IMDB states Xtro was released at the theaters in the UK first in December of ’82 before hitting a stateside release in January of ’83. That would put me at 13-years old and in the 8th grade, the tail end of my grade school education. Fangoria covered the movie in two issues, briefly in #19 (May) and more extensively in #24 (December).
Like most of the horror movies I saw when I was a kid I heard about Xtro through that issue #24 of Fangoria. I seem to think it was from Rob Ames, the kid in grade school I was friends with who was into Fangoria before anyone else. He used to bring various issues to school for us to marvel at and get grossed out over. Issue #24 (below right) was a memorable one as you can see by the cover. I also have a memory of browsing that particular issue up at his house one weekend where the photos of the alien doing strange and weirdly tantalizing and horrible things to human beings wedged themselves into my mind. I no longer have that issue but I remember a couple of the photos of Mayam d’Abo all cocooned and her body being the recipient of alien breeding. The clincher was photos of the alien creature itself. It was all so weird, and because of that I just needed to see it at some point. I was in that hellish first year of high school, I think, when I finally saw Xtro on cable, but I have no memory of the actual moment I saw it.
Just to quickly recap in Alien Rape 101, Part I we were in the Big Apple circa 1986 as aliens were raping and breeding with humans, the latter not too successfully either, now we travel across the pond to merry ol’ England where we find Sam Phillips (the late Philip Sayer) and his son, Tony (Simon Nash), playing with their dog out in the yard one sunny day as mother/wife, Rachel (Bernice Stegers) has left to do some errands. A strange massive ball of light suddenly appears throwing the whole scene into night and kidnapping Sam.
Cut to three years later where Rachel and Tony have continued on with life, Rachel believing Sam just walked out on their marriage one day, while Tony who was present for the alien kidnapping knows what really happened. Rachel has heard Tony’s explanation and believes her son just simply cannot rationalize Sam’s abrupt leaving and has made up this whole ball of light kidnapping. They never returned to their cottage and have been living in their apartment in London with their new French nanny, Analise Mercier (before she was Bond girl famous Maryam d’Abo), ever since. Rachel has found a new man, Joe Daniels (Danny Brainin), an American who now does his fashion photography in the UK, and all seems relatively well in all their lives.
Sam, however, decides to finally return, but with sinister intentions, for he’s no longer the human Rachel and Tony remember. But is return is a rather novel one. One night a UFO crashes in the country and out of the muck surfaces this four-legged being that gets abruptly sideswiped by a car as it lingers on the side of the road for too long. The occupants of the car, a man and a woman, end up being this thing’s first victims. The man gets it first as he stupidly walks back down the road looking for what he hit. They clearly saw what they hit and if I hit something that freaky I certainly wouldn’t stop the car and go looking for it, but I digress. He finds it in the bushes, wounded but not wounded to the point where it can’t rear its head up and hit the guy under his eyes with an alien tongue. Whatever it did to him, the guy falls back dead as a door nail with these bloody cuts underneath each socket. The girl is next. Waiting for her beau to return the alien creeps up to the car and grabs her. We don’t find out what it did to her until a little bit later in the movie.
Now that this thing from another world is up and moving again it targets this hot blond in her house, sneaking in, knocking her on her ass and impregnating with this tentacle-like webbed organ that covers her mouth. She wakes some hours later, the alien now a pulpy deflated mess on her living room floor and she’s about to give birth to a full grown man in a matter of minutes. This birth is shown as Sam comes out naked, covered in bodily fluids and separating himself from the umbilical cord with one good bloody bite. Incidentally this whole birth scene was ripped off years later in Warlock: The Armageddon (1993).
Having full memory of what his “alien father” did, he cleans himself up and goes in search of that couple he encountered on the road, stripping the male body of its clothing (to cloth himself in) and ditching the car they drove in, along with the dead female, whose stomach has been torn open, in a lot in London.
He then tracks down his old family and tries to insinuate himself back into their lives, claiming he cannot remember anything that happened the day that ball of light came for him. This confession suddenly backs up Tony’s assertion of what happened. This is a lie, Sam knows where he’s been but the lies are convincing enough to fool Rachel and Tony. Joe on the other hand feels rightly threatened by his return and doesn’t believe a word of what he says. It’s easy to discern, though, from Rachel’s demeanor Joe might be on the out now. And Tony, who’s never really taken to Joe, instantly relishes the opportunity to have his Dad back.
We start to see the extent of Sam’s alien nature and his plans when Tony catches him eating his pet garter snake’s eggs. Tony freaks and bolts but when Sam catches up with him he explains the aliens had to change him so he could live in their world and that he specifically returned for Tony. He then plants his lips upon Tony’s shoulder and injects his son with whatever the aliens did to him to alter his DNA.
When I first saw this movie I liked the beginning and the ending but found the middle part to be too weird and uninteresting. Now, however, having seen it dozens of time the middle part has grown on me immensely. It focuses on Tony and his new found powers his father has given him, while occasionally hopscotching to the subplot of Sam and Rachel deciding to visit their cottage to see if he can remember anything. Tony can now bring his toys to life and the first thing he does is avenge his pet snake that escaped, got into this old woman’s apartment downstairs, and killed by her. He brings to life his toy soldier which now is the size of grown man and has it invade the old woman’s apartment and kill her. Well, that was easy. Tony then focuses his attentions on Analise, who likes to spend as much time as possible naked and getting plowed by her boyfriend whom she sneaks into the apartment when she’s home alone taking care of Tony.
