THE TERROR WITHIN (1989) Reviews of Earth-bound Alien rip-off

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‘It wants to get out!’
The Terror Within is a 1989 American science fiction horror feature film directed by Thierry Notz (Watchers II) based on a screenplay written by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver (The Haunted Sea). The Roger Corman Concorde Pictures production stars George KennedyAndrew Stevens, Starr Andreeff and Terri Treas.

The mainly synth score was composed by Rick Conrad (Watchers II; Amityville: The Evil Escapes; The Nest).

Andrew Stevens wrote, directed and starred in a sequel, The Terror Within II, in 1991.

When a chemical warfare leaves the world barren and filled with mutated monsters, a band of survivors in an underground complex beneath the Mojave desert battles one of the creatures who was able to break in…

“The film has an interesting cast and an interesting story that combines elements of The Day the World Ended and Alien, but does absolutely nothing with them. Even the worst of Roger Corman’s productions aren’t guilty of boring. However, The Terror Within is guilty as charged.” Brandon C. Sites

The gargoyle monster (designed by Dean Jones) is a disappointing example of a man in a rubber suit. Granted, the climax yields harrowing chase sequences, but the script by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver remains derivative and Thierry Notz’s direction is journeyman but hardly inspired.”John Stanley, Creature Features

“It was very strange to find such a cheap and shoddy exploitation cheapie like this playing at movie theaters in the late 80s, even if it only lasted for a weekend. But it’s harmless and enjoyable enough for what it is…” Joe Lozowsky, DVD Drive-In

The Terror Within suffers from chintzy makeup work, with the body of the gargoyle an obvious rubber suit that looks like Corman borrowed it from a Humanoids from the Deep cosplayer, and some serious lapses in logic […]. But The Terror Within is a fairly solid little B-movie…” Mark Tinta, Good Efficient Butchery

“There’s a sense of that they actually understand what people want with a cheesy low budget rip-off of Alien. They don’t pretend to be arty, and gives us that gory belly-bursting. They know we want to see the monster in full light with out any silly ideas of letting it hide in the shadows of the most part of the movie.” Fred Anderson, Ninja Dixon

” …not only do the gargoyles apparently impregnate their victims (whose bodies display all the normal symptoms of pregnancy, other than its rapid progress), but abortion is offered as a “cure,” presaging Ridley Scott’s own Prometheus.” Mark Cole, Rivets on the Poster

“This flick is pretty bad, but I have to admit I have a soft spot in my heart for any movie featuring mutants with the libido of Charlie Sheen. The birth of the monster scene is a classic of its kind (it’s kinda like a cross between the chest bursting scene in Alien and the birthing scene in It’s Alive) and utilizes lots of Heinz 57.” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum

“The acting is fine if a bit over the top at times. George Kennedy of Naked Gun fame is instantly recognisable but feels almost miscast if you only know him from those films. Although this is definitely a sci-fi horror film, like Alien, it does have a bit of an early nineties action film feel and style to it.” Wight Blood


Alien (1979)

Humanoids from the Deep (1980) Human females are used by monsters for procreation.

YouTube reviews:


Choice dialogue:
Andre: “You should know by now. Nothing stops science.”

Cast and characters:
George Kennedy … Hal
Andrew Stevens … David
Starr Andreeff … Sue
Terri Treas … Linda
John Lafayette … Andre
Tommy Hinkley … Neil
Yvonne Saa … Karen
Joseph Hardin … Michael
Al Guarino … John
Jack van Landingham … Gargoyle
Joal Corso … Gargoyle #2
Butch Stevens … Butch the dog

Filming locations:
Bronson Cave, Bronson Canyon, Los Angeles, California
The Mojave Desert, California from 6th September 1988.

Technical details:
1 hour 28 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.78: 1
Audio: Stereo

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