The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Alienator (1989)

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I saw this listed on Encore Action, and felt it deserved a try. It said it had Ross Hagen, which, for anyone who's a MSTie like me, is known better as Rommel from Sidehackers and Chapman in Hellcats. Upon viewing, I was pleasantly surprised to find it also had Jan-Michael Vincent, and the guy who played Calgon in Space Mutiny: a real MST3K double.

Alienator, upon first blush, appears to take place in the future. An evil dictatorship, of which Jan-Michael Vincent is a higher up, has arrested dissident Ross Hagen, and plans to execute him. Stuff goes wrong, and an apparent bleeding heart liberal, who is there to oversee the execution, seems pleased when Hagen escapes. That's when things get weird. Hagen jumps in a pod and flies to Earth. In fact, this film takes place in the present time, and the people on the ship are all aliens (aliens that look like humans). Anyway, he lands in the woods, and is chased by a buff android woman. Four teenagers run into her along with the game warden, played by Calgon. Ross convinces them to protect him and fight the android. They short circuit it with chicken wire, and think they've won. Then Hagen shows he's evil, and he somehow kills one of the kids (the most annoying, luckily) and then transports himself into his body. Not sure how it works, but fortunately for Calgon, the android chick isn't dead, and she chops off Hagen's head. Oh by the way, that liberal was Hagen's dad, and Jan-Michael Vincent had to kill him too.

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This film is bad. MST3K bad, which is fitting, because it has so many alumni (well, two). When people talk about bad movies, this is the kind of thing they're talking about. This is like on par with Space Mutiny and Future Wars. Horrible special effects, plot that makes no sense, infinitesimal acting skills: in short, very hard on the eyes. If you finish this one with your soul intact, you feel like you've done something big, like hike Mt. Whitney or something.

I was shocked to know that Ross Hagen still made movies. I figured Sidehackers and Hellcats were just passing fads for him. I guess what I'm saying is, how could he put those on his resume and still get work? But of course, if what we call work is fare like Alienator, I guess those other movies are just what the film makers are looking for.

Calgon plays a good guy in this. For those familiar with him from Space Mutiny, this may seem hard to take. What I did, to make it easier, was just simply not accept that he wasn't Calgon. It's not like the movie mattered enough for it to be an issue, and, if anything, it made it easier to take. This really was a hard ride.

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Teagan Clive plays the android, who according to imdb, is the Alienator. She's not as hot as the Latin chick (one of the teenagers), but she's intriguing. She's a female bodybuilder, and it shows in the barely-there outfit she wears. The film would've been way better if there had been some sexual tension between her and Calgon, but morons who make movies like these aren't able to fathom the kind of nuance like that that we as the viewing audience would love to see.

I'll be honest, I'm a pretty experienced bad movie watcher, and I think this may have been above even my pay grade. My buddies and I could take it, but it's really meant for experts like the pros at MST3K. If you think you're up to the challenge, then by all means, give it a shot. You may be lucky enough to find it on TV again. If not, don't spend more than $2 on it.

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