The Video Nasties #151 – Xtro (1982, Harry Bromley Davenport)

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‘Think of that foot as your face and smile.’

It’s our first British Nasty since Inseminoid back in 1981, and guess what – it’s an Alien rip-off with weird extraterrestrial rape scenes. What was with the Brits in the early 80s that made them think that Alien was good, but needed more sexual assaults?

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The good news is that Xtro is one of the craziest, fastest paced and just plain mental movies on the Nasties. It feels for all the world like director Harry Bromley Davenport thought he would never get to make another film, and so threw literally every idea he’d ever had into this one.

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Don’t believe me? Within the first 20 minutes, we have an alien abduction, a child waking up covered up in blood, an alien landing on Earth, killing three people and impregnating a woman who then gives birth to a fully grown man.

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That’s the first twenty out the way. The alien itself looks absolutely terrific, even though it’s just someone in makeup doing a crab walk.

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It’s wisely kept in the shadows, but looks freaky in the quick shots we get of it. Things slow for a few minutes as we move to a miserable, rainy British city to follow our protagonists, the wife of the abducted man, their son and her new lover.

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The return of the husband threatens to tear the family apart, and we get some kitchen sink British drama of the sort you’d expect to see on Eastenders, only with added homicidal clowns.

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Presumably influenced by Poltergeist, toys play a big part in the film, my favourite being when the kid (who has developed alien powers – don’t ask) turns his GI Joe figure into a life size killing machine, to take revenge on the old lady who killed his snake. Are you keeping up?

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Xtro is a truly unexpected surprise, particularly as we hurtle towards the end of the Video Nasties. I’m glad I haven’t totally lost the will to live by now, and it’s all thanks to films like this, where a woman is attacked in a lift by a clown with a rubber hammer and then hung up in the bathroom to incubate alien eggs.

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The best British Nasty? Well, we still have one to go, but somehow I doubt G.B.H is going to offer up much competition…

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