This is the unauthorized Italian-made sequel to ALIEN that was withheld from American release for decades. Now that it’s finally surfaced on DVD, we can at last behold the disaster that is ALIEN 2: ON EARTH, and be appalled.
20th Century Fox was not happy about this 1980 film, and attempted to use legal action to stop producer-director Ciro Ippolito from using ALIEN in the title. The bid was unsuccessful, but Fox did succeed in suppressing ALIEN 2: ON EARTH (a.k.a. ALIEN 2: SULLA TERRA and ALIEN TERROR) for years in the U.S. It wasn’t until 2011, when an outfit called Midnight Legacy released the film on DVD and Blu-Ray, that it was made available to American audiences, and so can now take its rightful place in the gutter, alongside better-known early-1980s ALIEN wannabes like INSEMINOID, CONTAMINATION and GALAXY OF TERROR.
An Earth-orbiting spacecraft splashes down on a Southern California beach. In doing so it unleashes a slimy alien something that promptly devours a little girl’s face.
Following this a piece of alien rock is discovered in the desert by a band of cave explorers. They stupidly take the rock with them into the cave, where it comes to pulsing life and leaps onto a woman’s face. Implanted with alien spores, a gooey creature bursts out of her face and rips the head off one of her companions. Further trouble arrives in the form of an especially acrobatic rat that attacks another of the women.
More nastiness follows on the part of the alien, who likes to devour peoples’ faces. Two of the group manage to escape the menace and make their way to the surface. They drive through L.A. and end up, for some reason, at a bowling alley, where they learn that the alien creatures have made their out of the cave and into the city.
First of all, there’s no sense comparing or contrasting this film with ALIEN, as it’s not an actual sequel, and nor does it work as a rip-off.
The opening scenes fall flat, consisting of “character development” that’s rendered all the more pointless because there are no characters to develop, interspaced with poorly integrated stock footage from actual space flights. Things unfortunately don’t get much better from there.
The cave scenes, this movie’s reason d’etre, are repetitive and poorly lit (it’s a fact that aside from THE DESCENT cave-set horror movies rarely work). There are also too many shots of the alien what’s-it bursting out at the camera (anticipating the early eighties 3-D craze, which was comprised largely of cheap and trashy movies like this one).
The gory bits are inspired—with a close-up of the alien bursting through a woman’s eyeball being a standout—though not enough to excuse the awfulness of everything else. To add further annoyance, the film is padded rather blatantly with lengthy shots of people running or driving, along with extremely slow pans across mundane surfaces that fail to build suspense or maintain interest. As for the English dubbing (a requisite in Italian exploitation cinema) it’s as distractingly awful as can be imagined.
FYI, future director Michele Soavi is a featured cast member, and proves rather conclusively that he’s better off behind the camera
ALIEN 2: ON EARTH (ALIEN 2: SULLA TERRA; ALIEN TERROR)
Director: “Sam Cromwell” (Ciro Ippolito)
Producer: Ciro Ippolito, Angiolo Stella
Screenplay: Angelo Mattei, Mario Molli
Cinematography: Silvio Fraschetti
Editing: Carlo Broglio
Cast: Belinda Mayne, Marc Bodin, Robert Barrese, “Benny Aldrich” (Benedetta Fantoli), “Michael Shaw” (Michele Soavi), Judy Perrin, “Don Parkinson” (Danilo Micheli), Claudio Falanga