Friday, December 24, 2010

A Creature Called Camp

I didn’t know that William Malone was making movies back in the 80s, so you could imagine how stunned I was when I found out he directed Creature of 1985. The film is about an alien that is loose in a space colony and it’s up to a group of scientists to try to incapacitate it. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Alien that hunts it’s victims throughout a spaceship and a space colony… I think I saw that once but I thought it was called Alien or Aliens. But lets just say that Creature is a ripoff of Alien, but then Alien is a ripoff of It: Terror From Beyond Space, that would mean that Creature is literally a 50s sci-fi b-movie made in the 80s. That doesn’t mean it’s a b-movie because it was low budget but rather the film uses the same style clothing, props and set pieces as b-movies did back in the 50s. Let me explain a little more clearly.

The set design looks like it was reused from Planet of the Vampires; there are walls inside the spaceship filled with buttons, flashing lights and levers that do absolutely nothing. There are computer panels that don’t seem to be useful in anything they do and the walls are so blandly white and unappealing that they seem like they came from a Star Wars movie. All of this is fine but it’s weird because I feel like I should be watching this in black and white and not in color.

What I love even more, which adds to the films over campy 50s throwback are the costumes and the props. Everybody is walking around in clothes that you can find in any given Goodwill store: great flannel pants, white t-shirts, jeans and sports jackets. It’s as if the actors knew they were in a movie set in the future but didn’t care to dress for the roles. Than again, Alien does the same thing. The props, or the guns, in this movie look like toy guns in which the characters wield it around carelessly like they would in some forgotten Ed Wood movie. Even the guns look so generic and so cartoony that they don’t even look like they work or hold weight.

None of these aspects make me hate the movie because like I said, Alien had the same thing but what made this film even campier, or should I say added to the camp, was the poor direction and the terrible acting. These things with the production design turned this film into something that looks like it was literally made in 1953 on the back lot of a major studio. I wasn’t necessarily prepared for this so I ended up disliking the film but maybe if I watch it again with cheese in my eyes, I might like it. It certainly isn’t bad for one of Malone’s first films.

Also, coincidence?


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