Saturday, March 7, 2009

Alien Trespass @ WonderCon 2009

Not all of the films presented at WonderCon on Saturday were big blockbusters. The set up for the Alien Trespass panel and movie was familiar, but different from any I've experienced in person. Our intro was memorable -- a reel setting up Alien Trespass as a "real" 1950s sci-fi movie that starred some beloved actors from that era.

According to the reel we watched, Alien Trespass was never released due to a bitter contract dispute. The film was locked away in the studio vaults and eventually forgotten about. Film aficiandos thought it was lost forever until it was discovered by a pair of hapless construction workers not long ago.

Familiar faces such as Robert Patrick, Dan Lauria and Eric McCormack talked about how thrilled they were that the "classic" sci-fi flick their "long-gone relatives" had starred in had been unearthed. In Eric McCormack's case, the star of Alien Trespass was his "grandfather," M. Eric McCormack, lovingly dubbed "Merick" by his fans in the '50s.

The set up and the deliberately low-tech, true-to-the-period scenes we saw definitely set the tone for what to expect from the film. As director R.W. Goodwin (The X-Files) told the audience, the film isn't a spoof of B sci-fi movies, it's a loving, winking homage to them.

What we saw of the film certainly looked fun, but the obstacle this film faces is a question of audience. Namely, who is the audience for a film like Alien Trespass? Is it the sci-fi fans who are looking forward to the effects-heavy Star Trek film? Is it the generation that grew up watching the original '50s sci-fi films? Is it the fans who've put flicks like Free Enterprise and Ringers: Lord of the Fans on the map?

According to the film's official website, Alien Trespass didn't show in theaters, but was screened at WonderCon and a Fangoria convention. But maybe that's for the best since its natural home feels like a DVD that you watch during a movie marathon with your best buds for a good hour-and-a-half of fun, retro entertainment.

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