Tag Archives: Karen Black

Behind the scenes of Five Easy Pieces (1970)

We celebrate this July 4th by looking back at a iconic American classic ‘Five Easy Pieces’. The film is best known for its memorable scene inside a Denny’s Diner, so I thought it would be fun to show some stills of that scene being filmed, which was in November of 1969 as well as what those same locations look like today. First, here’s a shot of the scene where Jack Nicholson confronts a stubborn waitress (played by Lorna Thayer).

Here’s how that very same booth looks like today:

The film was shot at a Denny’s restaurant in Eugene, Oregon. Here’s some shots of its exterior in 1969:

Here’s a shot of the restaurant today. Surprisingly it hasn’t changed too much:

Here’s a shot of the lighting equipment used for the scene:

Here’s the sign customers saw on the Denny’s door the day the movie was shot.

Cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs getting ready to shoot the classic scene:

Here’s Director Bob Rafelson, Karen Black, Lorna Thayer, and Jack Nicholson sitting around the lunch table and rehearsing their lines for the now famous scene:

Kovacs checks the lighting levels as Nicholson and Black prepare:

Getting the boom mike into place:

Here’s a shot of the final scene where Nicholson decides to abandon Black:

And here’s how that location looks like today:

Portnoy’s Complaint (1972)

portnoys complaint 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Jewish man digs prostitute.

Alexander Portnoy (Richard Benjamin) is a man who no longer believes in a God or any of the other conventional ways of life taught to him by his old-fashioned Jewish parents (Jack Somack, Lee Grant). He enjoys the ‘art’ of masturbation and will routinely find excuses to go do it when his parents aren’t looking. As he grows older he finds that his sexual appetite broadens in a way that regular women won’t be able to fulfill. Then he meets Mary Jane (Karen Black). She’s a prostitute nicknamed ‘The Monkey’ due to all the wild positions that she can get her body into during sex. The two enjoy a lot of kinky times, but then she ends up falling in love with him and wanting to get married, but Portnoy resists as he considers her to be intellectually inferior and fears she’ll become an embarrassment to him with his other friends.

Philip Roth’s landmark and controversial novel comes to the big screen with only lukewarm results although it does start out funny. I laughed-out-loud at the scene where Portnoy pretends to have a bout of diarrhea just so he can sneak into the bathroom to get-off and his parents misinterpret his moans of ecstasy as being that of gaseous agony. The dream segment where Portnoy finds that his penis has fallen off and onto the kitchen floor while his parents come into to inspect it is pretty good as is the bit where Jeannie Berlin tries to give Portnoy a hand-job.

Unfortunately the film shifts too much in tone. It starts out as this quirky, dark-humored, sex-laden comedy only to end up being a brooding drama. The novel was written as a continuous monologue spoken by Portnoy while talking to his therapist, which doesn’t effectively come off here. We see a few scenes in his therapist’s office, but they are brief and I didn’t like the fact that his therapist never speaks a word of dialogue, which seemed weird and unnatural.

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman, in his one and only foray behind the camera, implements too much of a slow pace to the proceedings. Many scenes go on far longer than they should and at certain points the camera gets nailed to the ground giving it a static presence. He also hired Michel Legrand to do the film score, which is beautiful and majestic, but the lush tones are better suited for a romantic flick, which this definitely isn’t.

Karen Black gives an outstanding performance as ‘The Monkey’, but her character is too one-dimensionally dumb almost to the point that she seems mentally handicapped, which I don’t think was the intention. Either way it is never funny, touching, or even real while bordering into the stereotype that all prostitutes ‘must be really stupid’.

One of the most annoying elements of the film is that it keeps cutting back to a matted image of Black jumping from a skyscraper and towards the viewer while she screams. The image looks very hooky while giving the film a real amateurish feel. I also didn’t like how at the very end we spot Black walking amongst a crowd of people from a bird’s eye perspective. The supposed demise of the character was meant to be murky as she threatens to jump from a building and Portnoy leaves her without ever knowing if she ended up doing it or not, which then causes him a major source of guilt afterwards. By having her suddenly appear at the very end ruins the mystery and brings up far more questions than answers.

Roth’s novel was very much ahead-of-its-time and deserved a film that could match it, but Lehman’s staid approach doesn’t do it justice.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: June 19, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 41Minutes

Rated R

Director: Ernest Lehman

Studio: Warner Brothers

Available: DVD (Warner Archive), YouTube

Hard Contract (1969)

hard contract

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Hit man becomes humanized.

John Cunningham (James Coburn) is a professional hit man hired by Ramsey Williams (Burgess Meredith) to do one last ‘big score’ by rubbing out Michael (Sterling Hayden) of which Ramsey suffers a large financial debt to. John has done many of these jobs before and travels to Europe with the expectation that this one will be as routine as the others, but then he has an encounter with call-girl Sheila (Lee Remick) who plagues him with self-doubt and forces him to question his purpose in life.

This film was written and directed by S. Lee Pogostin a long time TV writer who finally at the age of 55 got his big break to do an actual feature film. Unfortunately for him his script is excessively heavy with dialogue and little to no action. There is only one brief segment where we see John actually doing his job and offing someone and it comes in the form of watching him drop a large trunk with a dead body inside of it out of an airplane, which is kind of a cool visually, but that is about it and the rest of the film consists of nothing but talk and long winded, flowing conversations dealing with theories and philosophies that regular people, particularly those in the crime and prostitution business, just don’t have.

Coburn and Remick are both excellent, but the scenario that their characters are placed in is ludicrous. The idea that a high paid prostitute would suddenly fall for one of her clients is quite doubtful. Had the Coburn character been somehow kind or gentle towards her then maybe, but instead he is cold and distant and treats her more like an animal than a person, so why, especially after all of the other men she has already presumably slept with, would she get so worked up over this guy? It just makes no sense and the same thing goes for the Coburn character. He’s slept with hundreds of prostitutes before and even brags about it, so why would this one stand out?

The conversation that Coburn has with Hayden, amidst a large wheat field and while sitting on a tractor, is pretty good and the most engrossing moment in the film. The scene where he drives a car speedily down a winding road, which gets the other passengers quite nervous, isn’t bad either. The European locations are scenic and the supporting cast all give strong performances especially Karen Black as a talkative hooker arguing with Coburn over political candidates. However, the script tries too hard to make a statement and comes off more like a protracted concept than a story with a pretentious flair that just doesn’t work.

hard contract 2

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: April 30, 1969

Runtime: 1Hour 47Minutes

Rated R

Director: S. Lee Pogostin

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: None at this time.

Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)

COME BACK TO THE FIVE & DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN, Sandy Dennis, Cher, Karen Black, 1982, (c) Cinecom Pictures

COME BACK TO THE FIVE & DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN, Sandy Dennis, Cher, Karen Black, 1982, (c) Cinecom Pictures

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Disciples of James Dean.

Twenty years after his untimely death five women (Cher, Sandy Dennis, Karen Black, Kathy Bates, Marta Heflin), who were big fans of James Dean and called themselves his disciples, decide to hold a reunion at a thrift shop in a small town not far from Marfa, Texas where the film Giant was made. However, the reunion is not a happy one as old wounds and secrets come to light that forces the women to analyze themselves and their lives in uncomfortable and unpleasant ways.

One of the things that really annoyed me about this movie and at times just downright confused me is that the characters show no signs of aging at all as it shifts between 1955 and the present day of 1975. Twenty years is a significant period of time and most everyone will show some signs of age, or at least changes to their hairstyle and outfits and yet with the exception of the Joe character there is no distinguishable differences between the others from one period to the next. The Cher character was particularly perplexing as her hair remains jet black for two decades and even the same exact style. One could argue that maybe she dyed it, okay, but she also manages to somehow retain her same girlish figure, which is even less likely.

I also found it hard to believe that she could afford to make a living by working at little thrift store for 20 years, or that she would even be needed as the place was small enough for one person to run and through the course of the entire movie never once does a single customer even enter the place. Her character was attractive enough to find a man, get married and run off to another town or place that had more potential. We learn through the course of the movie that she was married at one point, but then dumped, however I would think she would’ve been able to find someone else in a 20 year time span especially since she was still quite good looking.

