Triskaidekafiles

Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Alien Beasts (1991)

ALIEN BEASTS

WRITER: Carl J. Sukenick

DIRECTOR: Carl J. Sukenick

STARRING: Neal Dealosi as Neal the Traitor
    Joe Lapenna as Joe
    Sara Victor as Sara Shell
    Rhonda Crawford as Rhonda
    Deveen Dellisee as Enemy Agent
    Abe Sukenick as Security Officer
    Carl J. Sukenick as Carl

QUICK CUT: This movie is so incoherent I can't even form a good joke description of the plot.  There's aliens and radiation and weirdness abounds.

THE MORGUE - Y'know what?  Almost no one in this movie is an actual character.  Barely anyone except Carl has any dialogue.  I don't even know how to match some of those names with characters, save for process of elimination.  So let's just get into this mess.  I have set this nightmare up *lovely* haven't I?

 When the opening titles are done with high school VCR technology, that's a bad sign.

When the opening titles are done with high school VCR technology, that's a bad sign.

THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskaliens!  I know I said we gotta get back to the 80s, but bear with me as we make this unscheduled trip to 1991 for Alien Beasts.  Believe me, this movie is worth it.  You have heard of shot on video movies, I've reviewed a few.  You've seen movies with almost no budget.  You've seen me joke about movies shot in people's back yard.  But you have seen none of these until you have seen Alien Beasts.  So let us dive right into this mess of a movie...

ATTENTION TRISKELIONS.  ATTENTION TRISKELIONS.  INCOMING TEXT UPDATE FROM CORE COMMAND.  INCOMING TEXT UPDATE FROM CORE COMMAND.  THE FOLLOWING MOVIE IS AN EXPERIENCE.  THE FOLLOWING MOVIE IS AN EXPERIENCE.  IT MAY BE DANGEROUS TO WATCH.  IT MAY BE DANGEROUS TO WATCH.  PROCEED THROUGH ALIEN BEASTS AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.  PROCEED THROUGH ALIEN BEASTS AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.

...That will make sense in a little bit, trust me.  At least, as much as ANYTHING in this mess of a movie makes sense.  I am glad I watched this beforehand and aren't watching it for the first time as I write this, or I would be lost and baffled.  More so than I am, at least.

 LITERALLY filmed in someone's backyard.

LITERALLY filmed in someone's backyard.

The movie dives right in after it's title to some action.  I have no idea who anyone is.  I don't know why they're fighting.  Why it's in someone's yard.  Why they're so far away...  Hey movie, wanna share with the rest of the class?  Can I come over there and say hi?  Anything?

I will say this...the fighting is actually pretty good?  For what it is?  I mean, they're obviously *really* grappling, and that gives it a level of realness to it.  This is what happens when you don't know what you're doing and dive right in.

The downside of it is, you can clearly hear one of the fighters, Carl Sukenick himself, giving direction during the fight.  Oooops.

We then get some shots of a family in a park, as Carl tells us he remembers, he remembers, he remembers (I AM NOT JOKING) how terrorists attacked Sarah's house, and they fought...aaaand we're right back to the backyard.

 Oh no, he saw the cameraman!  RUN CAMERAMAN!

Oh no, he saw the cameraman!  RUN CAMERAMAN!

Finally we cut to a window (?) that suddenly flashes into a negative (?!) and then some guy sitting on the couch with his head back and mouth agape. (?!?!???!??!!!)

The real crime here is, the shot of the guy, is a paused, still video image.  WHY.  WHYYYY??  This is not a movie.  This is a stillie!    And it sits on that guy for like a solid minute.

We listen to more of Carl's narration as he clues us in, sorta, that they are being attacked by strange creatures and that Neal is trying to sell their secret weapons cache, and insisting Sarah go and make sure her family is safe.  Which would be great if I had a flying fart of an idea who Neal is.

 She is trying so hard to keep a straight face through all this nonsense.

She is trying so hard to keep a straight face through all this nonsense.

Carl says, "We don't know what's going on."  WELL NEITHER DO WE.  If you gotta go talk to Joe, go do that, so we all can figure this out!

He tells Sarah the plan that he has weapons and a blue jacket for her to use in case of emergency attack, and he keeps asking if she understands.  You see that image up there?  That is her face the entire time.  Her smile changes, her eyes move around, but she never really gives any sort of acknowledgement of anything Carl is saying.

Even when he tells her that he wants her to go now, NOW...she just continues to sit there, staring off with that Kathy Ireland look of dull surprise.  Carl keeps telling her not to flip out, and I've never seen anyone so calm and out of it being told not to flip out.

 Yep, I totally buy this as the secret lair of secret agents holding a secret cache of weapons.

Yep, I totally buy this as the secret lair of secret agents holding a secret cache of weapons.

