Director: Harry Bromley Davenport
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Deadbeat father and alien rapist returns! Declares snake eggs delicious! Xtro! Xtro!
Read all about it!
Tony and his daddy are having a jolly good time at their English cottage after mummy goes out for a drive. Just Tony and dear old daddy playing fetch in the yard with the family dog. Father, son, dog: the perfect day. Then some nasty alien light comes down and breaks up all the fun by stealing away Tony's daddy for three years. Oh, poo! Tony's mommy remarries an American photographer and hires a ridiculously hot French nanny, but Tony just wants his daddy back. Well, he's in luck. Tony's daddy soon returns for his son, but now his daddy is a creepy looking alien with a very graphic and perverse method of metamorphosis. Yay! Daddy's home!
Xtro is a low-budget British horror film that is without a doubt one of the weirdest and strangest schlock sci-fi horror films I've ever seen. It doesn't make a lick of sense but has almost everything I'm looking for in cheesy and shocking VHS gems. The only downside is that it's complete garbage as a story.
Rating: 2.5/ 5 Evil Midget Clowns
IS IT SHOCKING
Xtro is most infamous for an early scene in which Tony's father, Sam (Philip Sayer), returns to Earth as a very changed man. In fact, we come to learn that he's now an alien prowling around in the woods.
I bring you love!
Oh no, not that kind of alien. The Xtro-terrestrial forces that kidnapped Sam have returned him as something very far from human. Think less Close Encounters and more Naked Lunch.
Hoo-ee! That's the biggest dang-gum cricket I ever saw!
When glanced from just off-screen and in the dark, the simple backwards proportions of the alien are actually quite effective for shock value. Up close, however, the thing looks plainly silly. The alien, thankfully, is not the shocking part of this film. The real shock comes from how it transforms back into a shape that Tony will recognize as his sweet, sweet Daddy. I get that he needs to look human. You don't want to reunite with your kid when you look like a freaky mud bug from space. What I can't get behind is his method.
The alien finds a woman in her home and knocks her to the floor. Then a seam on its underbelly opens to reveal an erect, snaking appendage that forces itself into the woman's mouth.
Maybe they should have called it XXXtro?
This alien member then begins to writhe and pump something assuredly horrible down her throat while the creature rears back in an almost orgasmic display. Even if the alien were pumping ice cream into her, there's no way this scene isn't completely nasty.
Ever wanted to see an alien's "O" face? You're welcome.
The creature then dies and becomes a rotten husk for the dogs to pick at. But we're not done yet. Oh no, you don't get to be called Xtro just for that. You need something Xtro gross and Xtro horrifying. So, the poor alien rape victim wakes up pregnant and goes into immediate labor. She falls to the floor, legs spread, and....well...
Let's recap. We just saw an alien rape a woman and force her to give birth to its human form. A FULL GROWN MAN! WHO BITES OFF THE UMBILICAL CORD. With that little scene, we're off to the races for a film that will never be as shocking as what we've just witnessed but nevertheless will turn out to amuse and totally confuse the hell out of you. When the film was released, even the ad campaign for the film made it clear that the film wasn't going to get any better than its freaky alien-on-human acts, but let's continue on and see what Xtro wonders and horrors this film has in store.
Perhaps because of the gruesome birthing scene, the filmmakers found it necessary to cast the incredibly hot Maryam d'Abo as Analise, Tony's French live-in nanny. She's shown fully nude in approximately 80% of her scenes. Her character is unnecessary. Yes, her role is exploitative. But she's very welcome eye bleach in compensation for the unremitting trauma caused by the birthing sequence.
Vive la France!
Fun fact: Maryam d'Abo would secure her place as a Bond girl in The Living Daylights (1987) opposite Timothy Dalton.
Despite its gross-out moments, Xtro is quite silly. After Tony catches Sam eating snake eggs ("I need them"), Sam confides in his son (a very annoying Simon Nash) that he wants Tony to become an alien too. Sam gives his son a weird hickey on his shoulder and confers on his son the alien ability to alter reality with his mind. Huh?
Even sillier than these unexplained plot contrivances is the film's score. What do you think of when you imagine listening to a bleak alien horror movie? Probably not the inept tones of synthetic pan flutes that Xtro offers up. Even though the film's not really scary, the music doesn't help by shoving plodding yet flowery one-note tracks that sound like they were made on an old Casio. Apparently, Xtro almost got listed as a Video Nasty in 1980s but never got slapped with the ban. I don't know why: the music is certainly offensive enough
IS IT SURREAL?
After Tony is given the power to shape reality, we jump from an alien body horror film into a weird cross of Carrie and The Omen. Tony's a petty child, so he uses his new-found abilities to conjure up a creepy little clown to cause mischief. Among other nightmare weirdness, Tony gets revenge on his downstairs neighbor by sending her a giant action figure to kill her with a bayonet. This scene is a classic one because the actor in the "action figure" doll mask doesn't phone it in his performance. He does such a convincing robot pantomime that I really felt he was a giant killer doll. Although he never says a word, the doll man is probably the best actor in the whole film
You don't have to be on acid to watch Xtro but it helps.
So, what more can I say about Xtro? It's Xtro weird. Xtro gross. Xtro cheesy. As a film and story, it's rubbish. As an experience into the weirdness and boundary-pushing efforts of low-budget VHS horror, especially in the very limited output of horror from the UK, Xtro is worth a curious glance.