Director – Albert Pyun (Cyborg, Radioactive Dreams)
Starring – Kathy Ireland (Loaded Weapon 1, Tales from the Crypt), William R. Moses (Fantasy Island, Mystic Pizza), and Richard Haines (Survivor, Game of Vultures)
Release Date – 1988
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
When I was in high school I made the jump from VHS to DVD and started collecting every horror title I could find along with anything from the 80s. I was a huge fan of the Midnite Movies line on DVD. There was some seriously underrated horror titles in those along with the occasion oddball 80s flick. This was my first time crossing paths with Albert Pyun’s Alien from L.A.
I remember watching it a few times over the years and enjoying it but it’s nothing I would brag about to movie fans. When Vinegar Syndrome announced the blu release of this one I was on the fence. I’m not one to double dip and the fact I already had this in my Midnite Movies collection made me want to skip it. However, I also collect Vin Syn releases so in the end I had to snag it.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Wanda (Ireland) who receives a letter stating that her father was in Africa looking for the lost city of Atlantis when he fell down a bottomless pit. She visits his home in Africa to see what happened when she finds herself falling down the same pit. She soon finds herself at the center of the Earth where the Atlanteans have build an underground city. She befriends a scavenger named Gus (Moses) who agrees to take her into the city to find her father. However, the police state of the city liked to keep a lid on all things “alien” and she soon finds herself hunted down by the authorities while she is looking for her father. **Spoiler Alert**
Alien from L.A. is far from perfect and extremely flawed but it’s charming. I always find myself getting sucked into the story and the sets. It reminds me a lot of Hell Comes to Frogtown and Adventures in Dinosaur City without the rubber suits. It’s a blast if you go into it without a stick up your ass.
The acting in this one is, just like most of the film, flawed but still fun. The film is centered around Ireland’s character but she’s the only annoying aspect of the film. Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard. I don’t know what Pyun’s reasoning behind having her talk like this but it was extremely annoying. When you combine that with her “who farted” expression you get some unintentionally funny scenes. With that being said, the supporting cast is what carries the film. The cast doesn’t go above or beyond with their roles but they do create some pretty fun characters and you can tell they had a lot of fun in the role.
The story for this one is loosely based on Journey to the Center of the Earth which, coincidentally, is the title for the sequel to this one. It’s a goofy adventure film that tosses in some conspiracy theories against a backdrop of paranoia and comedy. It doesn’t overcomplicate things and has a lot of the same charm as the early 90s direct to video releases aimed for children. With that being said, a good portion of the humor misses it’s mark and the humor meant to come from Ireland falls flat with her performance. It’s a fun movie to watch on occasion but it’s not one people will obsess over.
Finally, this is not a bloody or gory flick but it does have some make-up effects and a lot of gorgeous sets. Overall, Alien from L.A. is not as wild as the title suggests. It has some fun moments but it is rough around the edges. If you are a fan of Vin Syn’s Tammy and the T-Rex release then you should check this one out as well. It was a lot of fun!
Region A Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
“Making a Fairytale” – an interview with director Albert Pyun
“Putting the puzzle together” – an interview with actor Thom Mathews
Audio interview with actress Linda Kerridge
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles