ALIEN TERROR ** Mexico / U.S.A. 1971 Dir: Jack Hill, Juan Ibáñez 74 mins
This version on the Boris Karloff Collection DVD I watched is the heavily edited home video release from 1987. The original film ran for nearly 90 minutes so my review is solely based on the version I seen on this DVD collection. Opening in 1890 in the the European village of Gudenberg, Professor. Mayer (Boris Karloff) and his assistant Isabel have created a powerful ray machine. When one of the powerful rays is accidentally shot in to space it attracts the attention of an alien civilization who see this new human invention as a weapon that could destroy the universe.
Arriving on Earth the alien (who appears to be dressed like a member of a 1970’s progressive rock band), takes over the mind of simple sex murderer Thomas so he can infiltrate Mayer’s home. Once in the home Mayer is soon taken over by this alien presence and together he and Thomas now both taken over by the alien seek to destroy the ray machine before humanity destroys itself. Before the alien can destroy the machine though Mayer fights off the alien presence and destroys the machine himself, realizing the true power such a machine could have in the wrong hands. This is one of the final four films that Karloff would make in Mexico and would see his long career end with a whimper. This is the best out of the four final films he made though with directors Jack Hill, Juan Ibáñez and at least this one has a more stable and consistent story. Karloff even appears throughout this movie longer then he did in the other three Mexican movies he made. Although it has its plus points throughout this film also has a few rather negative and blatant faults. One being a scene where Karloff is dubbed over horrendously with someone who doesn’t even sound like him. The dubbing issues continue though throughout for various actors…and I say actors very loosely. There is also some obvious swapping for actors in some scenes most notably when Thomas is attacked with a glass bottle you can see its a stunt double, mainly because the actor playing Thomas has short hair and the stunt actor has long hair. Of course having a sex murderer on the loose through the film you can expect to see cleavage busting out of the tight clothing of his victims and if your a fan of Christa Linder (DAY OF ANGER) you get to see her taking a very bubbly bath. Glaring technical issues aside the film is entertaining and can be considered a highlight in the later part of Karloff’s career.
Review by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins