Friday, April 5, 2013

There's Nothing Out There

 There’s Nothing Out There Directed By Rolfe Kanefshy (1991)
Review By Goat Scrote
                It's Sunday night. I've been working all the live long day. I’m covered in dust, and my jeans are caked with mud and decorated with the diarrhea expulsions of an unwell goat.(Seriously, Mr. Scrote actually works in the Zoo! ed.) I'm tired and I just want to turn off my brain for a while. I settle in on the couch with a steaming mug of decaf tea in my awesome "Motel Hell" mug (thanks Crankenstein!), and I start browsing the internet for something trashy to watch. I come across a random trailer for something called "There's Nothing Out There" and it looks pretty good... in a bad sort of way... so I search for the full movie and there it is. How glad I am to live in a time and place where there is high-speed internet. If you are too young to remember when “google” wasn’t a word, you probably cannot imagine how much more convenient it has become to be a geeky hermit type with a taste for obscure cinematic trash.
                Why didn't somebody tell me this movie was out there? It was released over 20 years ago, how could I have missed this? I really had fun watching “There’s Nothing Out There”. Yes, yes, the acting is horrible, and the special effects are just a notch or so above pre-CGI “Dr. Who”. The writing is uneven but cleverly takes the low-budget limitations of the film and turns them into strengths with a funny, self-referential take on 80s horror. It’s not scary, but at its best moments it’s hilarious. The "meta-horror" humor raises this movie from a pleasantly silly little wedge of moldy cheddar to a prime hunk of finely aged camembert.
Right from the beginning, the main character recognizes horror cliches and knows that he and his pals are in trouble: "Have you ever heard the words foreshadowing? Those kids were born to be murder victims and they just paid us a visit! Don't you realize the significance of that?" Mysterious trails of green slime show up and people start to disappear, but sadly no one will listen.
                I checked online to see if there’s any particular reason this movie isn’t more widely known, and found plenty of other reviews. Other writers have already made the comparisons to "Cabin in the Woods" and "Scream". This arrived in 1990, though, six years before "Scream". It’s also distinguished by the zany Zucker-Brothers-style jokes mixed in (think “Airplane” or “The Naked Gun”, also it's a Troma Film)!. At one point the characters openly discuss the possibility that they might actually be in a horror movie. In another scene, a boom microphone "accidentally" drops into view and one of the characters uses it to escape from the alien.

Gingivitis Lazertag
                Oh, yeah, there's an alien. Did I mention that? Yes, a creepy-crawly alien descends in a ball of light from the sky and goes on a rampage, starting with a girl who runs her car off the road. Meanwhile, five young people head for an isolated house by a lake... errr, pond... for a weekend of partying. You pretty much know the rest, as the movie cheerfully rolls along well-travelled territory. Somewhere on the way a partygoer gets his face melted off by alien digestive juice. We also learn the creature can control minds with green rays that shoot out of its eyes. The funniest parts are during the buildup, as the tentacled alien picks off the partiers one by one despite the zealous efforts of the wisecracking horror movie fan. His relentless sarcasm eventually started to wear on my nerves, but the occasional good joke and the escalating goofiness of the story kept me sufficiently charmed. The hapless survivors soon learn how to defend themselves (“Nobody likes a mouth full of shaving cream”), and discover the fiendish alien is driven to mate with and impregnate human females. In the end the humans execute a bizarre plan that involves fighting the monster with mirrors, light bulbs, and an oven. Their implausible alien deathtrap works, and they can finally escape. On the way out they encounter a confused stranger lost in the woods, the first victim of the alien, and there are signs that she is very pregnant with its slimy green freak-babies. The escapees boot her ass out of the van and make for the hills.
The movie is far from perfect, obviously… if it was a slickly polished corporate product I wouldn’t be reviewing it. Even so, I thought it was jolly good entertainment and worth a look for horror fans who enjoy corny 80s horror movies and the type of self-aware genre in-jokes that are now almost expected in horror.


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