1988 / Director. Albert Pyun Movie #6
When I watch Albert Pyun's ALIEN FROM LA my eyes light up like a giddy school boy at Christmas time. Yet again, this is the stuff of my childhood. Movies like this fuel my passion for cinema. Taking queues from Jules Verne, the story redefines the legend of Atlantis. An archaeologist believes that thousands of years ago an alien civilisation landed on Earth and their space craft served as a floating city until it sank when the seas erupted from beneath. The city was lost but the inhabitants survived. When the archaeologist falls into bottomless pit while on expedition in Africa, his daughter follows in search of him. She too falls into the hole and finds herself in a weird and incredible subterranean civilisation. The initial set-up is really hokey but once we find ourselves in this fantastical undiscovered world it becomes such a wonderful ride. Visually this is about as good as Albert gets. The underworld landscapes and architecture are wonderfully conceived and the colours are vibrant and surreal. The movie plays like Wizard of Oz meets Mad Max... The music is forced at times but with such a bizarre otherworldly aesthetic it adds to the charm. The clarity of the picture on the DVD I watched was fantastic. The movie's never looked so fresh... unfortunately the DVD was modified for a 4:3 presentation and so much of the film's charisma was lost. I would LOVE (love love love) to see ALIEN FROM LA in a widescreen presentation. If I can get my hands on that, I will screen the movie for you... for free. If you love movies from the 80s like The Neverending Story or Big Trouble in Little China then you have to check this out... It's essential 80s viewing. One year and two movies later Albert returned and made a sequel, which was plainly titled JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. I will get to that shortly. What a double feature it would make!