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Rated R
Copyright 1982 Amazing Film Productions
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 7 October 2007

The Characters:  

  • Sheriff Cinder - He survived the alien rampage, but was removed from office after the local newspaper ran a story about fraternization in the department.
  • Deputy Lisa Kent - She cannot resist a man with a perm, even when it (the perm) does not match the drapes on his upper lip or the carpet around his...well, you know. To be fair, I have the feeling she might also be color-coordination deficient.
  • Jamie - He was a model citizen, auxiliary deputy, and journeyman electrician before sacrificing his life to destroy the Nightbeast. Electrocution burns all of his skin to a crisp, while leaving his eyes unaffected. This means that he appears as a fried carcass with bugged-out eyes. Sort of puts a damper on the old "retained his dignity in death" approach.
  • Steven - Was this guy a doctor, dentist, or coroner? Mangled by the creature.
  • Ruth - I am pretty sure that she was the county doctor. I think. Maybe.
  • Bert & Mary Jane - Your average, inebriated elected official and his likewise drunken strumpet. Both of them are killed by the Nightbeast.
  • Drago - Violent guy with a motorcycle. His idea of foreplay is either choking or slapping the woman unconscious. Killed by a single, well-placed shot fired by Jamie.
  • The Nightbeast - After crash landing on Earth, this alien monster goes on a rampage.

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The Plot: 

An alien spacecraft hurtles through our solar system on an unknown errand when it suddenly collides with a Near Earth Object (okay, it smacks into an asteroid). The ship plummets to Earth and crashes somewhere in Maryland. Before the spacecraft explodes, a hideous reptilian creature pulls itself out and stumbles away into the night. Mr. Nightbeast has a mouth filled with irregular, jagged teeth, carries a fully automatic disintegration ray pistol, and is wearing a funky silver leisure robe. The alien is also in a foul mood, which is not surprising when you think about it.

Wait a minute! I am going to guess that the defunct spacecraft, which was block-like in design and looked ancient, was the extraterrestrial equivalent of a pickup truck. When you consider the alien pilot's inability to avoid a huge asteroid, a cohesive picture emerges. The Nightbeast is a drunk alien hick with frequent domestic problems! He had been drinking all day, got into an argument with the egg-laying sex, hopped in his star buggy for a short flight to Venus to get some hot wings, and did not see the orbiting chunk of rock until it was too late. Now he is royally PO'd about wrecking his rusty old ship and blames the local inhabitants for leaving it where just about anybody could run into the thing.

Several people see the ball of fire as it plummets from the sky, along with the resulting explosion. One group of drunken hunters goes to investigate and encounters the Nightbeast. The disintegration ray quickly zaps the three humans out of existence.

A pair of children and their uncle run afoul of the monster as they drive along a lonely country road. The uncle dies quickly, but the kids run to a remote house and spook the guy and girl who are making out in the living room. Urged by his girlfriend to investigate the strange sounds outside, the guy grabs a shotgun. He does not find anything out of the ordinary - not the kids peeking at him through the porch railing, nor the seven-foot-tall reptilian horror from Neptune that is standing on the porch proper. Mr. Oblivious and his frantic girlfriend are torn apart. The kids beat feet back to the road.

Just before Sheriff Cinder and his deputies arrive, the little girl and boy hide in their uncle's car again; a red beam disintegrates the vehicle. Unfortunately, this means that nobody is left to warn the Sheriff, his deputies, and a couple of gun-carrying citizens who tagged along. They walk into an ambush and find themselves completely outgunned. Bullets and buckshot cannot harm the alien, while the disintegration ray is all too effective at reducing the humans to ash. Cinder tells everyone left to fall back; he, Lisa, and Jamie manage to escape.

Yes, you could say that the Nightbeast is a wee bit cranky about wrecking his truck.

While it is amusing to note that nearly every person living in Perry Hill (the film's fictitious township) owns a firearm, I want to comment how silly it was for everyone to be carrying a firearm when they go to investigate the fire burning in the forest. My first thought would be that an aircraft had crashed. Why would they need shotguns instead of medical kits? Are they going to shoot any wounded to put them out of their misery?

Another subject for discussion is the alien's weapon. It is a small pistol. What is really cool about the weapon is how fast it shoots. When the Nightbeast starts shooting the air is filled with dozens of red bolts! The volume of fire is really impressive. On the flip side, I do not understand how the weapon works. If a red bolt hits a person or car, they glow and seem to fill with glowing lights (My God, it's a "Xanadu" gun!) before turning into a scorch mark on the ground. Bolts that strike the ground or other obstructions do not cause disintegration of the material. Little explosions result instead.

Realizing that nullifying the Nightbeast's weapon is a top priority, Sheriff Cinder enlists the help of a resident and his adult son. The old man is the best shot in the township. They track down and engage the monster again. Despite failing to utilize any one of the many principles of marksmanship, the geezer scores a direct hit on the disintegrator pistol and destroys it. From now on, the Nightbeast is forced to claw his victims to death. Less dangerous, for sure, but the alien also likes to eat its shredded victims.

Great. As always, we humans are the pork of the universe. Why must everything find us so tasty?

