Tag Archives: pod people

Extra-Terrestrial Visitors

Extra-Terrestrial Visitors


Today’s feature is an E.T. knockoff called Extra Terrestrial Visitors, through it is better known by many as The Pod People.

The Pod People was directed and co-written by Juan Piquer Simon, who was also behind such films as Slugs: The Movie, Pieces, and The Rift. His co-writer was Joaquín Grau, who previously worked with Simon on Los Diablos Del Mar and Mystery On Monster Island.

The film featured two credited cinematographers: Ricardo Navarrete, a camera operator who worked on Solarbabies, Conan The Barbarian, and Guns of the Magnificent Seven, and Juan Mariné, who shot Pieces and The Rift for the director, Juan Simon.

The editor for The Pod People was Antonio Gimeno, who also cut The Werewolf vs. The Vampire Woman, Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires, and Slugs: The Movie.

The memorable music in The Pod People was composed by the duo of Michael Demer and Librado Pastor, neither of whom have any other significant film score composition credits.

The effects work on the film was done by Pedro Camacho (Slugs: The Movie, Pieces, Zorro) and Basilio Cortijo (Battle of the Bulge, The Trojan Women, Cthulhu Mansion).

The plot to The Pod People is immensely complicated, and follows a number of different threads. The main plot follows a young boy who discovers a mysterious egg in the woods, which he takes home with him. It soon hatches into a juvenile alien with telekinetic powers, leading to an assortment of shenanigans. Elsewhere in the woods, a traveling rock band comes across the adult alien that laid the egg, leading to an entirely separate series of shenanigans (that involves a lot more murder).

The movie was featured under the title of The Pod People in the third season of the cult television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, which has significantly contributed to the film’s popularity, and spread the use of The Pod People as its primary title.

Speaking of which, The Pod People is known by a ton of different release titles: Extra-Terrestrial Visitors, Tales of Trumpy, The Return of E.T., Visitor, and The New Extraterrestrials among them.

The reception to The Pod People online is significantly poor, likely due to its popular association with Mystery Science Theater 3000. It currently sits in the IMDb Bottom 100 with a rating of 2.1, and has a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 15%.

The Pod People suffers immensely from a lack of focus, as it tries to balance two movie concepts that are diametrically opposed to each other. When it comes down to it, this movie should either have been primarily a child-friendly romp with a baby alien, or a cut-and-dry sci-fi alien slasher, but not both. This is clearly a case where the crew assumed the flick could be everything to everyone, but it just couldn’t pull it off.

The music throughout The Pod People is absolutely awful, but it is also probably the single biggest reason the movie is so memorable. The ambient synthesizer tones that play throughout the film are only matched by the ridiculous rock tune, “Hear The Engines Roll Now,” and MST3K crew managed to have fun mocking all of it.

extraterr1To the crew’s credit, the alien designs in The Pod People are certainly not what you would expect, and wind up looking genuinely unique without breaking the budget of the movie. The elephant-Sasquatches are still cheesy without any doubt, but you aren’t going to confuse them with any other movie monsters out there.

Bad editing and poorly paced screenwriting combines to keep The Pod People from ever getting a steady flow or rhythm to it, which makes it all the harder to sit through. The two main plot threads take a long while to converge, and the movie bounces between them a bit too much until they do ultimately wind up combining. I’m sure the crew didn’t realize at the time just how jarring it would all wind up being, but you would think that the editing would work to salvage the product moreso than it did.

As far as plot details go, I still don’t understand why Trumpy is telekinetic. The power doesn’t come into play at any other point, apart from to showcase some cheesy effects, and I can’t think of any practical use of the power for an adult alien. Trumpy’s mother also never seems to use it, which brings into question whether the adult aliens have the power at all.

Overall, this can be a pretty fun bad movie to watch if you have the patience to get through the halfway point. Once the two main plot lines converge, the pacing gets more bearable through to the conclusion. That said, without the MST3K commentary, the stretch of the movie between “Hear The Engines Roll Now” and the plot convergence is nearly unfathomably boring. That said, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode on the movie is one of their best, and is worth checking out.


