Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Laserblast Massacre: Nightbeast (1982)

Nightbeast (1982)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Tom Griffith, Jamie Zemarel, Karin Kardian

When I covered the direct-to-video slasher Dead Hunt (2007) a few years ago, I never thought I'll be reviewing another one of low-budget filmmaker Don Dohler's filmography until I came upon Nightbeast (1982), a Troma-released micro-budget horror piece of the aggressively cheesy kind. 

Something of a tribute to 1950s scifi monster flicks, with the ferocity and sensibilities of a Golden Age 80s slasher, Nightbeast follows a random alien crash landing into Earth and starting a murder spree because reasons. Like, really, for the first twenty minutes, this thing in the spacesuit with the face of a hairless grinning gorilla and teeth that never heard of dental plan just whips out a laser gun and starts vaporizing anybody it sees, except for a couple in the woods and the father two two boys. Those people got mauled to death instead!

After one too many reports of a something falling from the night sky and townsfolk getting vaporized, a sheriff and his female deputy rallied up a small group to investigate the scene, only to be met hostility as the alien easily lay waste on them. Surviving the ordeal, the sheriff, his remaining deputies and a couple of other yokels plot out their next move, much to the chagrin of their mayor who doesn't want to evacuate the town due to some big event he's planning.

Oh, and there's a guy named Drago who's apparently a douchebag causing problems and strangling some women.

Much like the rest of Dohler's filmography, Nightbeast is thousands of miles away from being what many would consider a good movie; plot is non-existent and there is a noticeable lacking of good performances, a decent script, or solid dialogue, and then there's that awkward sex scene between  a pale, permed and mustachioed dude and an over-tanned woman, both presumably in their 40s to 50s. Its all painful to look at, and a bit testy to watch since it did drag a bit once we reach the forty to fifty minutes of the run, but this awkwardness can also be seen as this movie's charm, as like many so-bad-its-good horror movies.

Basically, what Nightbeast lacks in better scripting, acting and story is made up for its energetic set-pieces and overall openness to how silly its plot is, whether it's scenes of the alien is massacring people with its laser gun, a random bad guy attacking people coz he just felt like it or townsfolk doing their darnest to look busy and invested to the danger posed by their alien visitor. The movie no short of momentum in keeping up its over-the-top elements as entertaining as possible and it is something you can admire even if, again, the near absence of budget and skills tend to get in the way once in a while. Gore is still chunky and red, the kills are high in numbers, it has a score done by a young J.J. Abrams (No, really!) and it all ends with a fun note of a showdown that cues in some extra bodies for good horror fans like us.

A film made with true indie spirit, Nightbeast (1982) may not win any Oscars or total recognition from the more uppity folks, but it will always find a home among appreciative horror fans who love a good simple monster movie.

1 male vaporized with a laser gun
2 males vaporized with a laser gun
1 male found mauled to death
1 male had his guts clawed out
1 female lifted and mauled mostly offscreen
2 boys vaporized with a laser gun
1 male vaporized with a laser gun
1 male vaporized with a laser gun
2 males vaporized with a laser gun
1 male clawed on the face
1 male vaporized with a laser gun
1 male vaporized with a laser gun
1 male implied torn in half
1 female strangled to death
1 male had his arm clawed off, killed
1 male clawed
1 male clawed to death
1 male found with his gut slice opened
1 female murdered offcamera
1 male had his head torn off
1 male shot through the back with a shotgun
1 male mauled to death
1 male clawed
1 male electrocuted to death
1 alien electrocuted to death
Total: 28

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