Creature (1985)

Creature (1985), written and directed by William Malone.

Aka Titan Find.

Those alien relics are a quarter of a million years old, right? Nothing inside the glass capsules can be alive, of course not. Then it is certainly ok to shine a light inside and sit on one for a photograph... Oh, no, that was a mistake. Sorry, Fred. Now something is loose and it is just awful. Maybe they can kill it with electricity, but remember kids: they always jump one more time!

We paid money to see this back then and it played in the really nice Cinerama theater that hosted all the big SF spectacles of the era. SF-horror films -- even cheezy low budget ripoffs -- were really big for a few years after Alien (1979).

Anyway, we laughed and laughed, imagining a phone call from one of the actresses: "Mom, Dad? I got the part! ... No it's not porn... I do have to run around naked on a poison gas planet and have my brains sucked out, but it is a good role. Not like that exploding head guy."

Still, I think it was a cut above the typical Roger Corman homage to splatterific alien menaces and I wanted to see it again. Problem: it never had a proper home video release. I've got a cropped 1.33 version in one of those economy SF packs, but this is a scope ratio film.

Googling around, I found the strangest story. I don't know if it is all true, but this is what I read: frustrated by the lack of a proper DVD release, the director used his personal print to produce his own bootleg DVD and was planning a Blu-ray release when the studio shut him down. Only a few discs made it into the wild where they command high prices.

A director's bootleg: that's weird. Still, you can understand MGM's reasoning: the DVD era is only 20 years old and they still might want to make some nickels on this obscure catalog title. Someday, when they get around to it.

I found a suspiciously cheap copy on ebay: $14.99 opening bid plus $5 shipping from Brazil. Brand new, still in shrink wrap. Ok, let's try it. As the only bidder, I won it!

As I suspected, it is a bootleg of the bootleg:

At least he used quality Taiyo Yuden media, unless the the media code is also phony, which happens. The content is complete with correct aspect ratio, all extras and director's commentary.

Quality suffers from the recompression: I see macroblocking in dark scenes and the intermittent gridded or graph-paper overlay you see when squeezing video too hard.

And yet: I am tickled to have it. If you want your own, check ebay for "Titan Find DVD", the seller from Brazil. You might PM him an offer if you don't want to sit through an auction. He always has more.

Notes:

The director provides a commentary track both fond and rueful, saying:

http://watershade.net/public/creature.jpg