Review of Christopher R. Mihm's "The Late Night Double Feature" - by Jason D. Wittman
Originally posted at: http://jasondwittman.livejournal.com/34010.html
Some time ago, I reviewed a movie called "Destination: Outer Space," a direct-to-video effort made by local film director and producer Christopher R. Mihm. Well, Mr. Mihm has actually made more than one such movie (go to www.sainteuphoria.com to see his entire filmography), and among them is one he calls "The Late Night Double Feature," which I will now review here.
As its title implies, "The Late Night Double Feature" is actually two smaller movies glued together to form a single night's entertainment (the whole thing clocks in at 90 minutes, which means each movie is like an hour-long TV episode on average). The titles of the individual movies are "X: The Fiend From Beyond Space" and "The Wall People."
"X: The Fiend From Beyond Space" gives us a familiar story: a spaceship in the midst of a lengthy voyage somehow gains an eldritch alien passenger, which slowly kills off the crew one by one. So people viewing this flilm will immediately think "Alien." In all fairness, though, "Alien" itself has a precedent in the form of 1958's "IT! The Terror From Beyond Space" (whose most famous cast member is Dabbs Greer, who went on to play Reverend Alden in "Little House on the Prairie," and the older version of Tom Hanks's character in "The Green Mile"). So really, Mihm's movie is just the latest in a series of retreads. But "X" also pays homage to at least one other classic sci-fi movie: when the first character we see awakens from cryogenic sleep, she is in a tube similar to those found in 1955's "This Island Earth." The monster in "X" is also reminiscent of the Metaluna Mutant from that movie.
The characters in "X," though, are all their own. Don't expect any Oscar-winning performances here; Mihm works with a strictly voluntary cast, and his goal is to make movies that are entertaining rather than good ("Army of Darkness" is a perfect example of this kind of movie). Most prominent among the characters is Daniel R. Sjerven as the good ol' Southern boy ship captain. "X" is a nice short movie that tells a neat little story.
"The Wall People is a bit harder to classify. If pressed, I would say that it more resembles an episode of "The Outer Limits" than a 1950s B-movie. It tells the story of a scientist, widowed for some time, whose son suddenly disappears from his bedroom without a trace. The police, as you might guess, find no trace of the kid, and the father, now twice bereaved, is intensely distraught. So when he tells a couple of his friends that he thinks his son has been abducted by aliens from Pluto, they understandably think he's gone off the deep end. But guess what?
To say more would spoil the story. I'll just say it comes to a satisfactory ending. And if you're into low-budget 1950s sci-fi movies, I would recommend "The Late Night Double Feature" to you.