Thursday, 4 August 2016

"Alien 2 : On Earth" - UK BD review

When is an Alien sequel NOT an Alien sequel? When it’s “Alien 2 : On Earth”. Probably better known under its old UK VHS title “Alien Terror”, 88 Films recently released this cheap and cheerful 1980 Alien knock off to UK Blu-Ray, and with this being a guilty pleasure of mine, couldn’t resist snapping up a copy.

 A group of pot-holers are setting off on an expedition to catalogue a group of caves within the Colorado mountains. On the way, news reports start coming in that a group of astronauts returning to Earth have disappeared from their space capsule (the relationship between this and our pot-holers adventures will be revealed later). 

Climbing down into the caverns beneath, one of them brings along some strange blue rocks he found strewn all over the floor by the entrance. Only to discover that these are no ordinary geological samples, but some kind of alien spores, which quickly hatch out, grow to an enormous size then start attacking the group. 

Trapped in the vast labyrinth of caves, they have to try and find the way back out before they’re all killed, but even if they do escape, what awaits for them above? 

Directed by Italian director Ciro Ippolito under the psuedoname Sam Cromwell (who looking at his IMDB credits, doesn’t seem to have produced anything else of particular note) a full 6 years before James Cameron’s official sequel. This low budget knock-off, which seems to borrow a number of ideas from a couple of the Quatermass films, is actually quite good fun if you like cheesy Italian horror films fromn the early 80s. 

It is interesting to note that Michael Soavi (Director – The Church, The Sect) has an acting role in this as Burt (the caver who curiously brings a type-writer down with him). Whilst lead actress Belinda Mayne went on to star in Krull and the Dr Who episode “Delta and the Bannermen”. 

The film had previously only been released on a limited edition US DVD and Blu-Ray (as well as some dubious grey market German labels), making this UK release from 88 a very welcome addition to their catalogue. 

Extras on the disc include… 

Interview with Eli Roth (12mins) – The Director of Hostel discusses his love for the film.
Special effects test footage (12mins) – a selection of unused out takes of the special effects shots (no sound)
Theatrical trailer
Trailer real – trailers for other 88 Films titles. 

The case also contains a reversible sleeve, featuring new artwork on one side and the Italian theatrical poster art on the other. 

If you love low budget Alien knock offs, you’ll love this, which makes an excellent companion piece to the similarly themed “Contamination”. However, a couple of niggly points about this release…. 

It seems they have used the same print as the previous US release from Midnight. Which uses the Italian language credits (so the end warning “You Could Be Next” which displays before the end credits is rendered unintelligible, unless you speak Italian of course). Plus the intro and outgoing music fades in, missing out the epic “Taa-daa” present on the old VHS versions. Also, the end scene of Belinda Mayne running through an empty city was shown in a purple hue in the original version, whilst its presented here in natural light (not sure if the purple hue was intentional on the original release of course). 

What I would have liked to have seen was optional English and Italian titles with optional Italian dialogue (only the English soundtrack is present here) and the music played normally over the beginning and end credits, without the fade in (so we get to hear the “Taa-daa”).

But these quibbles aside, this is still an excellent BD release. Picture quality is superb (so much so, that the difference between this and the grainy NASA stock footage is now extremely apparent) and I would heartily recommend picking this one up.

Buy the UK BD from


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