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Leviathan is one of my favorite bad movies. You know how one studio develops a movie around a subject and another makes a remarkably similar movie to cash in.. well 1989 was the year of the underwater sci-fi/action/monster movie, when I believe 4 such movies were released and two the following year.

 

What sets Leviathan apart is it's wholesale ripping off of Alien and The Thing to create it's plot and monster.

 

The plot revolves around a deep sea mining crew who stumble across a derelict ship with holes ripped in it and when investigated they bring something back something that first infects and then hunts the trapped crew.

 

The crew mirrors Alien right down to the engineers, one white and one black, who complain about completion bonuses. They also have two females, one of whom strips to white undies in a small shower stall, and a tough male leader but interestingly no android or Jonesy!

 

The base interior is also Alien on a budget: dank pipe laden corridors, crisp lit futuristic medical bay, white panneled communal living areas.

 

Interestingly one crew member tries an escape hatch escape that mirrors the attempt to blow the alien out of a hatch in the novelization of Alien.

 

To spice things up they replace the Xenomorph with a 'The Thing' like monster, complete with body melding scenes and distorted body parts. They fear the monster is inside them even though they mostly trust each other, also they discover that human dead does not equal creature dead.

 

Hudson, Crenna & Weller predictably provide good performances and keep the plot going and well enough to make an enjoyable action/horror story. The effects are pretty decent and the monster effects work despite being pretty static when Alien and The Thing were anything but.

 

Watched in the light of two of the finest monster movies ever made the theft of ideas is staggering and fun to spot the pilfered elements so shamelessly used.

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I looked this up on Netflix and Hector Elizondo AND Daniel Stern are also in it. Holy 80s and 90s character actor parade! I will have to see this.

 

Have you seen Roger Corman's 'Galaxy of Terror'? It's another 'Alien' ripoff, but made earlier in the 80s and falls precisely at the meeting place between "delightfully cheesy" and "horrible alien rape." It also has Sid Haig and Ray "My Favorite Martian" Walston in it. In short, I love it. It's also notable as one of James "Batshit Insane Egomaniac" Cameron's early films, where he served as a production designer and second unit director.

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This is creepy! I am watching Galaxy of Terror right this second.. the credits are rolling as i opened the page!

 

It was one of my first horror movies, a mate from school rented it for his birthday party on Betamax.. we watched in a dark room after games and cake and it freaked us all out!

 

A few years back i hunted it out as i could recall so much of the plot (maggot attack, shard under the skin, alien hands from under a walkway, tunnel veins attack) so much stuck with me. I even recall joking that was it one two-armed alien under the walkway or two one-armed ones. The sets were amazing for the budget, taking Alien as a massive reference but i loved how they mostly avoided ripping off the story and plot as Leviathan did. I had no idea who Sid Haig was back then nor that the marvelous Mr Englund was in it.

 

:) thats so cool that you mention the very film i was watching. :)

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That is rather serendipitous! I only watched it for the first time a few months ago, and yes, I did get a kick out of seeing Mr. Englund in a non-Freddy role, especially one so different from the one he is known for. I find it interesting how you found it years ago on Betamax, which contrasts with my viewing experience. So many of these word-of-mouth type movies are seen by film fans at different stages of their lives/fandom and I'm always curious as to how different ages view a certain movie. Certainly I'd view Alien differently now if I were seeing it for the first time.

 

A lot of second-tier (and lower) horror/sci-fi movies have to take major cues from bigger or more successful films just to get financing, let alone seen. 'Galaxy of Terror' is an example, I think, of Roger Corman bringing his expertise to bear to create (or at least shepherd) something that stands on its own despite blatantly ripping off something else. It looks way better than its budget, has great performances, and is ridiculous enough to be enjoyable. It's no 'The Shining,' but I'm also a fan of stuff like Hammer films and cheesy 80s actioners, so this, and apparently 'Leviathan,' is right up my alley. Thanks for the recommendation.

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Yeah watching a pretty intense horror film, for 1981, at a friends birthday party was pretty crazy.. I recall I rented First Blood Part 1 for one of my parties and they certainly colour how you view those movies in later years. It was so random a choice and one that years later would be so neat because of how those actors careers went.

