before, while retaining a slightly soft look, particularly due to some of the opticals. Grain levels are decent for the most part and color reproduction is surprisingly good, especially skin tones. Black levels are never fully deep as they tend to carry a bit of built-in crush, but are fairly solid outside of that. Brightness and contrast levels are ok, but maybe a tad too dark in places. Leftover damage is minimal, which means there are some lines and speckling to contend with. For the audio, an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD track has been included. It surprisingly has a little more life to it than most mono tracks, particularly when it comes to the sound effects. Dialogue is usually clean and clear and the ever-present synth score has some mild weight to it. Subtitles are included in English, as well as a brand new audio commentary with director Fred Olen Ray, nearly an hour’s worth of vintage behind-the-scenes footage, and the film’s trailer.
Written by Paul Garson, who also wrote one other movie for Fred Olen Ray called Cyclone, Alienator is a trash film, but fun trash that genre fans will dig with a room full of people with beers in their hands. Scream Factory releasing the film on Blu-ray may not be an obvious choice, but it’s a nice high definition upgrade regardless.
- Tim Salmons