This is the unauthorized Italian-made sequel to ALIEN that was
withheld from American release for decades. Now that it’s finally
surfaced on DVD, we can at last behold the disaster that is ALIEN 2: ON
EARTH, and be appalled.
20th Century Fox was not happy about this
1980 film, and attempted to use legal action to stop producer-director
Ciro Ippolito from using ALIEN in the title. The bid was unsuccessful,
but Fox did succeed in suppressing ALIEN 2: ON EARTH (a.k.a. ALIEN 2:
SULLA TERRA and ALIEN TERROR) for years in the U.S. It wasn’t until
2011, when an outfit called Midnight Legacy released the film on DVD and
Blu-Ray, that it was made available to American audiences, and so can
now take its rightful place in the gutter, alongside better-known
early-1980s ALIEN wannabes like INSEMINOID,
GALAXY OF TERROR.
An Earth-orbiting spacecraft splashes down on a
Southern California beach. In doing so it unleashes a slimy alien
something that promptly devours a little girl’s face.
Following this a piece of alien rock is discovered in
the desert by a band of cave explorers. They stupidly take the rock with
them into the cave, where it comes to pulsing life and leaps onto a
woman’s face. Implanted with alien spores, a gooey creature bursts out
of her face and rips the head off one of her companions. Further trouble
arrives in the form of an especially acrobatic rat that attacks another
of the women.
More nastiness follows on the part of the alien, who
likes to devour peoples’ faces. Two of the group manage to escape the
menace and make their way to the surface. They drive through L.A. and
end up, for some reason, at a bowling alley, where they learn that the
alien creatures have made their out of the cave and into the city.
First of all, there’s no sense comparing or contrasting
this film with ALIEN, as it’s not an actual sequel, and nor does it work
as a rip-off.
The opening scenes fall flat, consisting of “character
development” that’s rendered all the more pointless because there are no
characters to develop, interspaced with poorly integrated stock footage
from actual space flights. Things unfortunately don’t get much better
The cave scenes, this movie’s reason d’etre, are
repetitive and poorly lit (it’s a fact that aside from THE DESCENT
cave-set horror movies rarely work). There are also too many shots of
the alien what’s-it bursting out at the camera (anticipating the early
eighties 3-D craze, which was comprised largely of cheap and trashy
movies like this one).
The gory bits are inspired--with a close-up of the
alien bursting through a woman’s eyeball being a standout--though not
enough to excuse the awfulness of everything else. To add further
annoyance, the film is padded rather blatantly with lengthy shots of
people running or driving, along with extremely slow pans across mundane
surfaces that fail to build suspense or maintain interest. As for the
English dubbing (a requisite in Italian exploitation cinema) it’s as
distractingly awful as can be imagined.
FYI, future director Michele Soavi is a featured cast
member, and proves rather conclusively that he’s better off behind the
ALIEN 2: ON EARTH (ALIEN 2: SULLA TERRA; ALIEN TERROR)
Director: “Sam Cromwell” (Ciro Ippolito)
Producer: Ciro Ippolito, Angiolo Stella
Screenplay: Angelo Mattei, Mario Molli
Cinematography: Silvio Fraschetti
Editing: Carlo Broglio
Cast: Belinda Mayne, Marc Bodin, Robert Barrese, “Benny Aldrich” (Benedetta
Fantoli), “Michael Shaw” (Michele Soavi), Judy Perrin, “Don Parkinson” (Danilo
Micheli), Claudio Falanga