Directed by Greydon Clark [Other horror films: Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977), Wacko (1982), Uninvited (1987), Dance Macabre (1992)]
I saw this alien flick once before, and I recall having an okay time with it. Watching it again, I don’t know what I was on, but while Without Warning isn’t a movie without potential, I certainly felt that the overall experience was pretty dull, bolstered only partially by some big names.
The only two names that are really worth mentioning are Jack Palance and Martin Landau (who, somewhat amusingly, also co-star a few years later in Alone in the Dark). Of the two, I think I preferred Landau’s character, but both were decently solid. I particularly liked Landau here due to the fact his character dealt with P.T.S.D., which led to some low-key emotional moments, and though he’s one of the primary antagonists, I certainly felt bad for him.
As far as the sluggish pace is concerned, though, Palance and Landau can’t really help. Much of the film just follows two kids (Tarah Nutter and Christopher S. Nelson) are they try to flee from an alien species, which look like frisbees, only with teeth and tendrils.
Actually, before I mock the film for the sleep-inducing plot, I will give them kudos for the special effects. The frisbee aliens sort of look silly, but when they latch onto someone, their tendrils sink into their skin, and a mixture of blood and pus is soon visible to all. It wasn’t over-the-top gruesome, but I did think that it was impressive, especially in a movie that really doesn’t have much else to boast about.
Still, watching two teenagers run from these aliens, and encounter dangers from the townspeople (in the form of Landau), it just wasn’t that engaging. The teens themselves weren’t particularly memorable, and overall, I was just consistently bored until things picked up a bit at the end.
For the life of me, I can’t remember exactly why I enjoyed this the first time around. Without Warning certainly had potential, but the final product (which runs at almost an hour and forty minutes) is just too sluggish and void of interest. Might be worth a look just for the famous faces, but as far as alien/horror hybrids go, despite the decent alien design, this isn’t much up there with the best the genre has to offer.
This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested, check out below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this movie.