SINFUL CINEMA: “ALIEN 2: ON EARTH” (1980)
ALIEN 2: ON EARTH (1980)
Starring Belinda Mayne, Mord Bodin and Roberto Barrese
Written and directed by Ciro Ippolito
Italian knock-offs of Hollywood hits were a rampant phenomenon in the 1970s. Perhaps the most successful example artistically was Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1978). Released as Zombi 2, it benefitted from the Italian release of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead under the name Zombi. Similarly Alien 2: On Earth tries to piggyback off the success of Ridley Scott’s landmark 1979 hit Alien, albeit to comparatively lacklustre results.
The nearly incomprehensible Alien 2 takes place after an American space capsule has plummeted back to Earth with its astronauts strangely missing. Shortly thereafter a little girl at a beach is attacked by what appears to be a living rock. Simultaneously, cave explorer Joyce (Mayne), who we learn is telepathic, joins a group of friends on a spelunking expedition, taking with them a mysterious rock (nudge, nudge). The explorers soon start dying in icky ways after the rock explodes, unleashing creatures which have apparently come to take over humanity.
I emphasize the word ‘apparently’ because it’s hard to know what’s going on most of the time during Alien 2: On Earth. The connection between the downed space capsule and the rock creatures is never explained, nor is how the rock monster from the beach made its way inland to be discovered by Joyce’s friends. The creatures themselves amount to little more than fleshy hand puppets, and the effects, while violent, are hardly realistic. Perhaps the film’s only connection to Alien is the monster exploding out of a human body, although it’s considerably less impressive than what H.R. Giger dreamed up.
The desire to watch Alien 2 came about out nostalgia, a fondness for Italian horror, and curiosity. What would a 30-year-old Italian rip-off of Alien look like? Answer: it mostly looks like a bloody mess, if the blood looked like red paint.
New label Midnight Legacy has done a bang-up job of digitally scrubbing the film, but that old maxim about a silk purse and a sow’s ear still holds true. While Ridley Scott proved that no one in space can hear you scream, Alien 2 writer/director Ciro Ippolito proves that everyone can hear you scream when subjected to this tripe.