The worst part of the film is the misguided attempt to use part of the plot from "Jaws." Sheriff Cinder visits Bert, the mayor, and tells him that they need to evacuate the town. Bert will hear nothing of it. He has a party planned and the governor is going to attend. An alien monster from outer space is depopulating the town and this idiot refuses to postpone his party? In "Jaws" you can understand where the mayor is coming from; there may or may not be a killer shark in the ocean near Amity Island. Trying to sympathize with Bert is a lost cause. If the alien grabbed Mary Jane and pushed an ovipositor down her throat to lay eggs in her stomach, Bert probably would not care - so long as the little Nightbeasts did not hatch until after the party.

Failing to receive authorization from the mayor, Sheriff Cinder evacuates the town anyway. So, the argument between Cinder and Bert has zero bearing on the story. The only thing it accomplished was causing random viewers to note that the idea was lifted from "Jaws."

A side plot appears involving Drago, the local lowlife biker. Jamie took a liking to Drago's ex-girlfriend, Susie. Unfortunately, that does not sit too well with the leather-wearing criminal, and he chokes Susie to death during the evacuation. Jamie finds out about her murder and confronts Drago. Chases down the biker and beats the snot out of him is more like it, but that is all. He does not hand Drago over to Sheriff Cinder or break his kneecaps. Apparently, giving someone a bloody lip and broken nose is adequate retribution for killing your girlfriend (not for me - though I might let my wife off easy if she kills my girlfriend).

Later in the film, Jamie shoots Drago to prevent the criminal from killing the sheriff, so everything balances out.

Okay, so what is going on in Perry Hill? The Nightbeast kills a couple of people at Ruth's office. The doctor and her assistant, Steven, hide in the basement until the creature starts looking around down there. With nowhere left to go and their hiding place likely to be discovered at any moment, Steven comes up with a plan. He sneaks behind the Nightbeast and goes to the basement sink. There he fills up a bucket with water and dumps it on the floor, not just once, but three times. Somehow the alien does not notice this. With a spliced-off electrical cord from the dryer (or the washer, one of those two), he electrocutes the Nightbeast when it steps in the water puddle. Feeling pain shakes the creature so badly that it leaves.

Before the few remaining characters come up with a desperate plan to kill the creature using high voltage, Sheriff Cinder and Lisa have an awkward sex scene. It follows a run-in with the Nightbeast; the pair goes to Lisa's house to treat a wound on the sheriff's leg. Lisa removes his pants, dresses the wound, and then strips off her clothes to take a shower. Cinder watches her walk into the bathroom before lying back on the bed and letting out a big sigh. He then falls asleep. Hey, stupid! Are you dense? Let me give you some advice. If a woman gets naked in front of you and then says she is going to take a shower, what she really means is "Join me in the shower, if you are man enough."

The embarrassing sex scene does take place after Lisa finishes her shower. I was quite horrified when Cinder got naked and they flopped onto the bed. The actress playing Lisa was tan, while the actor playing Cinder was, ah, not tan. Take a nicely browned hot dog and put it on your plate. Now, dump a cup of cottage cheese on it. There, you have an idea of what the sex scene looked like.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Women gain acute hearing when sexually aroused.
  • A shotgun is much less effective when used as a club.
  • In the event of an alien invasion, coroners will need to purchase HEPA hand vacuums.
  • Most homes in Maryland do not have driveways. People just park on the lawn.
  • Doorknobs are not intuitive.
  • Humanity is like pork to the rest of the galaxy.
  • It is possible to beat someone silly by smashing their head against soft ground.
  • Few things are more annoying than an obsessive-compulsive alcoholic.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Opening credits - I wonder who did the custom anodizing on the title.
  • 11 mins - "Kill Crites!"
  • 33 mins - Wrong vowel. You mean "Perry Hall."
  • 51 mins - Hey, I have seen this same scene in a porn movie! They were wearing sheriff uniforms in the porno, too!
  • 57 mins - Bert's chest is perfectly flat and featureless, except for the sparse covering of hair...ewww.
  • 72 mins - That fence looks awfully familiar. Is there a pool on the other side?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note nightbeast1.wav Sheriff Cinder and Bert argue about the monster and the mayor's party.
Green Music Note nightbeast2.wav Drago: "What brings you way out here, away from your cozy little office?"
Cinder: "Keep moving, Drago, before I run you in for disturbing the peace."
Drago: "Hey, I'm scared to death. Our big, tough sheriff might just try to take me off my bike. Huh? What about it, Cinder, you going to take me off my bike?"
Cinder: "Stay out of my way, Drago. I'm in no mood for your crap."
Green Music Note nightbeast3.wav Ruth: "Jamie, thank God you're here! The thing dragged Wilton away. I think he was dead."
Steven: "His arm was cut off."
Ruth: "We tried to clean up out here, but we've been nervous wrecks."
Jamie: "We'd better get these other bodies inside."
Steven: "That's right; they may lure the thing back here."
Green Music Note nightbeast4.wav Cinder: "We're beaten, Jamie. Guns have no effect on that thing."
Jamie: "Guns don't, I know that, but if we could hit that thing with twenty or thirty-thousand volts of electricity, we might be able to stop it."
Ruth: "That's right; it scared it away at our house!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipnightbeast1.mpg - 2.9m
In hopes of the geezer getting a clear shot, several characters engage the Nightbeast in a firefight. The guy who gets zapped is the geezer's son. Rather than using stock weld, bone support, and natural point of aim, the old farmer will tap into the righteous indignation of a father who has seen his boy disappear to make the difficult shot.

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