BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Alien from LA (1988) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive - Blu-Ray Review

Alien from LA (1988) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

Once Upon a Time there lived a young woman named Wanda (Kathy Ireland.  You know the name.  Look up the number!) and she really wanted to change in order to please her surfer boyfriend.  She can change!  She wants to change!

"Alien from LA, newly restored and scanned in 2K from the original 35mm film elements by Vinegar Syndrome, has everything you might expect from its often absurd and otherworldly situations"


But when Robbie (Don Michael Paul) dumps her with a long list of humorous reasons, a downward spiral of self-doubt has her asking questions that ought not be answered while she works at the local burger joint.  It only takes a few short minutes for her to grate on our nerves with that squeaky voice of hers, but none of it keeps her down for very long.  

Even falling into a blue abyss only stuns her momentarily! This Valley Girl has places to be! 

Poor Wanda Saknussemm, she’s lost everything and everyone. She’s been rejected ever since she was a child.  People either leave her because of her glasses, her voice, her walk, and, well, you name it.  Her story is a tragic one and, in the opening moments of Alien from LA, she looks to the sky and pleads for God to make something happen in her life.  Anything to make her feel wanted by someone.

No matter how hot Wanda is without those nerdy glasses of hers, that voice has us all covering our ears.  Make it stop!  Yet, God answers her annoying squeak by sending her on an unplanned mission to find out just where her archeologist father, Professor Arnold Snaknussemm (Richard Haines), is in Africa.  Or has he died?!  She must know the truth in his mysterious disappearance!

Suddenly, a hidden city located at the center of the earth - built by the mythical Atlanteans - makes itself known to her and she (warts and all) is thrust in the middle of a mystery involving aliens, ancient secrets, and temple puzzles.  She even has a guide in the form of a miner, Guten "Gus" Edway (William R. Moses).  But can she survive the underground and all of its STRANGENESS as she finds herself the object of unwanted attention from almost everyone?Alien from LA (1988) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

Alien from LA, newly restored and scanned in 2K from the original 35mm film elements by Vinegar Syndrome, has everything you might expect from its often absurd and otherworldly situations.  It’s stupid.  It’s fun.  It’s comically over-the-top and full of genre mash-ups you really don’t expect as Wanda discovers that everything that made her nerdy in Malibu now makes her desirable here in the subterranean steam-centered jungle and discovers a feast of friends as unusual as she is, including Charmin' (Thom Matthews) and Mambino (Deep Roy).  Wrapped within a very Wizard of Oz-like fable, Aliens is up to its neck with cinematic influences.  Thankfully, it also stands on its own.

Directed by the one and only maverick of cult mayhem Albert Pyun (Cyborg, Nemesis, The Sword and the Sorcerer), Alien from LA is both ridiculous in its far-out explanations of aliens and their infrastructure and full of quick humor in its dialogue, even if nothing about this mystical Z-grade fairy tale ought to work.  In his hands, all of it gels together to make for a cinematic adventure that no Saturday afternoon is going to mind.  

All of Pyun’s influences are on display here.  From Bladerunner to RoboCop and beyond, Alien from LA displays them all proudly and, as one might expect from this dollar-sized budget, it is all as intentional and as outlandish as it sounds as Wanda becomes a specimen for the Atlanteans to dissect and study!

Are you looking for a girl with big . . . bones?!  If so, Alien from LA has what you need.  The cheesy flick is now on blu-ray thanks to Vinegar Syndrome’s brand-new restoration.  The special limited edition embossed slipcover (designed by Earl Kess) is limited to 6,000 units and is only available here at VinegarSyndrome.com.

3/5 beers

 

Alien from LA (1988) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- May 28, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Wanda’s famed archeologist father has been missing for years. Out of the blue, she receives an unexpected letter from her father’s colleague in Africa informing her that his disappearance is due to his presumed death after falling down a bottomless pit. Deciding to make the transcontinental journey in the hope of finding him alive, Wanda flies to Africa only to end up stumbling down the same pit as her father. Once at the bottom of the hole, she discovers that it’s the gateway to a lost subterranean civilization - Atlantis! Unfortunately, the Atlanteans don’t take too kindly to visitors from the Earth’s surface…

Video:

Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive, Alien from LA looks filmic with its high grain factor.  It is truly impressive, adding a layer of depth to the fun Z-grade shenanigans of the underworld.  Neon colors are cool.  Black levels are textured and Ireland looks fine as ever in high definition.  The film is dominated with reds and greens that spark with strong colors.  It’s a cheap film, for sure, but the simple backgrounds - sometimes complex city scenes -  burst from the transfer with new details and a nice level of clarity.  Black levels are solid and skin tones are natural. This is, after all, a dark film. There are lots of dark scenes; thankfully, the lines hold their edges. Shadows are defined and the film has a new depth previously unseen.  The alien work is especially rippled with new clarity that makes it look as textured as it sounds. 

Audio:

An English Stereo track provides all the steely-eyed sounds from the subterranean world!

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

An intentionally absurd late 80s cable TV mainstay from Cannon Films, helmed by beloved cult filmmaker, Albert Pyun (Radioactive Dreams, Nemesis), Alien From LA stars actress and model, Kathy Ireland (The Player) in her breakout role, along with William R. Moses (TV’s JAG) and Linda Kerridge (Fade to Black). Vinegar Syndrome presents this wonderfully wacky sci-fi comedy on Blu-ray, newly restored in 2K.

  • Making a Fairytale - an interview with director Albert Pyun
  • Putting the puzzle together - an interview with actor Thom Mathews
  • Audio interview with actress Linda Kerridge
  • Reversible cover artwork

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars


Film Details

Alien from LA (1988) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
87 mins
Director
: Albert Pyun
Writer:
Judith Berg; Sandra Berg; Albert Pyun
Cast:
Kathy Ireland; William R. Moses; Richard Haines
Genre
: Sci-fi | Comedy
Tagline:
Venture to the Core!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm looking for a girl with big bones."
Theatrical Distributor:
The Cannon Group
Official Site: https://vinegarsyndrome.com/products/alien-from-l-a?_pos=1&_sid=8fed223bb&_ss=r#
Release Date:
February 26, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 20, 2019.
Synopsis: Wanda’s famed archeologist father has been missing for years. Out of the blue, she receives an unexpected letter from her father’s colleague in Africa informing her that his disappearance is due to his presumed death after falling down a bottomless pit. Deciding to make the transcontinental journey in the hope of finding him alive, Wanda flies to Africa only to end up stumbling down the same pit as her father. Once at the bottom of the hole, she discovers that it’s the gateway to a lost subterranean civilization - Atlantis! Unfortunately, the Atlanteans don’t take too kindly to visitors from the Earth’s surface...

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Alien from LA (1988) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

 

Alien from LA (1988) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

 

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