While she goes to hang with the family at the park, Carl meets with Joe at a nice little bistro...AND IT'S ANOTHER PAUSED STILL IMAGE.  It seriously stays paused this time for another minute straight.

Oh, but we do get informed that these are apparently people they've fought before, and that there are traitors on the team.  I guess that's important, if we'd actually met the team?  And maybe I'd care if I knew them at all, and wasn't told they were a traitor?

AND THEN IT SUDDENLY CUTS TO A GUY WITH AN ARROW TO THE FACE.  Which, okay, awesome.

 Dude's head was filled with red tempra paint.

Dude's head was filled with red tempra paint.

We then watch as a guy, I presume Neal, touches a rock while an old guy watches.  I presume that's Abe with the security cameras, but it looks like Carl's dad in the kitchen.

Anyways, after staring at a negative effected wall for awhile, we see Neal is now some purple goo monster, because that's the most sensible thing that's happened so far in this mess.

Following watching Neal twitching for a good long while, because this movie doesn't know what a cut is I GUESS, we get a *text screen*.  Telling us the security camera is inoperable.

In case you were unaware of this fact, or maybe because this movie has caused brain damage and you are no longer able to read at this point, Carl reads the text FOUR TIMES IN A ROW.  And then the screen sits there for another minute or two, JUST to make sure you read the whole thing.

 Grimace has had enough!!

Grimace has had enough!!

That's followed by 3 more text screens, that Carl reads twice.  I swear, this is like watching the movie version of a comic written by Brian Bendis.

Look, I won't even get into the grammar and spelling problems of these security control center's text messages.  That's just getting petty.  But they're there, oh yes.  I can let typos slide, but my gods, the egregious repetition OF EVERY SINGLE LINE is killing me.

It's also killing me that apparently all the computers in this secret lab share the voice of their commander Carl J.J. Sukenick.

We sit here dumbfounded and watch as Sarah and her family are attacked by enemy agents, some of them with painted faces that are potentially mildly offensive if not outright racist, but I suspect Carl mostly just thought they looked cool.

 Bernie Sander's secret shame; starring in Alien Beasts.

Bernie Sander's secret shame; starring in Alien Beasts.

After the family gets killed, and the terrorists make sure to tear open Sarah's shirt for no apparent reason other than breasts, we listen to them plot to infiltrate the base and...HEY THAT'S CARL'S VOICE!  HE'S A TRATOR!!  HE'S LOOKING FOR HIMSELF!!  ...Or the movie has no budget and Carl is playing a baker's dozen worth of roles.

Suddenly we're watching an enemy agent that was knocked unconcious by the radiation storm, and now under control by the alien influence.  ...Is that all really necesary?  These people are trying to steal our weapons...now they're possessed by a secondary more eviler force...still trying to do exactly that!!

But with all the repetition in this movie, I shouldn't be surprised that even the plots are being replicated by the various evil forces.

When this movie isn't sitting on a single frame for minutes on end, it's other favourite trick is to cut rapidly between one scene and another, with jarring music and sound effects.  I swear, this thing is causing an aneurysim in my brain just watching it.  The editing is a true nightmare to behold.

 Hey, there's a thing on the back of your head, let me scrape that off for ya...

Hey, there's a thing on the back of your head, let me scrape that off for ya...

Mutant Neal kills a dude, and the possesed female enemy agent gets busy trying to steal these weapons we're constantly hearing about.  You know, for a movie that is constantly telling you what is going on, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON.

But I will tell you one thing that's going on; eight minutes of watching this girl in a mask strip down and fiddle with clothing and equipment while she strips down and stands there topless.

I am not kidding, we seriously sit there watching a single shot, no cutaways, no coverage, of a topless woman just standing around fondling a toy gun and trying to put on a uniform for eight minutes.  Of COURSE this is when Carl chooses to not use his frenetic editing cutaways.

EIGHT STRAIGHT MINUTES of watching this woman pick up a thing, put it down, pick up another thing, put THAT down, and on and on.  I don't even care that she's topless.  This is POINTLESS.  This would be equally aggravating if she had clothes on.

It's like a reverse strip tease, as she stands there getting dressed, tugging up her bra, but nope, not gonna put it on yet, oh no!  Let's tug the uniform a bit, will she put the bra on now?  She's pulling it up...NO SHE PUTS IT BACK.

WHY WHY GODS WHY KILL ME NOW.

FINALLY after eight long long minutes, the plot lumbers forward into more still frames.  Joe and friends put on anti-radiation clothing to go fight the girl, or something, I'm starting to not care.

 So she goes through nearly ten minutes to put on a disguise, leaves on the obvious out of place black mask, AND IS IMMEDIATELY ATTACKED.

