Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MR Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor

Movie: Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor, originally titled Deadly Spawn II: Metamorphosis
Directed by Glenn Takajian
Release date 1990
Genre Science-fiction horror film
Country USA

Developed by mostly the same creative team responsible for the cult classic little horror B-movie The Deadly Spawn, Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor even started out under the title of Deadly Spawn II: Metamorphosis!

It started out as a direct sequel to "Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn" (to use the complete title). Before it basically became a spiritual successor to that film.

Still produced by low-budget horror partners Ted A. Bohus, Dr. Ron Giannotto and Glenn Takajian (with the first one the creative force behind Deadly Spawn and Metamorphosis, and the third one directing this film), and written by Glenn Takajian. With a cast mostly composed of unknowns.

They came back with a much bigger budget this time, thanks to the distribuors behind, CMV Laservision and Vidmark Entertainment.

For this sequel in all but name they went for something different, something bigger and more ambitious. Think of it as a B-movie take on John Carpenter's The Thing!

The story revolves around the Talos Corporation. A research facility where scientists have been able to obtain samples of alien life to study!

There's a little twist that has no real purpose early on: turns out it's not really alien creatures, but artificial life created in other labs. Why is that detail necessary? Probably to justify the effects the FX team wanted to play with (a Thing-like creature unlike the Spawns from Deadly Spawn).

Anyways, the defense department wanted a couple of scientists to find a military application for these misshaped creatures, instead the lead scientist gets bitten.. and he starts rapidly mutating! His girlfriend tries to slow down the process and calls in some help, but soon the man is no more... instead all that is left is an horrible creature roaming the corridors!

And the first person the monster eats is this lab guard!

His two daughters and this dorky guy decide to come by at night, the next day, to investigate his disappearance.

Carnage ensues as special government agents, the scientist woman and the trio of kids try to put a stop to this metamorphosed creature and survive the lockdown...!

Oh, and let's not forget the film is told via this strange side-narration exposition until the flashback catches up with the current plot.

Metamorphosis was always supposed to be a sequel to the 1983 film The Deadly Spawn! During production it was always refereed to as "Deadly Spawn 2: Metamorphosis". It was shortened to Metamorphosis when they went with another direction with the film, and quickly added "The Alien Factor" subtitle when they discovered there already was a similar-titled movie. Why does this series keeps having weird issues with their titles?

Deadly Spawn was a surprise hit with genre fans, despite a very modest budget. It was made with barely any money! While the budget for the sequel was still very small compared to other productions, they could now aim for something more ambitious, mixing good old practical effects, animatronics, claymation, stop-motion, miniatures and all kinds of other effects!

As a direct successor to The Deadly Spawn, it even features the same type of creature. The film appears to explain the monsters as yet another creature from outter space. But in a big cop out move, they're revealed to simply be mutations created in a lab. I think the team behind the special effects really wanted to come up with more creatures and some guy going through all kinds of weird mutation (including the little "frog" thing from the beginning of the film which grows up into a huge ugly monster in the epilogue - exactly like in Deadly Spawn's twist), so they probably added that little detail to distance the film from Deadly Spawn with a silly line.

Still, you could connect the dots between both films, like the military defeated the huge Spawn at the end of Deadly Spawn, collected some DNA there and started playing with its genetics...

Most of the film was filmed inside an abandoned warehouse. The real stars of the film, where most of the budget went were clearly the creature effects.
Like any B-movie, there's some really bad acting, specially coming from one of the daughters, the lead scientist lady and the big boss literally chewing on the scene any time he can. But it still is a really fun low-budget horror film!

The plot for one was actually kind of interesting to see unfold, with some great suspense. With great tension.

The gorgeous practical effects completely captivate you and make you forget the aformentioned problems of the film (like the cheesy weak acting).

The film was a nightmare to get finished! During production the film went into all sorts of problems, including running out of money. They put the film on hold for a few months, resulting in them losing the lead actress. But since this was a scifi horror film, they easily resolved that by simply killing her off with a stunt double and focusing instead on another character. It actually worked out for the story.

Metamorphosis is such a fun gruesome horror film! It's pretty fun once the monster starts roaming around, mutating bigger and meaner and eat people around.

It's a pretty fun original design, an evolution of the Spawns if you will. It throws parasites and tentacles at people!

Excellent creature designs and monster effects on such a limited budget!

One negative note: while the film originally first screened at Cannes in May 1990 (!), it would onlybe released on VHS after that. And the only current cut available on the 2003 DVD release is more or less the exact same cut (better picture quality notwithstanding). Meaning the film's only available in full frame, not widescreen sadly...

And a little word on John Gray's excellent music, it gave me a vibe very close to Jerry Goldsmith's Alien and James Horner's Aliens at times!

Overall, Metamorphosis is a really fun gory creature feature in the same vein as The Thing!

I Really Recommend any fans of the genre check it out! It will be well worth your time!

There's a now-hilariously popular sentence at the end of the credits of the film, left by some unknown editor (or possibly the director himself!): "I don't get paid enough for this shit." All in good fun!

While Ted A. Bohus always wanted to make a proper Deadly Spawn 2, they sort of got to do that with Metamorphosis. Since then he's been trying to get a 3rd film off the ground (you can visit his official website: Or should I say a 4th film? Technically there is a third one, his unrelated following 1994 film The Regenerated Man, aka "Deadly Spawn 3: The Regenerated Man", only titled that way in Japan!

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Necronomicons!