aka XTRO: WATCH THE SKIES
(US - 1995)
Directed by Harry Bromley-Davenport. Written by Daryl Haney. Cast: Sal Landi, Andrew Divoff, Robert Culp, Karen Moncrieff, David M. Parker, Jim Hanks, Andrea Lauren Herz, Daryl Haney, Virgil Frye, Sal Ruscio, Jeanne Mori, Martin Shienle. (R, 96 mins)
In the world of late 1980s-to-mid-1990s DTV, it wasn't at all uncommon to find in-name-only horror franchises filled with at-best tenuously-connected sequels linked almost entirely by brand recognition. THE HOWLING and THE CURSE spawning numerous unrelated sequels immediately come to mind, along with multiple WATCHERS and CHILDREN OF THE CORN installments. The XTRO series is unique in that it consists of three films, completely lacking in continuity aside from the title and the involvement of some kind of alien life form, yet all share the same director: Harry Bromley-Davenport. Part of the slew of early '80s ALIEN knockoffs that included Luigi Cozzi's Italian gorefest CONTAMINATION, and sleazy offerings like the Roger Corman-produced GALAXY OF TERROR and Norman J. Warren's INSEMINOID (aka HORROR PLANET), XTRO was a British import released in US theaters and drive-ins over the spring and summer of 1983 by a pre-NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET New Line Cinema. The XTRO money shot involved a woman being impregnated by an alien creature and giving birth to a fully-grown "man" in a scene that, once seen, can never be unseen. Prior to XTRO, Bromley-Davenport's most noteworthy credit was having a hand in the script for Richard Loncraine's 1977 cult classic THE HAUNTING OF JULIA. Though it was expectedly trashed by critics, XTRO became a cable and video store fan favorite, yet it didn't lead to much of anything for Bromley-Davenport. He was MIA until he resurfaced with 1991's Canadian-made XTRO 2: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER, which had nothing to do with XTRO beyond an alien creature, and is only remembered at all today for Jan-Michael Vincent turning in another of his "visibly shitfaced" performances that were unfortunately all too common during that period of his career.
MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH) after a brief dalliance with the majors when he wrote 1988's FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD--gives it that distinct '90s Corman/New Horizons vibe more in the vein of Jim Wynorski rather than The Notorious HBD.
|"Uh, did I mention that I know Tom Hanks?"
Triboro, and it's interchangeable with nearly every other early-to-mid '90s DTV sci-fi title from companies like New Horizons, Prism, A-Pix, and Vidmark that were regular fixtures in the "Hot Singles" section of Blockbuster's new release wall. XTRO 3 marked the beginning of a partnership between Bromley-Davenport and Haney, who went on to work together on several little-seen, non-horror indie titles like the 1998 hitman comedy ERASABLE YOU and the 2001 drama MOCKINGBIRD DON'T SING. In 2011, Bromley-Davenport told Fangoria that he and Haney were planning an XTRO 4, though as of yet, nothing has materialized.