The Terror Within – 1989 – An Alien Clone
I saw The Terror Within for the first time on rental VHS back in the day. It was a cool movie back then, I really liked it. It had a cool monster and the story was more or less Alien all over again. It’s not set in space though, but underground. Same difference I think. the important thing is that it’s a closed space where you really can’t escape from. Of course, neither is true if you think about it. In Alien, it was possible to escape via an escape pod, and in The Terror Within it’s possible to escape to the surface.
The surface is not very habitable though. It’s not only a movie about a monster chasing after some people in a closed compound, it’s also a post-apocalyptic tale. Something has happened on the surface and it’s more or less a barren wasteland. There are underground installations where humans still live. But in this case, it’s a very limited number of people down there. This makes me think it’s a science command really and not a survivor’s nest. You could compare it to the underground installation in George A. Romeros’s Day of the Dead, but in that case, there were more experiments going on I think. Here I get the impression that the people are just monitoring the above world for threats. I guess it’s a less complex and thought-through script.
Anyway, the above world is not totally inhabitable. It’s just that there are mutated creatures living there that are really powerful predators and it seems not possible to co-exist with them on any plane. Furthermore, they seem to have a strong wish to impregnate human females. Of course, here it differs a bit from Alien, where the alien offspring came from an egg and then was transferred to another sort of creature before the newborn exploded out of the tummy of that poor guy. We all know the scene right?
In this case, I think that the conception is made in a more conventional way but we never get to witness it. Lucky us I guess, because I don’t know how that would have looked on camera. My guess is that it would have looked rather silly with late ’80s special effects and practical rubber suits for the monster. Nevertheless, a monster is born from a human host and it grows rapidly. You recognize the growth rate too right?
Once this creature is out. The film more or less focuses on how to kill the thin, how to survive it, and how to escape being its next victim. As I said, back in the day I thought this was a very cool movie. When I revisited it just now I saw it from a little different angle. The rubber suit worn by the gut playing the monster is rather silly but still kind of charming I guess. It’s not very terrifying and the story is rather flat. The characters are two-dimensional at best but it’s still a somewhat entertaining piece to watch. Maybe it has a lot of sentimental value for me but I think it’s enjoyable even though I see all the flaws these days.