(US - 1989)
Directed by Thierry Notz. Written by Thomas M. Cleaver. Cast: George Kennedy, Andrew Stevens, Starr Andreeff, Terri Treas, John Lafayette, Tommy Hinckley, Yvonne Saa, Joseph Hardin, Al Guarino, Butch Stevens. (R, 88 mins)
It doesn't scale the glorious cult movie heights of New World classics like 1980's HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP or 1981's GALAXY OF TERROR, but by the lesser standards of late '80s, Concorde-era Roger Corman, THE TERROR WITHIN isn't bad. Owing a lot to both ALIEN and HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, the film is set in a post-apocalyptic America of an unspecified future--not too far in the future, if the presence of mullets are any indication--after a plague has wiped out a good chunk of mankind. A small group of military scientists have taken refuge in an underground lab in the Mojave Desert, occasionally scouting the land above for food and dodging "Gargoyles," hideous mutant creatures that run rampant. During one excursion to find the remains of two of their team killed by a Gargoyle, David (Andrew Stevens) and Sue (Starr Andreeff), along with David's dog Butch (played by Stevens' own dog, who gets onscreen credit), find a shell-shocked young woman named Karen (Yvonne Saa) and bring her back to the lab, much to the concern of the group's leader Hal (George Kennedy), after a Gargoyle discovers their secret entrance through a dilapidated shed and knocks out their main security camera to the outside. Head doc Linda (Terri Treas) runs some tests and finds that Karen is expecting, but the pregnancy is accelerating. During an attempted C-section, the baby claws its way out of Karen, the mutant result of a rape by a Gargoyle. The mutant spawn escapes into an air vent and grows at a rapid rate, occasionally emerging from a hiding place to pick off the survivors one by one in sequences that will in no way remind you of ALIEN.
WATCHERS II and he served as second unit director on the same year's FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND, Corman's one-off return to directing after a 20-year hiatus--before moving on. He directed a pair of obscure war dramas with 1994's FORTUNES OF WAR and 1997's GOODBYE AMERICA, and the latter remains his last credit on IMDb.
THE TERROR WITHIN opening in Toledo, OH on Feb 24, 1989
(US - 1991)
Written and directed by Andrew Stevens. Cast: Andrew Stevens, Stella Stevens, Chick Vennera, R. Lee Ermey, Burton Gilliam, Clare Hoak, Larry Gilman, Barbara A. Woods, Rene Jones, Lou Beatty Jr, Gordon Currie, Brad Blaisdell, Cindi Gossett, Brewster Gould, Pete Koch, Butch Stevens. (R, 85 mins)
Two years after THE TERROR WITHIN, Andrew Stevens and a noticeably older Butch returned to reprise their roles, wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland for THE TERROR WITHIN II. The sequel provides some backstory that the first film didn't really address, namely that a nuclear disarmament treaty led to covert experiments in biological warfare, resulting in a plague that wiped out most of mankind, creating the creatures that were called "Gargoyles" in the first film, but are now referred to as "Lusus." David is eventually joined in his nomadic existence by a young woman named Ariel (Clare Hoak, from Concorde's MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH remake). The sole survivor of the first film (apparently, Terri Treas' Dr. Linda died in the desert after they got away), David is en route from the Mojave stronghold to a similar underground lab in the Rocky Mountains run by Von Demming (R. Lee Ermey, on the heels of a similar role in Juan Piquer Simon's ENDLESS DESCENT), with the intent of bringing along a Lusus vaccine derived from a cactus extract. David and Ariel fall in love and after one night of passionate desert lovemaking, she's convinced she's pregnant. They eventually run afoul of Aunty Entity-type despot Elaba (Cindi Gossett), which leads to Ariel being kidnapped and strapped to a rape stand as a Lusus has its way with her. David and Ariel eventually make their way to Von Demming's compound, where it's discovered that Ariel is indeed pregnant with David's child, though a mutant sperm from the Lusus has infiltrated the egg and caused yet another human/creature hybrid. Meanwhile, a finger severed from an earlier Lusus attack on the Rocky Mountain lab is regenerating an all-new Lusus as David, Von Demming and the rest--including Kyle (Chick Vennera), treacherous scientist Sharon (Barbara A. Woods), who's created just enough vaccine to hoard it for herself, and head doc Kara (Stella Stevens, Andrew's mom)--are hunted down one by one by Ariel's rapidly growing offspring, a half-human/half-Lusus monstrosity that looks a lot like Dr. Pretorious in Stuart Gordon's FROM BEYOND (1986).
THE FURY. He then headlined a pair of high-profile NBC miniseries with 1978's THE BASTARD and its 1979 sequel THE REBELS, as well as a 1979 made-for-TV remake of the 1938 classic TOPPER that paired him with then-wife Kate Jackson. He co-starred in two Charles Bronson movies (1981's DEATH HUNT and 1983's 10 TO MIDNIGHT) and played a psycho stalker obsessed with TV news anchor Morgan Fairchild in 1982's THE SEDUCTION, but big-screen stardom never panned out and Stevens spent most of the '80s on short-lived TV shows like CODE RED and EMERALD POINT N.A.S. He also had numerous guest spots on shows like THE LOVE BOAT and MURDER, SHE WROTE, as well as a recurring role as J.R. Ewing underling Casey Denault on DALLAS. It was during his time on DALLAS from 1987 to 1989 that Stevens first began dabbling in the world of low-budget B-movies, with 1987's SCARED STIFF and a pair of Spanish actioners with director Jose Antonio de la Loma, 1988's COUNTERFORCE and 1989's FINE GOLD. Stevens would ultimately find his niche as a leading man with the advent of the straight-to-video erotic thriller thanks to 1990's video store mainstay NIGHT EYES. Thus began a series of what could best be described as "Stevensploitation," leading to three sequels, with 1992's NIGHT EYES 2 and 1993's NIGHT EYES 3 pairing him frequent co-star Shannon Tweed, as the duo would also star in 1994's SCORNED, 1994's ILLICIT DREAMS, and 1995's BODY CHEMISTRY 4: FULL EXPOSURE, the Concorde franchise that Stevens inherited with 1993's BODY CHEMISTRY 3: POINT OF SEDUCTION. Stevens also starred in the Tweed-less 1997 sequel SCORNED 2, making him the DTV erotic thriller equivalent of compulsive franchise-joiner Jeremy Renner (THE AVENGERS, THE BOURNE LEGACY, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE).
|Clare Hoak between takes of the human/Lusus-hybrid birth scene
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