Keeping all of the action inside the thrift store makes the film seem almost claustrophobic. I realize this was based on a stage play, but most plays that get transferred to film will have certain scenes, or cutaways added in to avoid this feeling. Even having some outdoor shots done over the opening credits would’ve given it a little more of a visual variety.

The performances are the best thing about the movie and probably the only reason to see it. All three leads recreate their parts from the stage version. Cher is sensational and in my opinion gives the best performance. Dennis is solid doing her patented fragile caricature and who displays some interesting emotional eruptions at completely unexpected times. Black is excellent as well. Usually she plays flaky types, but here is more reserved and steely. Bates is good as a loud and abrasive woman and Sudie Bond lends fine support as the shop’s overtly religious owner.

The script is passable, but the revelations that come out are stuff you’d find on a second-rate soap opera. I also found it hard to believe that these women would get together after 20 years and not have other things to talk about. Usually when people meet after not seeing each other for an extended period of time there’s always a lot of ‘catching up’ to do where they talk about all the things that have happened to them since, but here there’s none of that. Instead they come off like people frozen in time clinging to bygone issues that just about anyone else would’ve moved on from long ago.

The film ends with several shots of the store shown in an abandoned and rundown state, but with no explanation of what time period it was taken in. At first I thought this meant that maybe the reunion had never occurred. That maybe it had just been imagined, which is a concept that I liked and would also have filled in some of the gaping plot holes that I’ve described above, but then I saw the reunion banner still hanging in a tattered state from the ceiling. Others on IMDb have debated that it may represent the reunion that they had planned for 1995 that never came about, which is a good guess, but with business being as slow as it  was at that place I think it would’ve been abandoned long before 1975 let alone 1995.

come back 1

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: November 12, 1982

Runtime: 1Hour 50Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Robert Altman

Studio: Cinecom Pictures

Available: DVD

Homer and Eddie (1989)

homer and eddie

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Losers go road-trippin’

Homer (James Belushi) is a mentally challenged man suffering brain damage from being hit in the head by a baseball when he was a kid. He decides to go on a road trip to visit his sick father, but along the way he gets robbed and has to sleep in an abandoned car. It is there that he meets Eddie (Whoopi Goldberg) an embittered, volatile women who is supposedly suffering from a brain tumor. The two trek off in her car to Oregon to meet up with Homer’s parents and also try to track down the men who robbed him.

I was impressed with the acting range shown here by Goldberg. Usually she is so likable, but here she is quite edgy and does it in an effective way. I applaud her attempts to work outside of her comfort zone although her fits of anger make the viewer uncomfortable and her crying does not sound authentic.

Belushi is good in atypical role and for the most part he is the best thing about the movie. His lines are consistently amusing, but the film walks an uncomfortable line between making him a sympathetic character to also making fun of him. Despite the fact that these two already worked together in Jumpin’ Jack Flash the chemistry between them doesn’t work.

The supporting cast is interesting in cameo roles. Casting 70-year-old 200 pound Ernestine McClendon as a prostitute gets points simply for its novelty, but seeing her in her grossly oversized panties is a bit much. Karen Black as her pimp has such a small, meaningless role that I was surprised that she even took it. Nancy Parsons has an interesting part as a cold and aloof woman who becomes sympathetic, which is a rarity for her. Director John Waters appears briefly as a robber and I kind of got a kick out of Don Hanmer as a very nervous cashier. Belushi’s real-life second wife Marjorie Bransfield can be spotted in the character of Betsy and this also marked the final film appearance for both Fritz Feld and Anne Ramsey.

The film features a wide-array of musical styles, which works against it. I liked Richie Havens rendition of ‘Home’, which had the nice laid-back beat and folk tinged sound that you expect for a road movie. Some of the more hard rock, heavy metal stuff became too loud and obnoxious and takes the viewer out of the picture instead of wrapping them in.

I liked the scenery and there are a few interesting moments, but trying to mix the surreal with the gritty is misguided. The comical bits get drowned out by the scenes of violence and a very maudlin theme. The result is an uneven film that pales in comparison to the classic road movies.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: December 1, 1989

Runtime: 1Hour 40Minutes

Rated R

Director: Andrei Konchalovskiy

Studio: Skouras Pictures

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu

Dixie Lanes (1988)

dixie lanes 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review:  Karen Black is funny.

