SciFi

Without Warning 1980

NO CHANCE! NO HELP! NO ESCAPE! I hadn’t seen this masterpiece of unintentional humor in almost three decades (that’s right, I’m a time traveler!). Still as ri-goddam-diculous as I remembered, this film is made great by subtle, tempered performances by Jack Palance and – especially – Martin Landau. All kidding aside, in their collect-a-paycheck leading roles, these two hog the screen, hamming it up as a world weary hunter (Palance) and a paranoid ex-soldier (Landau, who steals the show as the unforgettable ‘Sarge’, delivering his lines with a wild-eyed abandon, including the ominous quote in caps that opens this post).

Their nemesis is a stealthy alien, who elusively haunts their rural lake community, hunting and collecting the locals as prey and food. This hilarious horror/sci-fi classic has elements that predate ‘Predator’ (sorry about that), but it truly serves as a template for the low budget SyFy Channel Originals that are occasionally good for a laugh. This flick has a fuckload of laughs, mainly delivered by the aforementioned actors, but also by a group of youthful travelers unwisely camping by the alien-infested lake, including a young David Caruso.

Their presence taps into the familiar trappings of a slasher film, with the mysterious alien (who ends up looking like a reject from the original Star Trek) stalking them like Jason Voorhees in the woods. With a laughable originality, he dispatches them by throwing fleshy discs that sprout skin-penetrating fangs and tentacles after attaching to their victims.

Predictably, most of these kids, as well as the entertaining ‘Sarge’, meet their end in the deadly game of frisbee golf played by the alien. One of the kids – a cute, braided girl who mainly wears a red bikini sometimes covered by a flannel shirt – survives and reluctantly teams up with Palance’s hunter to dramatically take out the menace.

This film isn’t available in DVD, and I was pretty fucking happy to find it on the MGM Movie Channel a few months ago. I watched this film countless times one Summer many moons ago on a friend’s hijacked cable. I hope those reading this get to catch this classic (no, I’m not joking) just once.

Rating: Mandatory!

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