Film (1986). New Line/Smart Egg/Sho films. Directed by Stephen Herek. Written by Herek, Dominic Muir, with additions by Opper. Cast includes Billy Green Bush, Scott Grimes, Don Opper, Dee Wallace Stone and M Emmet Walsh. 86 minutes, cut to 85 minutes. Colour.
Small furry carnivorous Aliens with voracious appetites and large teeth (very clearly modelled on the creatures in Joe Dante's Gremlins ) besiege a farmhouse in Kansas and are driven off with the help of alien bounty-hunters. This wholly derivative film has some charm and competence, however, and was a not disastrous debut for director Herek, who went on to make Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). The sequel, Critters 2: The Main Course (1988; vt Critters 2), directed by Mick Garris, has all the sparkle of a second-generation photocopy, and demonstrates nicely how the 1980s video market had such an insatiable appetite for teenage Horror movies that even imitations bred imitations. It was Garris's first film as director, though he was already known as a writer on the television series Amazing Stories. Two further straight-to-video sequels followed. Critters 3 (1991), directed by Kristine Peterson, 81 minutes, reprises the beasties in an apartment block setting. Critters 4: Critters in Space (1992), directed by Rupert Harvey, screenplay Joseph Lyle and David Schow, 90 minutes, continues to star Opper as chief critter-hunter, and also stars Brad Dourif. This last instalment, still low-budget, takes place on a Spaceship, and can claim to be the most genuine sf episode of the series, but is in other respects only slightly superior to the second and third. The usual homages to Alien (1979) occur. [PN]
see also: Monster Movies.
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