Clarence Laidlaw (Hoyt Axton) returns home from the war to find that is his son Everett (Christopher Rydell) does not want to speak to him due to certain felonies that he supposedly committed before he left. Meanwhile Everett romances Judy (Pamela Springsteen) while also agreeing to deliver a hatbox filled with secret items for his kooky Aunt Zelma (Karen Black) that may entail the transfer of stolen money.

The film moves along too slowly with a storyline that borders on being almost nonexistent. The movie seems to want to focus on the interactions of the slightly offbeat small town characters, but none of them are interesting enough and their dialogue is not funny enough to be engaging.  The recreation of the 1940’s is okay on a low budget level, but there have been so many more bigger budgeted movies that have created a much richer more vivid portrait of Americana that watching this or even the reason behind making it seems unnecessary.

The eclectic cast is interesting, but straddled with such limp material that they have nowhere to go with it. Art Hindle, Moses Gunn, Ruth Buzzi, Nina Foch, and even Tina Louise appear although it is in a very small role. Rydell as the young lead seems misplaced as his hairstyle looks more like an 80’s cut and his pouty, moody, detached behavior seems suited for a more modern era.

Black is a lot of fun and is the one good thing about the movie as she adds a lot of much needed energy. Her over-the-top screams and mannerisms even had me chuckling in a few places particularly at her attempts at bowling. She also had me convinced that she had a knack for comedy and should’ve done more of it. However, like with Rydell her character didn’t seem right for the time period especially with her bleached frizzy hair and her flirtatious and outspoken manner.

Axton’s laid-back style and smooth sounding voice is great for when he is doing one of his ballads, but as a lead actor he is almost lifeless. His graying hair made him seem more like Foch’s husband instead of her son.

There is almost no action to speak of until the very end when director Don Cato implements a forced, slapstick-like car chase that is out-of-sync with the tone of the rest of the film. This takes place during some unexplained supernatural wind storm that makes no sense and pretty much cements this thing as being a poorly realized waste of celluloid.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: May 3, 1988

Runtime: 1Hour 23Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Director: Don Cato

Studio: Miramax

Available: DVD

Trilogy of Terror (1975)

trilogy of terror 3

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: Menaced by a doll.

Interesting made-for-TV movie that first aired on ABC on the night of March 4, 1975. The film is broken up into three different horror stories all of which star Karen Black in different roles and all based on short stories written by Richard Matheson. Dan Curtis famous for producing the horror soap opera ‘Dark Shadows’ directs all three segments and even employs two actors from that series John Karlen and Jim Storm in small supporting roles.

The first segment is entitled Julie and features Black as a prim-and-proper college professor who gains the attention of Chad (Robert Burton) who is one of her students. Chad asks Julie out on a date and then drugs her drink, which knocks her out. When she is unconscious he takes revealing pictures of her and then uses these to blackmail her into continuing to have sex with him.

The ‘surprise’ twist on this one isn’t too interesting and full of a few loopholes. This also falls into the typical Hollywood treatment where an otherwise attractive woman with a great figure is labeled as ‘homely’ simply because she wears glasses and has her hair tied up into a bun. Although the storyline is surprisingly smarmy for the time period I still thought it was hooky that when he takes those ‘revealing’ pictures of her she is still wearing her clothes when most likely in reality he would have taken them off. The only intriguing element of this segment is the fact that Burton was married to Black at the time that this was filmed, so it was interesting to see them perform together especially since their union was brief and barely even lasted a year.

The second segment is entitled ‘Millicent and Therese’ and is the story of two feuding sisters both played by Black and their diametrically opposite personalities. It is interesting to see Black play such contrasting characters, but otherwise the story is weak and I had figured out the rather obvious twist of this long before it occurred and most others will too.

