Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Alien Zone (1978)

A travelling salesman leaves an evening of adulterous sex to return to his hotel.  He gets turned around, however, and ends up in the wrong place.  Seeking shelter from the rain, he's taken in by a friendly mortician.

A little too friendly actually, as the fellow insists on recounting the sordid lives and deaths of the four corpses in his workroom, despite the salesman's obvious discomfort at the topic.

Yes, my faithful readers (my stats indicate there may be as many as 6 or 7 of you now!), this is an anthology film.  Unlike the gloriously awful Night Train to Terror, it doesn't appear to have been put together by cannibalising other films, but we can't have everything I guess.

So the big weakness of this movie is that three of the four anthology tales are kind of rubbish.  I mean, one of them is literally "guy murders some women, films himself doing it, and when he's caught he gets executed because of the evidence he himself recorded".  And when I say literally, I mean literally.  There's nothing more to it than that.  No twists, no character development, no much of anything.

The only one of the four that's any fun is the tale of two gifted detectives.  Their false joviality toward each other "oh ho ho, how droll that the papers ponder which of us is more brilliant" while loathing simmers beneath is quite nicely performed.  You can probably guess how it ends from just being told the set-up, but there's enough black humour and snarkiness in it that it's actually quite watchable.

As for the framing story of the adulterer, well I bet I'm not spoiling anything if I tell you he won't survive the night.  I do think that the film might be a little too obtuse about the identity of the mortician, though.  My read on him was that he was Death (which explains how he knows about events only the dead people experienced), but he could just be a rather fanciful fellow who likes to ride in ambulances.

Anyway, apart from the 10-15 minutes of detectives being snarky, this is entirely skippable, so I can't recommend it.

(And no, I have no idea why the film has the title it has; the alternate title of House of the Dead makes a lot more sense, though it's certainly not as wondrously awful as the Uwe Boll film of that name.  Which reminds me, I can do that as a weekend review now.  Yay!)

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