Life

★★☆☆ – (2017) – A space station crew is stalked by an alien that increases in size as it kills. Has too many moments that remind of superior films (Alien, Gravity, Species) and is nearly destroyed by a lousy script that has characters constantly saying and doing stupid things. Does have occasional tension, and the conclusion is effective even though it’s the result of incompetence.

Alien: Covenant

★★½☆ – (2017) – A space crew hones in on a beacon sent from a planet with reproduction issues. Takes a while to get going, and has plenty of slow spots, but does manage to excite on occasion. Answers questions posed in Prometheus, but not in an air tight manner. Certainly entertaining, and worthy of the franchise.

Dark Universe

dark-universe

★½☆☆ – (1993) – Scientists head to a bayou to explore the presence of an alien with human DNA. Despite a few attempts to elicit excitement in the final act, nothing that appears throughout comes close to meaning anything. Humor, sleaze, and monster activities are all lacking, though scenes of uselessness are in high supply.

Phantasm: Ravager

phantasm-v

★★½☆ – (2016) – Reggie wanders through time and space seeking his friends while trying to destroy his adversary. Works well as a continuation of the surreal series, but comes up short as the definitive outcome. Feels as though nobody will ever explain what the franchise means, and at some points gives the notion that the creators figured it was best to make one more entry while everyone was still alive. Has moments that will please Phantasm fans, but newcomers will be lost.

Queen of Blood

Queen of Blood

★½☆☆ – (1966) – A space crew bound for Mars picks up a green woman who has an appetite for plasma. A dorky experience that explains too much through assumed dialog and not nearly enough through direct action. The female-alien-breeding-eggs motif is a prelude to Alien films, but this dud certainly didn’t influence their excitement.

Planet of the Vampires

Planet of the Vampires

★★☆☆ – (1965) – Visitors to a barren planet discover secrets that turn them against each other. Some of the production aspects obviously influenced Alien, which is commendable, but the characters and story are rather bland as there’s a distinct lack of heroes and villains. Too serious to hail as goofy, yet too empty to hail as a wholly competent.