The final and most famous segment is entitled ‘Amelia’ and is about a woman who buys an African Tribal doll for her boyfriend. The doll is a miniaturized replica of an ancient hunter complete with a spear and outfit. A gold chain which is around the doll supposedly holds in its evil spirit, but when that chain falls off it begins attacking Amelia who then desperately tries fighting him off while all alone her apartment.

trilogy of terror 1

While the idea of such a small doll with its tiny little arms being able to stab someone let alone turn doorknobs or bend the bolt of her door so she can’t get out seems a bit silly and absurd the action is still effective. Curtis’s use of dolly shots showing the camera zooming through the apartment at knee level in an attempt at displaying the point-of-view of the attacking doll is excellent. Despite the simple special effects they still work and the scariest thing about the doll is the weird chanting, hissing sound that it makes. The final image of this segment is quite possibly the most memorable of the entire film.

The only real suggestion I would have with this story is that it would have been nice to have shown the scene where the Amelia character goes to the shop and actually purchases the doll and shown more of a reason, or motivation for wanting to buy such a strange object in the first place.

21 years later Curtis made a sequel called ‘Trilogy of Terror II’ although that was not as well received. This film though is still enjoyable and well above average for TV-movie fare.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: March 4, 1975

Runtime: 1Hour 12Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Dan Curtis

Studio: ABC Circle Films

Available: VHS, DVD, YouTube

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? (1983)

can she bake a cherry pie 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: Fighting keeps them together.

An emotional and neurotic Zee (Karen Black) has just broken up with her husband. Eli (Michael Emil) is an older man who enjoys calculating odds and averages. The two meet at a restaurant and become involved in an offbeat and tumultuous relationship.

The film at times tries a bit too hard to be offbeat. Zee seems almost like a walking cliché. She sobs so much she can’t even order her food at the restaurant without breaking into tears. She chain smokes and has a plethora of hang-ups and paranoia that seems to possess every eccentric movie character and makes the whole thing fall flat before it has even begun.

Fortunately once you make past the rather clumsy beginning it actually starts to click. Writer/director Henry Jaglom instills a wonderfully free-form style to the proceedings that allows one to become engaged without even knowing it. The cinema-vertite approach turns its low budget into an asset. It’s the little things that start to grab you especially the Michael Margotta character and his trained pigeon named Eddie or the brash  way he tries to pick-up women at cafes while their boyfriends are sitting right there at the table with them.

Eli and Zee’s quirky conversations are quite amusing especially Zee contemplating on getting pregnant. These is even a segment showing old home movies done by Jaglom’s parents where you get to see Jaglom and Emil, who are brothers in real-life, whey they were little kids.

Jaglom has seemed to have gotten to the very heart of why we watch movies, which is because we are all secretly voyeurs. We like that little window that opens up and allows us to observe other people and see how they respond and react to things without being told what to look for or what to think. The European style of filmmaking is a refreshing change of pace. The actors are allowed to freely improvise and when it is all over you feel like you’ve watched real people, which makes it seem more relevant and funny.

This is very similar to John Cassavete’s Minnie and Mokowitz, but this fairs better as it is not as strained or aimless. The characters also have a bit more appeal and didn’t ingrate on my nerves as much.

Black gives another intriguing performance. She even sings, which she does quite well and does it while wearing the same wig that she wore while singing in the classic film Nashville.

The only real negative that I had with it was the soundtrack, which was performed by street musicians and sounds awful. It eventually gets so overplayed that it becomes irritating.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: September 10, 1983

Runtime: 1Hour 30Minutes

Rated R

Director: Henry Jaglom

Studio: Pan-Canadian Film Distributors

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video

Drive, He Said (1971)

drive he said 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Player doesn’t like coach.

This is one of those movies that shows signs of being a really great movie trying to break out, but never does. It’s about Hector (William Tepper) a college basketball star who is being tugged at different directions by those around him and by society at-large. This creates inner turmoil that leads to outbursts, apathy, and even anti-social behavior.

Tepper as the star isn’t the best of actors. He has a constant blank look and way too much hair. The character he plays has potential. It is nice to see a portrait of an athlete that isn’t one-dimensional sports, but instead shows intelligent and sensitivity to things that go well beyond the court. Yet he is also too self- absorbed and displays a selfish behavior that in most cases would alienate him from his teammates. What is supposed to be betrayed as angst instead comes off as an obnoxious, spoiled college kid. His constant rebellion with his coach (Bruce Dern) doesn’t mesh.

