Film Reviews:

Invasion for Flesh and Blood

(Warren F. Disbrow, US, 1996)

Crass sequel to the similarly-titled A Taste for Flesh and Blood, this extremely low-budget gore horror is supposed to be a comedy, a knowing wink to the SF b-movies of the 50s, but it's more stupid than funny. After a brief resume of the previous outing, the story drops us into familiar alien monsters on-the-loose territory. Based heavily upon the Alien films and, it seems, 80s horror shocker Night of the Demon, this camcorder epic succeeds for the first 50 minutes or so before out-staying its welcome. Director Disbrow was also responsible for the impressive (if deliberately cheesily-styled) creature costumes and splatter effects. As often happens with low-budget fan filmmaking of this kind, the effort spent on effects isn't carried over to the script, characterisation etc, etc, but provided you are in an undemanding frame of mind and have a soft spot for this kind of stuff (as I myself do), then Invasion for Flesh and Blood does have some redeaming features.

First off, I loved the alien monster design. Yeah, it's obviously a guy in a rubbery costume (and that is obviously part of the point of the film), but the actual design is gruesome and amusing. Seen standing next to a character the invaders look totally unscary and laughable, but to Disbrow's credit, when they attack the fast, jump-cut editing and copious splashing blood does convey a horrible and unsavory demise for their victims. I also liked the (probably illegal) use of some found TV footage often as establishing shots - it adds a slightly more professional feel to the production - even if it sticks out from the rest of the original footage like the proverbial sore thumb. Disbrow builds on this found footage by shooting his own TV newsreel style images which also help create a sense of a larger scale to the production. Also worthy of a special mention are some relatively impressive sets culminating in a large cave where the aliens incubate their eggs. The acting ranges from the perfectly passable to the terrible. Unfortunately, the character who lasts longest also happens to be the worst actor! Disbrow's father also appears as an elderly scientist and, whilst his performance shouldn't worry Sir John Gielgud too much, he does give it his all and delivers his lines in an entertaining manner. Aside from the above mentioned A Taste for Flesh and Blood, the director has also made Rulers of the Apocalypse - a straight, gory dinosaur movie with full-size animatronic creatures. With proof here of Disbrow's technical effects achievements, Rulers is a film I'd like to see.

Rob Dyer