Hello, and welcome to The Unsung Cinema.
Un-sung (Uhn-suhng) Adj. 1. Not uttered or rendered by nging. 2. Not celebrated in song or verse; not praised or acclaimed.
It's a series I do whenever I'm bored and feel like writing a review of some movie that is not generally known to the public and desperately needs to be. Today I'm doing a film that is a genuinely good horror movie. While Slumber Party Massacre II (my last review) was enjoyable for its campiness, this movie is enjoyable for being a well-acted film with great special effects, an original plot-line, and genuine creepiness. This fantastic flick is known as...
Without Warning starts off like your typical horror film: Four teens, Greg (Christopher Nelson), Sandy (Tarah Nutter), Beth (Lynn Theel), and Tom (a young David Caruso), head up to the lake for a little R&R. Joe (Academy-Award winner Jack Palance) warns the four-some at a gas station to stay away from the lake. Given that this is a horror movie, they decide to ignore his warnings and go anyway. When they reach the lake, Tom and Beth decide to stay in the van for a little sex. When Greg and Sandy look in the van, they're gone so they go into the woods to look for them. They come across an old shack and discover the bodies of Tom and Beth, as well as some other corpses. Realizing they should have take Joe's warnings into conderation, they hop in the van as flying extraterrestrial leeches attempt to break through the windshield!
They drive to the local bar and meet Sarge (Academy-Award winner Martin Landau), who has also seen the leeches. Everyone else thinks they're crazy. Joe also admits to them that he has seen the leeches as well as the alien that is throwing them at people. He also tells them that it is hunting humans for sport. Now it's up to them to destroy the alien evil that has arrived on Earth.
When watching Without Warning, comparisons to Predator are eminent. Not only is the plot milar (with an alien hunting humans for sport), but Kevin Peter Hall not only portrayed the alien in Without Warning, but the alien in Predator. Bedes these two milarities, the two couldn't be any more different. The acting is truly great, thanks in no small part to Jack Palance's role as Joe and Martin Landau's phenomenal turn as Sarge. The rest of the cast does a fair job as well. The special effects were stupendous, and the flying leeches were incredible. When you eventually see the alien, it does look kind of lly, but its reveal was so great I'm not even going to post a picture of it.
Without Warning was filmed in three weeks with a budget of $150,000, and $75,000 of that went to Martin Landau and Jack Palance. It's easy to see how this was so, because a lot of it was shot in the woods. There's a great scene at the bar that's reminiscent of the Twilight Zone episode, Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?, where Sarge believes the alien is in disguise as a human and in the bar.
I often spend nights just pondering, Why isn't this movie on DVD? Truly scary scenes make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up; not propel you out of your seat when things are constantly popping out at you. It's a lot better than those so-called "horror" films coming out today, where most of them are awful remakes, glossy MTV styled movies, or torture porn. Without Warning has some truly creepy scenes, especially near the end 30 minutes. The VHS is incredibly hard to track down, and if you by chance see it at your used books/movies store or at a flea market, don't hetate to buy it no matter what the cost.
Or, instead of hunting for that beloved VHS, watch it here: