Star Crystal (1986)

Star Crystal (1986)

…In Space scientists have discovered a new life form…they are about to wish they hadn’t…

A team of explorers on Mars find a curious rock and take it back on board their shuttle, where the rockĀ  opens up to reveal a crystal and begins to drip goo onto the deck, eventually forming into a small creature. Two months later, the shuttle comes to dock at space station Alpha Seven with the entire crew dead after their air supply was cut off. An investigative team heads on board the shuttle to find out what went wrong and repair it. But whilst on board there is a problem aboard Alpha Seven and it explodes, leaving the shuttle and emergency crew stranded. But that is the least of their problems as the creature is still on board and, now much larger and guided by the crystal, begins to kill them off.

 

OK I’m making the film sound way more fun and sinister than it needs to be with that last sentence. Truth be told, Star Crystal is anything but fun or sinister. One of a various number of straight-to-video Alien rip-offs that were released in the 80s (a time when basically any script got the green light!), Star Crystal sets about feeding the crew of a small ship to a gloopy alien monster in banal fashion. You’ll have been there, got the t-shirt and such like. But you’ll not have had a t-shirt quite like this.

It beggars belief at how amateurish it all comes off. There are low budget films, there are micro budget films and then is this. Star Crystal is easily the most low budget of all of the Alien knock-offs and whilst similar films were able to conceal their limitations as best they could (I’m thinking of the Roger Corman duo of Galaxy of Terror and Forbidden World), there’s no hiding from the lack of cash here. The shuttle is one of the smallest sets known to man – in fact there only seem to be three sparsely-decorated sets in the entire film. The production designer couldn’t even come up with a ship which featured proper walkways or corridors either. Instead, the characters have to crawl around in small shafts to get from one room to another. It’s a perplexing decision which means you’ll see a lot of crawling around as the characters go from room to room…and I mean a lot of crawling. I’m guessing that someone tried to mimic the claustrophobia ventilation shaft scene from Alien but they failed miserably.

The budget is the least of its problems though. Star Crystal has a glaring flaw with the way that its narrative unfolds. We get introduced to the explorers on Mars in the opening few scenes and you assume they will be the main characters and feature in the main story. But they are not long for this world and then we head across to Alpha Seven where more characters with speaking parts are introduced. Granted, a few films feature false starts and then get on with the real characters after the prologue so there’s no difference here. But then these characters are disposed off as well and we’re left with the crew on board the shuttle. So that’s a third set of characters within the first ten minutes. It’s not like the characters matter anyway as the acting is wooden and fails to garner any emotional reaction from the audience.

However, I will say that the creature design actually surprised me. I was expecting some large, black-skinned, multi-toothed acid-spewing monster which is the norm for this sub-genre – in fact the poster looks to feature such an alien. But what you actually get is a conceptually-decent idea which is ultimately let down by the shoddy special effects. This is a creature which is basically a pile of goo (or milk, if the first shots of it leaving the crystal are to go by) and needs organic material so that it slowly begins to construct its form, eventually taking on something we are more familiar with (two eyes and a mouth but still a large mass of gloop). It somehow manages to grow huge tentacles with claws on the end to hook onto its victims and the resultant deaths are bloody, in a nasty low budget way.

It’s at this point that I’d usually end my review as I don’t want to prattle on all night but there is more which warrants critiquing. Star Crystal features a nonsensical twist about three quarters of the way in. It’s insane. If you want to know more, then read on. If not skip the spoilers below and head straight to the final verdict.

 

***SPOILERS***

In one of the most bizarre twists I’ve ever seen, the alien is revealed to be called Gar and after reading through the ship’s computer and discovering the Bible, it becomes a born-again Christian and apologies to the two survivors for killing the rest of the crew! Then Gar asks to work with the humans so that they can both use the ship to get home. Cue loads of overblown soppy child-like music which wouldn’t seem out of place in The Neverending Story as the film shows us a montage of the alien and humans working and living together for the duration of their journey. It’s an utterly incomprehensible turn of events – did the two survivors just completely forget the horrible melting deaths that their friends suffered at this creature’s hands?

 

***END SPOILERS***

 

Star Crystal was dead on arrival anyway but that final third twist is just so insanely out of this world that it would take a complete madman or genius to think of it. I can’t suggest anyone sit through this to see what I’m referring to so you are better off just reading my spoiler section! It would save you a lot of hassle. The worst of the Alien clones by a warp factor.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Related Movies

Post a comment