IMDb Bottom 100: The Quarter Mark, Part 3

IMDb Bottom 100: The Quarter Mark, Part 1
-SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2
-Going Overboard
-Manos: The Hands of Fate
-Birdemic: Shock and Terror

IMDb Bottom 100: The Quarter Mark, Part 2
-Space Mutiny
-Turks in Space
-Pledge This!

Pod People

Most MST3K fans are likely familiar with the movie “Pod People”, a poorly constructed and confused mess of an ET ripoff film that was famously featured on the show.

I almost feel like this movie could have been decent. If someone has taken a keener eye to the script and done some better camera work, this might have been a perfectly mediocre movie. As it stands, it is an incredibly bad, confused mess of a film. There are some laughs to be had at the poor special effects and horrible acting, but in general the writing is too unfocused to keep your attention throughout the movie. The famously bad recording studio scene is about the only part of this movie worth watching, save for the poor effects during little Trumpy’s tirades. The plot just takes too long to get moving, and there are too many threads introduced too early in the movie. If you can stay awake through the first half-hour though, you are golden for making it through the rest of this mind-numbing movie.

About the only thing I can credit to this movie is that it was easy for the MST3K crew to tear to shreds. Their riff on this one is one of the better episodes of the show without a doubt, and is the only way I could possibly recommend watching this movie. Otherwise, it is just an incredibly boring time killer.

Girl in Gold Boots


I have been ruminating on this one for a while. I initially procrastinated writing out my review on this so that I could read up more on the fascinating man behind this film, Ted V. Mikels. There is certainly a lot of interesting reading about his career and personality, and he has a lengthy filmography of crap to sift through.

Now, after sitting on this movie for a while, I think I actually like it.

This isn’t as good of a bad movie as “Manos” or “Plan 9”, but it really is an enjoyable watch if you are hunting for a B-movie. The acting is all way overdone, which is exactly what you want to see in a film like this. The same goes for the writing and dialogue, it all just hits the spot for what this movie is. The editing mistakes are actually pretty entertaining as opposed to jarring, which is ultimately a boon to the entertainment value of the film.

Last but not least, I think I have actually come to like the music in this movie. The whole film relies on the intermittent musical numbers, which alternate between Critter’s sappy acoustic bits and the backing band’s rock(?) numbers. The main theme is actually pretty catchy, and the others can actually grow on you if you aren’t careful. Kind of like “Hear the Engines Roll Now” in Pod People, they are sort of endearingly terrible. Honestly, I think that sums up the whole film: Endearingly Terrible.

House of the Dead


To start off with, the movie isn’t unwatchable. It is bad in just about every way, but it isn’t particularly difficult to sit through. That is about the only thing positive to say about it.

The practical effects in this movie are somehow not over the top enough, believe it or not. There are times when zombies are briefly on screen when I’d swear they didn’t have any make up on the extra at all. The ones that they do put effort into came out way too cartoony if you ask me, and i just didn’t buy them. I actually think in this aspect Boll was a little too loyal to the games, whose zombies are a bit too sci fi and not very horror.

Speaking of loyalty to source material, this is a mighty inconsistent movie. Boll goes so far as to splice in direct shots from the game for transitions, but can’t be bothered to actually set the movie in a house. I actually appreciate that he tried to give the movie a video game feel with the death screens, but he didn’t do those consistently with every character. Even the few things he does decently wind up being used ad nauseam or inconsistently applied, which dulls down the whole movie. There were times I would groan at yet another bullet shot, and be let down when I anticipated a death screen.

The special effects are typical Uwe Boll schlock. A ridiculous amount of slow motion is used, along with inexplicable fireballs and CGI gunshots. That’s basically a trade mark of his movies at this point.

The acting is actually not particularly bad for low-level horror movie, with the exception of “Captain Kirk”, who I swear starts drifting into a Russian accent at one point. In general, these people had to do what they could with the script, which wasn’t doing them any favors.

