Creature aka The Titan Find – USA, 1985 – overview and reviews

 
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‘Where space ends… hell begins’

Creature – aka The Titan Find and Titan Find – is a 1985 American science fiction horror feature film directed by William Malone (Parasomnia; feardotcom; House on Haunted HillScared to Death) from a screenplay co-written with Alan Reed. The Trans World Entertainment (TWE) production stars Stan Ivar, Wendy Schaal, Lyman Ward, Robert Jaffe, Diane Salinger and Klaus Kinski.

This is one of the more well-known movies that is heavily derived from the 1979 film Alien. Ironically, it features early special effects work by Robert and Dennis Skotak, who would go on to design the special effects for Aliens (1985).

The soundtrack score was composed by Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker (Syngenor; 976-EVIL; Alien Predator; Scared to Death).

Plot:

A team of astronauts encounter a vicious alien creature that has the ability to manipulate its victims after death on the isolated Titan lunar base…

Review:

Accept that Creature will be a low-budget Xerox of Alien, bereft of original ideas or inspiration, and one may glean bits of sci-fi/horror thrills out it. With the same amount of energy used in the suspension of expectation, you can skip watching the thing entirely and spend time doing something else more productive. Your choice.

The setting is sometime in humanity’s spacegoing tomorrow (but we do know via subtitle that it is “April”; thanks for that). Two competing companies rival each other for space-travel wealth, the American NTI and the “West German” Richter Corporation (soooo… in the future the Soviets will rise again and Germany will be divided once more? Now that’s a premise worth making a movie out of!). On the craggy Titan, a moon of Jupiter, NTI astronauts have found – well, given poor visibility you sort of have to take it on faith – loads of alien artefacts, 200,000 years old, containers with “specimen” creatures in them.

At least one of the toothy specimens is still alive. Infected by it, the expedition violently self-destructs, but MTI sends a followup team. Crippling their vessel in a hard landing, the Americans are chagrinned to see a Richter ship got there first. Except for a lurking loon named Hofner (Klaus Kinski), the Germans were all killed by the malevolent specimen creature’s influence. The ill-glimpsed monster can put parasitic organisms on its victims that turn them into remote-control zombies, further able to lure the humans to their doom.

Director William Malone films most all the Titan material in deep shadows, ill-lit corridors and lightning flashes; it certainly economised on set-building and production design but (almost by accident) does set the mood for some elementally disturbing stuff with the undead and their tearaway faces). One grindhouse-terror moment which raises a few goosebumps in spite of the banality is actress Marie Laurin, as a freshly zombified type, shedding her spacesuit to become a nude temptress in the Titanian non-atmosphere stated to be minus-77 degrees Fahrenheit.

That’s kind of spooky, although later, characters seem to forget the climate and walk around without their helmets, unaffected. So can’t award the filmmakers too much credit. And people in this picture are of the stupid-slasher-movies-of-the-1980s variety, easy pickings for the monster, revealed as an ungainly thing, sort of a moray eel on a tubby saurian body. Like a mad slasher, it keeps coming back for multiple anticlimaxes.

Even with Kinski around for a few scenes, the script often hardly seems to want to try. Heroine Wendy Schaal (later a notable cartoon voiceover comic actress) provides an idea to battle the monster by literally citing The Thing from Another World (1951), describing its vintage space threat as an “alien carrot,” which might raise a smile for fan-magazine readers but certainly costs this movie what little respect it earned.

Completing the Alien wannabe status is an Amazonian Sigourney Weaver clone, played by Diane Salinger (a forceful actress often underutilised, who never really got her due), as a female elite commando along on the expedition. Her severe, nonspeaking demeanour sets us up to expect her to turn out a bad-ass android. But the character is just a weak joke in the end. Quite possibly the only part of Creature viewers won’t see coming.

Charles Cassady Jr. – MOVIES and MANIA

Cast and characters:

  • Stan Ivar … Mike Davison
  • Wendy Schaal … Beth Sladen
  • Lyman Ward … David Perkins
  • Robert Jaffe … Jon Fennel
  • Diane Salinger … Melanie Bryce
  • Annette McCarthy … Doctor Wendy H. Oliver
  • Marie Laurin … Susan Delambre
  • Klaus Kinski … Hans Rudy Hofner
  • John Stinson … Astronaut #1
  • Jim McKeny … Astronaut #2
  • Buckley Norris … Concord technician #1
  • Michael Griswold … Concord Technician #2
  • David Moses … Mission Coordinator
  • Earle Dugan … Technician
  • Thomas C. James … Technician
  • Eileen Seeley … Voice-over Loudspeaker – Concord (voice)
  • Jeff Solomon … Creature Player (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Technical details:

97 minutes
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)

Trivia:

Sometime after the film’s release, Creature fell into the public domain and therefore received numerous VHS and DVD releases.

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