The Day It Came To Earth (1979)
Lots of low budget indie movies are fun. Sometimes their own sheer inanity becomes their most endearing factor. Things like The Slime People, The Blob (the original) or Biohazard. Then again there are some Indies that just don't know when to quit (ie., The Milpitas Monster where, so the story goes, the entire town pitched in to help make the movie) or should never have gotten started in the first place. That is what brings me to tonights' subject matter.
Beware of any independent movie where the actors choose psuedonyms like "Wink Roberts" and "DeLight DeBruine". Watch out for a movie withg a budget so VERY low they couldn't afford John Carradine, Aldo Ray, Neville Brand, or even David Carradine and had to settle for George Gobel as the guest star. Also, be afraid, be very afraid, of any film where a character can say the word "Geegagoo" and keep a straight face! That is what we have here. The Day It Came to Earth was directed by Harry Thomason, who a few years later with his wife Linda would helm such successful TV shows as "Designing Women". None of that future talent is in evidence here.
The plot of this one-trick pony involves a meteor that falls to Earth and splashes into a mountain lake. What no one knows is the lake is also the final resting place of a guy who was bumped off by local gangsters just recently. Quicker than you can say "Gee, I wonder if the meteor will have some unknown chemical property that will bring the dead guy back to life?" he comes crawling out of the slime sporting a skull face, tattered clothes and dragging his chains behind him like a ghastly parady of Jacob Marley.
Meanwhile, some college kids who saw the meteor land go looking for it to scare some points with their professor ("Lonesome" George Gobel). They find fragments of the interplanetary visitor and take them back to the University. While they are doing this ol' skullface is visiting his former cronies and letting them know he did not appreciate the set of cement boots they gave him for a going away present.
Oddly enough, the plot allows the monster to kill off all his enemies before his path crosses that of the kids. Late in the movie we realise that the meteor is the source of the energy that keeps Mr. Wormfood moving and somehow he senses this and goes after all the missing pieces. One of the characters dubs the walking corpse a "Geophysical Gaseous Goon" or "Geegagoo" for short. So does the meteor monster wipe out the kids? Do the plucky kids save the town? Does George tell any one liners? Sorry, this is one time you'll have to find out the way I did. See the movie. I think you will be surprised.
Even with a running time of 77 minutes, the padding shows. We get a prolonged scene of some pretty coeds dancing in their babydoll nighties and endless scenes of people walking through the woods and talking...and talking...and talking! You begin to wish Don Dohler had directed the movie; At least then there would be more action. The walking corpse is pretty good with his sopping wet clothes, seaweed hanging off his arms and the constantly clanking chains. Some scenes are so carefully photographed that the fact that he is wearing a Don Post "crimson skull" mask is not too obvious.
The "meteor crashes into a lake and creates a monster" idea was a short lived genre also spawning The Crater Lake Monster where a dinosaur egg is hatched by the heat a falling meteor generates and hatches out a Pleiseosaur to attack a small town; and Fred Olen Ray's first film The Alien Dead where a meteor not only sinks a yacht but brings the drowned people back as flesh eating zombies. In 1997 a Japanese movie called The Living Dead in Tokyo Bay revived the genre briefly. A meteor lands in (you guessed it) Tokyo Bay which contains way more drowned bodies than I would have thought. They all come back as zombies and it's up to a black leather wearing, karate kicking, gun packin' babe to stop them all. fast paced with a 60 minute running time it is a live action manga that does not disappoint.
If you must sit through The Day It Came to Earth, it can be had on video from DCS Video Screams in Bellefontaine, OH. Check out their online catalog at www.videoscreams.com. You'll be glad you did.