Titan Find 1985

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Coming way, way too late as an Alien rip-off, Titan Find (also known, boringly, as Creature) is the story of a bunch of astronauts investigating, well, a find on the moon of Titan. The universe is a big and scary place holding all kinds of unpleasantries in its unexplored dark corners. Certainly there are some in our universe. In 1985 one of the most unpleasant monsters was caught on film here. No, not the bug-eyed alien who waddles about the various corridors, but the great Klaus Kinski who manages to be both worse than all the other actors in Titan Find, and yet at the same time infinitely better.

The plot is pretty straight forward: before the opening credits a couple of scientist-astronaut types discover something too dimly shot to see but might be some kind of ancient coffin. Instead of taking it seriously they decide to  take snapshots of themselves sitting on it. This does not end well.

A rescue craft is sent to find out what happened, but so is another ship from a rival company – its all about trade agreements in the future as anyone who’s seen the Star Wars prequels will know. Okay, they’re set in the past but you know what i mean, give someone a spaceship and suddenly all they want to talk about is salvage rights, intellectual property and tax breaks.

Anyway, that’s not important to us. Our heroes, if you can call them that, land, badly, on Titan and then stumble about for an hour and a half acting like fools, being either taken over by mind controlling parasites or bitten by a big man in a rubber suit. I know that Ridley Scott’s Alien was a man in a rubber suit but at least he had the decency to hide him in shadow to keep up the illusion. Not so here. Here, we have this chap:

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Okay not a great still. It looks just like an overweight Alien there, but trust me he’s not. When he moves it is very apparent the performer inside is struggling a lot with a damned heavy suit. He waves and staggers about, banging into walls, looking as threatening as a fish finger.

Don’t worry though, he’s not alone. He has a bunch of small sluggy things which can attach themselves to victims and make them behave oddly. Of course, this being a low-rent Alien rip off, means that if the victim is female she will get naked to tempt a fellow crew member to their untimely death. So equality is alien to people on Titan in the year 2070, not surprising really.

The parasites make their victims pretty weak in the flesh as well as of the flesh. A quick yank and someone’s face will come off:

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And then possible explode:

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There is a fair amount of gore on display here and, apart from the creature himself, its pretty good. Also the model effects of the spaceships and planets aren’t bad either. Plus the main ship is called the Shenandoah as most horror-sci fi movies have ships with odd names. This is all very good news because it makes up for the atrocious acting. I’ve seen a number of these folks in other stuff so can tell you at least half of them are perfectly capable. Here they are clearly not making an effort. They rarely seem to be acting like they are on anything other than a studio set. We all know this movie is nonsense, and I’m sure they all knew it too, but come on, make an effort! I presume they were paid for their troubles. Well I hope so anyway.

Anyway after a while the true find of Titan shows up; Klaus Kinski from the rival ship appears with a wild look in his eye and he immediately acts everyone off the screen. While he is in a space suit like the rest of them, he mostly seems to be performing while eating a big bit of cake. Its a classic acting maneuver, eat or play with something so that even when someone else is talking the audience only pays attention to you. Kinski really didn’t need to do this though. He’s completely riveting in the way that only a mad german genius can be. He never addresses any of the male leads, constantly letching over the female crew members instead. This might be part of his character, in his next scene he grabs the female security officer’s arse, but I don’t think so…

In fact, I think Kinski only has two scenes in the film, despite the prominent billing. He’s discovered, eats cake, rants at the ladies for a bit. Then the next scene he’s grabbing butt, and then… well after that you only see him as mutated-alien-zombie-like Kinski, and he never says another word. I don’t think this is him at all, but another actor in a blonde wig pretending to be Kinski. It doesn’t look like him even under all the make up. Either due to his legendary temper he walked, they could only afford him for a day, or he got thrown off the set for trying to bond too much with the female actors. Or the male ones. He doesn’t look too fussy with those intense staring eyes, standing on the end of stalks the way they do.

Please don’t think that all this criticism of the film, or of Kinski for that matter, has anything to do with my enjoyment of it though. It was immensely good fun in a way that only cheap-ass Alien rip-offs can be. There are stretches of exposition dialogue which sucks the life out of it at times, but its never too long before someone walks down a dark corridor and dies horribly. Or someone gets naked. Or one of those lovely space ship models floats across the screen. Oh yes, the survivors even decide that the only way to kill the creature is to electrocute it like that old film they once sore with an intellectual alien carrot in it. No film which references The Thing From Another World can be that bad. Okay this film is bad, but all the more fun for it.

 

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