So she goes through nearly ten minutes to put on a disguise, leaves on the obvious out of place black mask, AND IS IMMEDIATELY ATTACKED.

I seriously have no joke for this image.  The entire situation is hilariously inane enough as is.

Oh, and on top of all that, what happens during the fight?  Joe, or whomever, tears her uniform off!  She JUST got it on, let her get warm damnit!

YES please, rip her bra off, I haven't quite seen enough of her breasts as she stood standing around for the last ten minutes.  In all the names of Corman, Kaufman, and Band, help me.

Oh right, there's other stuff going on, not that you'd know it from the last 15 minutes.  Outside, Purple Neal is still lumbering under the bridge downtown, and we're told repeatedly he is now giving off radiation, in addition to the radiation storms.  Radiation for EVERYone!

 With the amount of negatived footage, you just know Carl found a new feature on his camera, and used it to its fullest.

With the amount of negatived footage, you just know Carl found a new feature on his camera, and used it to its fullest.

And suddenly, the guy who killed Sarah is dead from the radiation I guess, and Joe has been transformed by it into another monster.  But he's NOT under the control of the alien forces.  Why?  Just 'cause.  But since he's still under his own control, he goes to destroy the meteorite that caused all this.  Well, except the traitors and terrorists.

Carl tries to fill us in more with stuff that he remembers, he remembers, he remembers, that he figured out somehow this is an extradimensional invasion (How?  When?  Oh screw it.)  But BUT! there is a 'supreme secret' no one knew.  Somehow, Neal's energy blasts somehow opened up an extradimensional portal because why not?  Oh, and a creature came through it and nobody knew it was here.  Well, SOMEone must have known for Commander Carl to tell us.

"I went on to get the rest of the team, I knew they were traitors, but I didn't know who were traitors.  I had to wait for the right time to destroy them all."  ALL all, or just all the traitors, or just kill everyone since you don't know who is who, or are they all traitors or...argh words.

 Can you imagine if this is what every military mission briefing looked like?

Can you imagine if this is what every military mission briefing looked like?

Commander Carl sits down with his team to brief them on the mission and send them off to do their thing.  He hands each member a hand grenade and gas mask, and sends them on their way.  What, this elite squad of secret soldiers only has four grenades to do their shit?

"Go out to sector 12 with this hand grenade!'  Okay, and do WHAT?  What is the plan, exactly?  Just stand there with a hand grenade until...what?  *throws hands in the air*

Apparently the plan is to send them into the backyard and we watch them fight from across the street some more.  I feel like the movie has looped around back to the beginning.

 Kids!  Would you like some lemonade??

Kids!  Would you like some lemonade??

So we sit here watching someone in a black cloak and mask whom we don't know, is this the hidden extradimensional being Neal let slip into our universe?  She beats up people we don't know, until Carl comes out to fight this person we don't know.

That is this movie in a nutshell.  People doing stuff over there, the movie.

While Carl seems to have defeated the person, they are apparently gathering up their energy to release another energy blast.  Which is so nice he tells us twice.  And while all this is happening, we keep jumping back to Carl's dad watching over the kids as they fight in the backyard.

The creature wanders in again, the group fights, and what is going on?  Is one of them the traitor?  Are they all traitors putting on a show?  Will we ever actually deal with the traitor plot?  Or is this person just one of the incredibly strange creatures who stopped living and became mixed up aliens?

 It's so nice that the fate of the world is being decided next to someone's tomato garden.

It's so nice that the fate of the world is being decided next to someone's tomato garden.

And after THIS fight, we get told about the energy blast again.  So...we fought the creature, it was gathering energy, you fought again, it's gathering again.  This movie is on repeat, isn't it?

So the energy blast goes off, and that's really just an excuse to flick the camera in and out of negative picture mode AGAIN.  Over footage of more fighting the same person.

What about the grenades?  Remember those?  Remember sending everyone out to different sectors, yet they're somehow fighting in the same spot and oh screw it.  And the traitor?  Or traitors?  And how do you know who they are?

After all this endless fighting and flickering, Commander Carl decides to go get the arrow gun.  ...I don't know what that is, but it sounds AWESOME.  Or, it'll just be a crossbow, but I'm holding out hope here people.

Oh, and remember transformed but in control Joe?  Yeah, he's still just kinda standing there.  This movie likes to lay out plots and just leave them there for days at a time.

 Nooo, my one weakness; Fourth of July sparklers!

Nooo, my one weakness; Fourth of July sparklers!

Grimace gets shot with the arrow gun, and spews grape soda, while more fighting of the woman traitor maybe person continues, and Joe continues to stand around.

