Without Warning (aka It Came Without Warning) (Greydon Clark, 1980) Part 2 in a series of collaborative Love/Hate Reviews

posted in: Duane, Jocelyn, Joint Review, Review | 0

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A giant alien comes to the backwoods of Earth to hunt long pig.

Jocelyn:  I hate science fiction, I hate aliens & I hate outer space. That being said, I hate this fucking movie. It has no plot beyond what I mentioned in the synopsis and I was being generous. The alien isn’t shown until the ass end of the film & while I can give an appreciative nod for the inclusion of Kevin Peter Hall (who did amazing work in Predator) this particularly ill-conceived alien merely stands for about 30 seconds. (Oh no! He’s so..…tall?!) In lieu of any real alien-action they decided to throw pancakes slathered with pubic hair, ketchup & slime on everyone. Let me tell you something folks, if Cameron fucking Mitchell makes it a point to get killed off in the first 5 min of the movie; this is going nowhere but down. And to add insult to injury you’re forced to endure David Caruso in super short shorts that showcase his chalk-like ginger-tipped stick legs. Oh, how I wish that I could unsee this entire abomination.COSDS - Without Warning (2)

Duane: Blasphemy! This movie is fucking awesome! Admittedly I am rocking a huge childhood fondness for the film, some parts actually scared the shit out of me as a lad. Cameron Mitchell adds some serious street cred – the guy was in Blood & Black Lace, for fuck’s sake! Not only does he amp up the awesome factor of Without Warning, he provides some serious social commentary about the sissification of America. The word needs to be spread! Don’t forget both Martin Landau (The Being, Ed Wood) and Jack Palance (Young Guns, Panic in the Streets)  chewing the scenery at regular intervals too. We’re talking some serious star power here!  David Caruso is a dick so it’s good that he’s essentially unrecognizable in this otherwise I’d have put my foot through my TV. I always liked how the alien is shown very sparingly until the last 20 minutes of the movie, it adds to the mystery of just what the fuck is sending those nasty flesh eating jizz pancakes at everyone. The reveal in the house when you actually see him after about 15 minutes of buildup is an effective piece of filmmaking, in my opinion. Not to mention that hiding-in-the-tool-shed part right after.  Realistically, this is a unique slasher film with an original premise that’s not unlike films such as The Burning or Friday the 13th. Yeah, I said it.COSDS - Without Warning (1)

J: Wow. This is NOT a slasher film. If anything this atrocity is closer in theme to Predator which is also not a slasher. And no, I didn’t forget that any of those guys were in the film – Landau & Palance did Alone in the Dark together which is head & shoulders above this snail’s pace crap-fest. (& it rocks the inclusion of the ever-loved Donald Pleasance) Cameron Mitchell’s claim to fucking fame is Blood & Black Lace! He spent more time starring in garbage – some of it entertaining garbage; I’ll give you that i.e. Space Mutiny, Supersonic Man & Kung Fu Cannibals but have you watched Memorial Valley Massacre, Night Train to Terror or any of the knock-off boring as hell “action” movies starring Frank Stallone or Robert Ginty in the 80s? Jesus. Mitchell would phone-in any role that was offered to him, his inclusion provides no more street cred than standing on Main St. in Anytown, U.S.A. I think this is purely a case of you refusing to see it for what it is because you’ve got sentimental pie-eyes about it.COSDS - Without Warning (3)

D: I’m sorry, all I heard was Cameron Mitchell was in Mario Bava films and then it’s all a bunch of white noise…

Those pancakes slash those motherfuckers with reckless abandon! One could do a LOT worse when looking for a slasher film than this. Which brings me to my only real complaint and that would be the lack of the obligatory nudity that the 80s “forced” upon us all. Sure, pretty much every human being in this film is at the very least unfortunate looking but they could have softened the blow with a little T&A. It’s always bothered me that when the one girl is hanging in the shack that the camera seems to do everything in its power to *almost* show us her chest but never pans down far enough. How hard would it have been to throw us a bone? At least it would have taken away from her face.COSDS - Without Warning (4)

What about those gore effects? I thought the little pancakes sticking those nasty little red probes into people was quite satisfying, and I never got tired of watching it happen to these poor fools. The bodies in the modesty-shack were quite convincing too.COSDS - Without Warning (6)

J: Let’s not even get into the debate that there’s a huge difference between sword & sandal Bava & giallo Bava. That’s bush-league, I won’t even go there.  I’ll give you that Landau & Palance are fairly watchable on their worst days but there’s no plot & we feel nothing for the characters but extreme offense. Everyone is unappealing, unlikable & unknown to us.  They throw a group of random nobodies our way & then immediately start killing them off. (some off-screen which I would think would upset you since that’s typically your #1 complaint!) The pancakes are decently bizarre/gross enough & what little effects are on display aren’t bad either; it’s just so god damned draining to watch! Every kill is via sloppy-pube-pancake; every kill is while someone is walking or running away. It’s tedious! Tits would have been a welcome inclusion!  Having to watch David Caruso’s mouth touch someone else’s mouth is vomit inducing & only served to make the movie that much more painful. Why did the chippy with the rack have no visible damage? My copy is open matte so you can see her little towel-of-modesty. Seeing her tits for even 5 seconds would’ve made this infinitely more enjoyable. Christ, I’d even settle for Landau’s cliché’d unstable-war-vet titties.COSDS - Without Warning (8)

D: Mmmmmm…. Bava…

I have to defer to your wisdom about the off-screen kills – and you’re absolutely right, I HATE that shit with the fury of 1000 suns. That brings my number of complaints about the film to a concrete 2, but I do feel the film is solid enough to carry a couple superfluous pancake deaths considering the kills that remain are typically quite drawn out and plenty disgusting. And who in fuck cares about the characters in a slasher film? Oh strange looking blonde girl, we hardly knew ye…COSDS - Without Warning (9)

Director Greydon Clark has made quite a few films I really enjoyed (Black Shampoo, Satan’s Cheerleaders, Skinheads, and Joysticks to name a few).  They’re all over the map genre-wise but I think he’s had some pretty unique ideas, despite some of them being pretty off the wall conceptually. I concede that his stuff isn’t for everyone though.COSDS - Without Warning (11)

J: Ugh. This review is getting ridiculous. You’re in love with it sentimentally & not because it’s a solid flick. If this were anything else you’d be bitching up a god damned storm about how it’s not sleazy/sexy/bloody enough. I’m not gonna say again that THIS IS NOT A SLASHER FILM. It’s a d-grade sci-fi horror that deserves every *single* walk-by-and-ignore that it got on video store shelves throughout the 1980s.COSDS - Without Warning (22)

J/D: We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. If you’re into really campy horror and have a high tolerance for slow pacing, Without Warning might be right up your alley. Despite the sci-fi slant, at least there are no space zapper guns.

“AAAALLLLIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!”

 

Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:

Jocelyn
NS-1

Duane
NS-4

 

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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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