Analise is destined to be a breeder apparently for this alien race. After rendering her dutifully unconscious he pulls up her shirt, plants his lips on her belly and impregnates her much in the same way Sam infected him. The next time we see her she’s dead and cocooned in the tub. In fact it’s her boyfriend who finds her as he’s trying to get away from the toy tank that’s trying to kill him. When we see her yet again she’s propped up straight against the wall, fully cocooned and popping out eggs into the hand of this midget clown (another toy Tony brought to life).
Joe’s plot has been sidelined while these other subplots play themselves grimly out, but he’s drawn back into the movie when he’s on the phone with Rachel (she’s telling him she can’t get through to Analise and Tony at home), staring at the photo of this woman Rachel found in Sam’s jacket. A woman Sam claimed he did not know, but we all know her from the night that alien landed and that car struck it on the side of the road. Changing his parrot’s cage, the newspaper on the bottom has a photo of this woman and the fact her butchered body was found in a car. Clearly this is enough to make Joe think Sam’s a killer and is probably thinking about killing Rachel at the cottage.
Not his plan actually. He just wants to fuck her, but before that we see his human form apparently has a time limit. His hair is falling out and while they’re having sex his side gets all gooey and fucked up. Yeah, the jig is finally up. Rachel now sees he’s not the Sam she knew and he smacks her in the face and leaves.
Both father and son are telepathically linked and Tony also knows Joe is heading up to the cottage. He meets him at his office with some bullshit story Analise dropped him off and rides up with him. Tony are Sam are rendezvousing because it’s time for both of them to return to their new alien home. I actually liked Joe but he just wasn’t destined to live all the way through the movie. As he and Rachel are pursuing Sam and Tony through the dark woods, Sam turns showing more of his transformation and hits Joe with some kind of alien sonic wave scream that blows his eardrums out in bloody fashion and kills him dead on the spot.
Rachel is the only survivor left to witness Sam’s new alien form and Tony’s beginning change into his as they meet up with a huge magnificent light in this field. Both are then whisked away into the sky leaving Rachel sitting on the ground and dumbfounded.
For me this is where the movie ends but tacked on is this out of place epilogue that feels more like a dream sequence; Rachel returns to the apartment, in totally different clothing, finds the whole place painted white and these alien eggs percolating in the refrigerator. For no reason I can explain she picks up one of these eggs and stares at it until it bursts revealing an appendage similar to the one that impregnated the woman that gave birth to Sam. It latches on to Rachel’s mouth in the same fashion . . . end of movie.
It’s an interesting scene but it doesn’t feel coherently attached to the rest of the flick. The original ending director Harry Bromley Davenport had in mind, which is included as an extra, is just as weird and also feels like a dream sequence. Except in this one Rachel, who’s clearly pregnant now, returns to the apartment and is greeted by all these kids who are supposed to look exactly like her son Tony. I think the inference is these are the creatures that hatched from all those eggs Analise’s body gave birth to.
After years of absence on the DVD market Image Entertainment finally released it on DVD back in 2005, with come commendable extras. This release is now out of print, but you can still get a somewhat affordable used copy on Amazon. That same day Image also released a double feature with the first sequel, Xtro II: The Second Encounter (1991). This double feature edition seemed to by more highly valued. It too is out of print but goes for much higher prices in the used department on Amazon. Image also made Xtro part of a triple feature in 2007, adding Xtro II, which made sense, and for unknown reasons, also adding the giant killer mosquito movie Skeeter (1994). Again this edition is also out of print and going for a high price used on Amazon.
To date no blu-ray exists of any of the Xtro movies.
- Alternate Ending 1 (1:38)
- Alternate Ending 2 (2:14)
- Xtra Scene (No Audio) (:38)
- “Xtro Exposed” Featurette (17:22)
- Xtro Gallery (B&W photos)
Alternate Ending 1 is the original ending Davenport wanted. I’m not sure why Alternate Ending 2 is included since this is the same ending used in the movie. The Xtra Scene looks to be an alternate version of Tony playing at the table. The major xtra on this disc, the keeper of the bunch, is the “Xtro Exposed” featurette. Here we’re introduced to Harry Bromley-Davenport and learn he really doesn’t like the first Xtro and goes into some detail as to why. But he really hates Xtro II mostly thanks to Jan Michael Vincent who was uncooperative on every level; didn’t know his lines, didn’t know what scene he was doing, etc. The third movie, Xtro III, is the one he likes best. He admits at the end he has a little bit of fondness for the first flick, but still maintains his hate for the second. I’ve never seen an interview with him before and to me the guy comes off very likeable despite the varying degrees of animosity he displays for his films and his career.
There have been rumors, well, more than rumors since Davenport has stated to Fangoria, and at one time last year on my Facebook page that there will be an Xtro 4. I certainly hope so. He’s made three of them and for me two out of those three have been entertaining.
Coming soon, the final part of this review series . . . ALIEN RAPE 101, PART III: INSEMINOID (DVD)!!!