Friday, September 2, 2011

Trumpy: The Extra-Terrestrial

Extra-Terrestrial Visitors(1983)
Director: Juan Piquer Simon
Cast: Ian Sera, Nina Ferrer, Susanna Bequer

The original film from one of the most infamous Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes is this obscure turkey, most seen under the title, "Pod People" which suggests something like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which this film is nothing like. Extra-Terrestrial Visitors actually began life as another hostile alien invader movie, until the producers saw the success of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial(1982) and decided to rework the plot into a story about a boy and an alien. Well, it dosen't quite work so well, as most of the film was already shot, leaving numerous onscreen deaths and a homicidal monster that looks identical to the one we are supposed to find endearing, slaying most of the cast. It's difficult to imagine this working as a children's film, let alone a horror picture, but this is what we get. The film's plot sounded interesting to me, as I was curious to see another take on the E.T. story, perhaps for comedic purposes. E.T. is one of the greatest films of all time and still is a nostalgic and beautiful fantasy that continues to inspire generations of moviegoers. It's doubtful such inspiration awaits the viewers of this film.

The film begins with a group of trappers/poachers going into a spooky gothic forest, complete with rolling fog to collect bird eggs to sell. To add to this absurdity, one of them is carrying a crossbow! A storm occurs or so it seems, as aliens land in a nearby cave, just like in any 50s sci-fi flick. One of the poachers discover a bunch of big eggs in the cave and despite the "big money" that is supposedly found in eggs, proceeds to smash them, until he is dispatched by an alien that sort of resembles a bipedal anteater.

Meanwhile, a little boy stumbles upon the cave and takes one of the eggs home, since he likes to collect things from nature. Another subplot is introduced that involves an awful pop band playing something called, "Hear the engines roll!" which sounds like something Saxon might write, except it contains neither a good guitar riff or any sense of musicality. As someone says in the recording booth, "It stinks!"
Well, the pop group also end up in the forest and the plot gets insanely convoluted for whatever reason. The poachers are barely brought in again, though they do try to capture the alien that murdered their friend, only to be dispatched themselves. The pop gang take refuge with the child's family in a creepy stone house, again looking like something out of a gothic horror film. One of their number fell off a cliff(!) because she saw the dumb alien. Good grief.

The egg the little boy brought back hatches and out comes a smaller version of the stalking alien that attacked the poachers. It grows quickly and for whatever reason, the boy calls him, "Trumpy", which my heckling friends and I kept pronouncing in a russian accent. Trumpy is meant to be a wonderous character who has magical powers and the relationship with him and the child is supposed to be touching or funny. It certainly made me laugh, though I confess, not as the producers intended. Trumpy dosen't do much besides make some things spin around in a poor man's vision of the wonder of E.T. and turns the game Simon into some techno dance machine. While all this "magic" is happening, the entire cast is being picked off one by one by Trumpy's pissed off brother(or mother?) and even has the indecency to disrupt a girl taking a shower, though sorry to say, fellas, there is no nudity. Eventually Trumpy is found out and the little boy chases him into the forest, pursued by his mom, cantankerous Uncle and the surviving couple of kids. Trumpy's evil version is shot and killed, even though the Uncle dies as well. In a heartfelt conclusion(yeah right) the child says he can't be friends with Trumpy and pushes him away, leaving the alien all alone and audiences thoroughly bewildered and confused.

Extra-Terrestrial Visitors is one of the worst movies ever made. The film is an incoherant mess of illogical plot points and dull characters. At times it resembles an early 70s Spanish horror movie with all it's creepy atmosphere and other times it looks like Friday the 13th. The addition of the subplot involving the little boy and the alien, yields little warmth and humor and actually makes the film even more lopsided, proving that this film has one plot too many. Characters are introduced and taken away at random and all the acting is abysmal, including Trumpy, though he is one silly looking creature in his own way. The name is actually kind of cute and would probably be a funny thing to name a cat or dog, as i'm sure some lunatics have already.(I'd feel sorry for the poor souls who got that reference!)
The editing is among the worst ever seen in any film and it's not clear for a large portion of the picture whether Trumpy and the other alien are actually one in the same! My best friend was viewing this with me and remarked at one point, in his inimitable deadpan style, when the little boy is looking for his friend, Trumpy, "Yeah, Trumpy the fucking murderer!"
I confess, that almost ended up being the title of this review!

The team from Mystery Science Theater 3000 have turned this into a cult classic, though in it's original form, it's one of the more obscure bad movie classics. In fact, when viewing this, it took me awhile to even connect the two, since the show had done such a wonderful job parodying this! If ever a film deserved the brickbats, this is certainly it, though it probably beats the hell out of other E.T. ripoffs like Mac and Me(1988) and Nukie(1988). In it's own awful way, this is actually entertaining and fans of bad movies the world over(God help us) would certainly have to give this a viewing. So grab some popcorn, some booze and a couple of friends and watch this yuckfest for yourself. Hell, you might even want to dust off that old copy of Simon  you got lying around.

1 comment:

  1. I just saw this movie and loved it. There should be a plush Trumpy.