The film makes some good observations and brings up great issues. Unfortunately it ends up becoming diluted. In some ways it should have just stuck with the basketball angle. The camera shots that glides with the action during the games is excellent. Some of the scenes during the practice and some of the locker room segments of Dern coaching the team gives the viewer a good taste of the college basketball experience and makes you want to see more of it. However, incorporating late sixties politics into it only makes it redundant and in this area the film offers no new insight.

The film does have its moments and some of them are even memorable. The best ones involve actor Michael Margotta’s character as a student radical wavering on insanity. His assault on the Karen Black character while inside a large, darkened house is striking both visually and emotionally. The scene where he, while naked, runs into a science lab and releases all sorts of rats, rodents, and reptiles is a sight in itself.

Dern with his glazed stare and intense acting style seems like a natural for the part of the hard-driven coach. It’s too bad the film doesn’t make the most of it, but Black is looking at her best.

Jack Nicholson as a director is not as good as Nicholson the actor although he does show potential, but it doesn’t come together as a whole. The film should best be viewed as a curio or artifact of its era. There is also a surprisingly high amount of male nudity as well as homo-erotic overtones.

drive he said 2

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: June 13, 1971

Runtime: 1Hour 35Minutes

Rated R

Director: Jack Nicholson

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Available: DVD (Region 1 & 2)

Invaders from Mars (1986)

invaders from mars

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Kid fights off aliens.

In this remake of the 1953 original Hunter Carson plays David an 11-year-old boy who witnesses a giant spaceship landing just over the hill from his backyard. Initially no one believes him, but then his parents, teacher, and classmates start acting strangely and have weird marks on the back of their necks. The only one who believes him is Linda (Karen Black) the school counselor. Together they try to save the rest of the town and blow up the alien ship with the help of General Climet Wilson (James Karen) and the rest of the U.S. Marines.

Director Tobe Hooper crafts a loving tribute to Americana by creating a house on a soundstage and a picturesque hill where the aliens land that seems to pay tribute to the 50’s. Jimmy Hunt who played the kid in the original appears here as a policeman. The musical score by Christopher Young has a nice variety of tempos and beats. It’s loud and intense during certain segments and then almost like a lullaby over the closing credits. The special effects aren’t exactly impressive, but I did like the segment showing how the aliens surgically insert the device into the backs of people’s necks in order to turn them into zombie-like creatures. I also got a kick out of the aliens especially their leader who was made to look like a brain with eyes and a mouth, connected to something that looked like an umbilical cord that shot out of what appeared to me like a giant rectum.

The eclectic cast is fun. Louise Fletcher hams it up in another parody of her famous Nurse Ratched role this time as the overbearing teacher Mrs. McKeltch. The part where she swallows a frog whole with its green blood trickling down the sides of her mouth is a highlight.  It is also great seeing Laraine Newman playing David’s mother. The part isn’t all that exciting, but I always thought she was unfairly overlooked and underappreciated as one of the original cast members of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and her talents has never been used to their full potential.

Black is always interesting and here even more so because she plays the only normal person for a change instead of a kooky eccentric like she usually does. The only issue I had with the character is that she believed David’s story much too quickly and even showed him the back of her neck without asking why. It seemed to me that with kids and their wild imagination that she would be more hesitant and take more time in convincing.

To some extent casting Carson in the lead is interesting simply because he is Black’s son in real-life although he resembles his actor/writer father L.M. Kit Carson much more. However, the kid really couldn’t act and tries much too hard to show any type of emotion. I also thought that a normal child would have been so curious after having seen the spaceship land that he would have wanted to go to where it was beyond the hill and take a look at it and the fact that he immediately doesn’t seemed unrealistic.

The introduction of the Marines during the film’s second half backfires as it becomes too chaotic. The charm at the beginning is lost and it turns into just another campy action flick. The ‘double-ending’ is formulaic, ill-advised and ridiculous and comes very close to ruining the whole thing.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: June 6, 1986

Runtime: 1Hour 40Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Tobe Hooper

Studio: Cannon Film Distributors

Available: VHS, DVD, YouTube