Speaking of the script, the writing is just miserable here. The dialogue is all pretty forgettable, but the story really disappoints. We are treated to the legend of the island well past the halfway point, and the truth behind the island is all crammed into the last few minutes. At that point, why even bother? Nothing bothered me about this quite as much as the botched attempt at a “The Reanimator” ending. For all I can say about “The Reanimator”, the last scene / shot of that movie is awesome. This movie tries to do the same thing, but decides to cut that crucial shot, instead just telling us what happened over the course of the helicopter ride home via voice over narration. There are so many better ways to end the last couple of minutes of this movie that it is actually infuriating to watch this happen. You don’t even have to tweak the outcome or story in any way, and you could dramatically improve the effect of this ending. Did Boll not put any basic thought into his finale at all? “Show don’t tell” ring a bell, dude? Surely he’s seen “The Reanimator”, or he wouldn’t be blatantly ripping it off here. Maybe he just needs to take better notes the next time he makes a movie.

Speaking of blatantly ripping off other movies, there is a baffling and unnecessary sequence that directly rips off “Fellowship of the Ring”. Remember when Frodo famously hides behind the log when being chased down by the Nazgul? It is a really fantastic sequence that is impressively creepy and builds a lot of tension. Well, this movie decided to do that exact same shot, but without any of the ambiance or tense buildup that made the original sequence so excellent. It is painfully obvious that the scene was taken from LOTR today, so I can’t imagine how blatant it looked for people watching this in 2003. Just a really lazy move by Boll to throw that in, especially since it contributes nothing to the movie. The character who is hiding is caught and killed literally seconds after the shot concludes.

“Fellowship of the Rings” scene

“House of the Dead” scene (1:28-2:15)

There are so many more things to complain about in this movie, but I don’t really want to write a novel on how much Uwe Boll sucks. This movie has rocketed from #25 to #16 since I froze the IMDb bottom 100 for this project, which doesn’t surprise me. This movie has the internet’s nerd rage and Uwe Boll’s unpopularity as both a filmmaker / human being working against it, which is obviously going to show up on a democratic ranking. For what it is worth, the movie is watchable. It is worse than a typical Hollywood box office bomb, but not nearly as bad as the stuff you would find in MST3K. It probably belongs on an objective list of the worst somewhere, but this is honestly mostly a victim of the democratic nature of the Bottom 100. I could actually recommend this one to people who enjoy crappy horror movies. There isn’t much in the way of laughs to get out of it, but it is an interesting one to dissect in order to see how it ticks.



I watched this movie twice, just to make sure I caught everything.

This is a very bad movie. A very bad, amazing movie.

The trailer alone lays out most of what you need to know. The attempted flying effect in this movie is just pathetic, to the point of being absolutely hilarious. It is something that you need to see to believe. Aside from that, there are a number of other really unimpressive attempts at special effects, that mostly come down to shaking the camera. It does not come out well.

The acting is unsurprisingly sub-par, but Donald Pleasence does ham it up a bit. There are a number of moments where you can tell that he knows how bad this movie is going to be, but he still puts a little bit of effort into it. It has to be hard to effectively act like a sinister villain when you are having to peek out from behind a giant ridiculous mask prop the whole movie. I’m amazed he put any effort at all into this movie, especially since he apparently listed it as the worst movie he was ever involved in.

The story makes very little sense. I’m still not clear on why the main character is a “puma” man, given his powers involve teleportation, flying, and faking suicide. Are those typical puma behaviors that I wasn’t aware of? I also particularly like how his powers are granted from aliens in a way that is directly hereditary(?). I’m going to try not to put too much thought into that, but I will note that the alien spaceships look like the Monarch’s Cocoon from “The Venture Bros.”, or alternatively like leftover Christmas ornaments. Clearly a lot of effort was put into this film.

This movie has been moving up the Bottom 100 with all of the grace and stealth of an actual Puma. It popped into the top 20 just recently, and is sitting at #19 currently. I am actually perfectly happy with that placement at this point, because this movie is a fantastic brew of various incompetencies that churns out a genuinely entertaining product. It is absolutely terrible in every technical aspect I can think of. It is a hilarious experience to watch it confusedly stumble its way through the run time. This is one that I may honestly go back and watch again just for the fun of it.