 

I have no problem with parody and inspiration (it's amazing how Alien & Blade Runner coloured virtually every movie in their respective genres and so many other cross over movies), it's the wholesale stealing of material that amuses me. Galaxy uses so many elements but adds so much and how it uses clever 'cheap' tricks to fill out the rest and is just so great to watch as it twists and invents as much as it apes.

 

I feel almost sorry for those who didn't get to see Alien at the time when it was released, as they missed the viseral experience of the chestburster at a time when it was like nothing else seen before. I've found it really interesting how people who reviewed the recent The Thing prequel then saw the original and how confused their reviews are.. they kinda like new one, then see the older film and are instantly more impressed by the tie ups and view the whole thing in a new light but still prefer the effects of the new movie, something that is incomprehensible to me as digital effects instantly remind me i'm watching something computer rendered.

 

Corman had a genius for that lo-fi approach it's a shame that modern companies like The Asylum have a similar approach but just so blatant and without that inventive touch, they use crappy cgi instead of simple practical effects that take a little effort for a lot of pay off.

 

Love the old Hammer Horror movies.. here's another coincidence I'd had recently have you seen "The Tingler" with Vincent Price? I rewatched that a few days ago and randomly it's been name checked twice since, most amusingly by John Waters in a monologue i'd not seen before.

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I feel almost sorry for those who didn't get to see Alien at the time when it was released, as they missed the viseral experience of the chestburster at a time when it was like nothing else seen before. I've found it really interesting how people who reviewed the recent The Thing prequel then saw the original and how confused their reviews are.. they kinda like new one, then see the older film and are instantly more impressed by the tie ups and view the whole thing in a new light but still prefer the effects of the new movie, something that is incomprehensible to me as digital effects instantly remind me i'm watching something computer rendered.

 

*late reply is late*

 

I've actually thought about 'Alien' in that context a lot. I mean, I'm young enough to have seen 'Spaceballs' on video before I saw 'Alien.' Now, while I obviously saw Star Wars before the Mel Brooks parody, there's still that scene where they parody the chestburster from 'Alien.' So for me, when I did see 'Alien' for the first time, it was impossible to recreate the visceral and emotional impact of so much of the movie for people who saw it in theaters. I mean, even the visual designs by HR Giger were familiar to me since they were so much a part of pop culture, while to people who saw them in theaters, they were new and fascinating and disgustingly beautiful.

 

I have yet to see 'The TIngler,' but giving my affection for schlock and my UNDYING LOVE for Vincent Price, I've been meaning to for some time.

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It's a funny world, growing older certainly gives movies a whole new light and context.. I can't quiet imagine how a child of the 90's views an insanely 80's movie (Mannequin, Short Circuit, Splash, Bill & Ted, etc) and how they relate to the bizarre hair-do's and shoulder-pads. You can appreciate a film from any era but the 80's seemed so heavily focused on style that many suffer from not being timeless.

 

The Spaceballs scene made me laugh so hard.. the Starwars gags were all more than decent enough but the Alien bit was just so unexpected and to make such a light jape on such a hard hitting sequence was inspired.. In many ways seeing an inspirational film made decades ago for the first time must suffer from all the homage and parody that that has gone since, I can't imagine The Sixth Sense has the same impact now as the twist plot is now so rote and expected, even if it's not already been spoiled for you by knowing the director's proclivities or the endless pop-culture references to it.

 

Of course since Aliens everyone is very familiar with the Alien's look which was another thing Scott was so careful and clever to hide. I often think when a new movie comes out if it's monster is shown bright n clear on the DVD case it's saying "look how cool this is.. this is the best thing about the movie" and there they are spoilering it for themselves.

 

The genius of Giger's art was that it was so nightmarishly (literally) otherworldly and how they realized that work on film was a miracle in itself. I've been trying to avoid reading and viewing too much of Prometheus not to spoiler the movie for myself but I've noted that many unused ideas and concept art of his is being recycled for the new film in what appears to be very interesting ways compared to the original intent.

 

I'm not sure if The Tingler is out of copyright or not.. I believe its available to view online freely and it's one i'd love to have on DVD, it used to get played all the time on TV years back but not recently.

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Just watched on tubitv-- you guys have to do this one! The sight of Peter Weller punching Meg Foster in the face, and the way she goes down, is priceless.

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