While the movie gets stuck in reversal mode, Carl confronts his team and tells them he knows they're all traitors...and then tells one of them to get in there and fight.  Look, if he's a traitor, he's not gonna listen.  If he *isn't* he's gonna be pissed at the accusation and you can go suck a space rock, Carl.

It's bad enough trying to follow this movie's 'plot' as is, but it becomes increasingly more difficult by leaps and bounds with the editing, and the negative filter, and occasional cutouts to frame a shot in a diamond for some reason.

 And now the movie is letterboxed?!

And now the movie is letterboxed?!

We wrap up with I GUESS Joe destroying the meteorite which kills all the monsters, and himself, I assume?  I don't even know, but everyone goes up in flames, while Commander Carl watchs and laughs in still frame glory.

Oh, except for the hideous monster survived somehow, because why not?

And that's when Abe, sounding curiously like Carl, tells him that the extradimensional creature is COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!  So our zero slowly makes his way into the secret compound in suburban Massachusetts to stop it while it continues to mutate.

Which might mean something if we'd seen it before and knew what it was in stage one so the evolution mattered.  And he gets told to get the knife, the axe, and the blue jacket to kill it.

Is...is the BLUE jacket specifically special?  Or just weirdly specific?  Does anything matter at this point?

The movie then counts down to the dreaded portal opening and.

...

The budget ran out.

No budget is the only reason I have for what happenes next.

The movie becomes badly sketched out animated frames, because it isn't showing us what really happened.

And as if poorly drawn stick figures acting out the movie isn't enough, there's Claymation.  SUDDEN RANDOM CLAYMATION.

BECAUSE WHY NOT.

 I heard it through the grapevine...not much longer in the runtime...

I heard it through the grapevine...not much longer in the runtime...

I'm not going to just settle on a single image of this.  You get this straight up as a video of the entire sequence.  There is just so much going on here, that I just can't.

And with this, the movie crashes into a sea of inconclusive confusion and inanity, so I am done.  Enjoy the claymation.  Kill me now.

Hey, Carl!  The credits list Neal as "Neal the Traitor'!  You shoulda checked that to find the culprit!

Oh, and over the credits, Carl quickly blurts out, "Everything is destroyed, YOU WON!"  That...that is not how to conclude a story and...fuck this movie, fuck this movie right in the ear hole.

AUTOPSY REPORT

Video: Ahhahaha, this looks terrible.  Even for shot on video, it's bad.  It's washed out, it's crunchy, it's blocky, it's just plain bad.

Audio: Tolerable, but bad.

Sound Bite: Every godsdamned line in this travesty.

Body Count: Look.  I was so dumbfounded by what I was watching, I didn't even remember to keep track.  Not that it matters, they're all nothing characters.

Best Corpse: It may be a reversed image, but it looked like there was a flaming head, so that guy.

Blood Type - C+: It's got that great arrow to the eye effect, and it's at least...unique.

Sex Appeal: Hey, did you hear?  There's a woman who strips and gets dressed for almost ten minutes straight.

Drink Up!  Just...just drink up.  Crack your drink open at the start of the movie, and do not stop.

Video Nasties:

Movie Review: How can you review a movie that barely qualifies as a movie?  The story is a mess, the editing is a freakin' NIGHTMARE of epic proportions.  It follows zero rules of storytelling or movie making, and unlike Sledgehammer, it didn't managed to stumble into cool stuff besides itself.  The acting is awful, and you can tell it's friends helping out Carl, because none of them care.  This is a terrible afront against all things movie, and it gets one out of five purple aliens.

Entertainment Value: I have never stared at a movie for so many minutes just going, "WHAT THE FUCK" as much as I did with Alien Beasts.  This movie is an...experience.  It is the visual equivalent of a trainwreck you can't look away from.  The sheer fact this thing somehow got made hurts my brain, then the actual product hurts it more.  Look, I don't want to be TOO harsh on this, because there's an interview with Sukenick on the disc, and he *clearly* has a lot of problems, and that explains a lot of this mess, but even then it's clear Carl just didn't know what he was doing.  Mental problems can only take so much of the blame here.  And the fact that in spite of all that, he still made this thing, and got it produced.

The scary thing?  This movie also came with Mutant Massacre 2, which is actually an earlier (?) edit of the movie, and I presume the first MM is what Carl refers to several times during this.  And I watched that a few times so yeah, I've seen this movie a lot.  The scary thing about MM2?  It...it's actually somehow more coherent?  Or maybe I've just seen the movie so many times, it's started making sense?  Or maybe the brain damage is making it seem that way?  But while it's more coherent of a plot, it's also got a LOT more of the *flaws* of Alien Beasts.  It is loaded with WAY MORE text screens.  So on the one hand, it's a better, more followable *story* but ultimately a worse *movie*.

But both of them are hilariously terrible messed that you simply must see.  Five out of five orange aliens.