METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR (1990) Reviews of splattery sci-fi

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Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor is an American 1990 science fiction horror film written and directed by Glenn Takajian.

Following the moderate success of 1983’s The Deadly Spawn, producer Ted A. Bohus and partner Doctor Ron Giannotto developed a sequel. However, the storyline evolved into something different.

Having a slightly larger budget than ‘Spawn’, Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor began production in an abandoned Jersey City warehouse with exterior and some interior shots in a Hackensack office building using childhood friends and New Jersey and New York City locals. Most of the principal cinematography was apparently completed in 1987 but it took a lot longer to finalise the special effects and the stop-motion in particular.

A German VHS release on 5th November 1990 marked the film’s world debut although due to some rights issues it did not get issued in the USA until 1993.

A small alien from outer space bites a bio-researcher on the hand and turns him into a monster. Its first victim is the guard at the laboratory he’s working in. The guard’s daughters are getting worried that their father hasn’t called them and they go to the lab, where they meet their worst nightmare…

“This is a downright fun movie. Cheesy goodness fun. Scientific experiments – what could possibly go wrong in a remote and classified facility… The effects are incredibly entertaining, effective, and original, and it’s sure to entertain a group gathering movie night.” Horror Habit

“The entire movie takes place in a brightly lit secret lab, meaning the constant creature effects are always fully visible! Most movies keep the monsters partially hidden until the halfway mark or even the ending, but not here. […] Acting? It’s alright, keeps the movie campy without going overboard. The cinematography? Basic, it’s what you’d expect out of a 90s direct-to-video monster flick.” Kaijuman

“I ended up liking this movie a little more than, Deadly Spawn. The effects are more accomplished, the story a little tighter while retaining just the slightest mean streak for all the potential victims. Once the movie gets through with its incessant flashbacks and settles into people fighting monsters, it keeps amplifying the threat and the set pieces in wonderful and unexpected ways.” Outpost Zeta

“Unlike most of these cheap sci-fi horrors which hid their beasts in the dark, Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor isn’t afraid to let its repulsive creature run loose in the well-lit hallways of a research lab. On the whole, this works, and the animation of the creature lurching through the halls is quite good for the era.” Rivets on the Poster

“There’s a lot of latex, here, and a lot of KY. Gore is abundant. The characters are dull, and, along with the scientific procedural, they bring the movie down. It’s the kind of movie that feels the need to antagonize capitalism and shady businessmen instead of the alien invasion, which, clearly, matters more.” Tales of Terror

” …nobody here is a particularly good actor, with much of the cast being either inexperienced or just not particularly talented enough to carry the film. Also, while there’s some gore, you aren’t going to get as much pleasing splatter as you did in The Deadly Spawn. Interestingly enough, the bigger budget actually does become a problem. Whereas the tiny budget in the prior film was part of its charm, the larger one here makes it resemble what it ultimately is: an unspectacular straight-to-video horror movie.” Talk of Horrors

“While the movie becomes an effects fest by the final third, Takakjian is to be commended for sustaining the tension all the way through. In many films, such an effects overdose can become numbing, but the director paces the action of the last few reels for maximum impact. The intensity of all the climactic monster action helps make up for the fact that the earlier dramatic scenes are rather shaky…” TV Guide

“Amateurish looking stuff seems to want to be an effects-a-thon but it’s too bad it didn’t realize just how terrible and low-grade its effects are not to mention the rotten script (which takes itself very seriously) concocted by writer/director Takakjian. In between the frequently laughable monster attacks, we get a bunch of senseless scientific mumbo jumbo and dialogue delivered by some really bad actors.” The Video Graveyard

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Cast and characters:
Matt Kulis … John Griffen
Patrick Barnes … Brian
Tara Leigh … Sherry Griffen
Dianna Flaherty … Kim Griffen
Katherine Romaine … Nancy Kane
John Marcus Powell … Doctor Viallini (as Marcus Powell)
Tony Gigante … Mitchell
Greg Sullivan … Jarrett
George Gerard … Doctor Michael Foster
Allen Lewis Rickman … Doctor Elliot Stein
Michael D’Andrea … Security Guard
Ralph Grimaldi … Viallini’s Driver
Bob Aaronson … Additional voices (voice)
Jay Mills … Additional voices (voice)
Dorielle Rogers … Talos Computer (voice)

Technical details:
98 minutes
Audio: Ultra Stereo

This film should not be confused with the 1990 Italian film Metamorphosis, directed by Luigi Montefiore (aka George Eastman).

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