Back in my mid-to-late teens there was a wondrous place called Hollywood Liquidators (R.I.P.) that bought out VHS stock (and later DVDs) from various rental chain stores that were closing, and sold them at relatively low prices! It's because of this shop that my VHS collection grew as quickly as it did, and is also how I discovered so many hidden (and forgotten) gems, including today's addition to the Wanted on Blu-ray column: METAMORPHOSIS - THE ALIEN FACTOR (aka THE ALIEN FACTOR).
Not to be mistaken for that other 1990 film titled METAMORPHOSIS that was directed by George Eastman (or the documentary METAMORHPOSIS: MAN INTO WOMAN, or Branko Ranitovic's short film METAMORPHOSIS) THE ALIEN FACTOR was initially planned by Ted A. Bohus as a sequel to the excellent indie sci-fi/horror film THE DEADLY SPAWN. However, much like a hapless character in the movie, THE ALIEN FACTOR rapidly mutated into something different altogether and would sadly vanish into relative obscurity.
Synopsis: A researcher at the Talos bio-lab is experimenting with alien bacteria, but gets careless and ends up getting bitten by one of the strange mutations he is studying. The resulting infection causes him to rapidly degenerate as his body painfully morphs into a disgusting human-shaped flesh-cocoon. Eventually a large carnivorous monstrosity bursts forth from the icky mass, leading to a gory, effects-laden reign of terror within the facility!
To be quite honest Vault Dwellers, it's been decades since I've seen this movie and I don't recall much about it, other than the special and visual effects which blew me away so many years ago! Along with puppetry and animatronics, there was a good amount of decent stop-motion animation involved to bring the main creature, and various smaller monstrosities, to life. And while this was definitely intended to be a DEADLY SPAWN followup, there were clearly other inspirations at work here including THE FLY & THE FLY II, John Carpenter's THE THING and even 1980's proto-PREDATOR classic WITHOUT WARNING!
|John Carpenter's "Uncircimcised Thing."|
This movie's scripting, acting, and casting aren't the main attraction. (Then again, when we're talking about movies like this, are they ever?!) The main reason, nay, the sole reason to seek this movie out is for the effects. METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR showcases the fantastic early efforts of a crew of makeup and special effects artists that are still actively working in the film industry today, and have films like THE RELIC, THE FACULTY, and even CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER under their belts! For that reason alone this movie deserves to be given a high-def restoration dammit!
Availability: METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR hit VHS via Vidmark Entertainment on December 15th, 1993, and then on Laserdisc the following week! It would then surprisingly come to DVD thanks to Lionsgate, on February 19th, 2004! The disc (which is still in print as of my posting this!) showcases the film in a fullscreen (1.33:1) format and contains a trailer as the lone bonus feature! But if you don't want to spend $10 to own a copy, you could always watch a VHS rip of the movie on YouTube.
Current Rights Holder: Luckily this is an easy one! Production on DEADLY SPAWN II: METAMORPHOSIS began in 1987, but due to cash flow issues and several lawsuits, production was halted for a while. Eventually the film was completed, renamed, and released to VHS in Germany in late 1990! In 1991, THE ALIEN FACTOR was shopped around at various film festivals as the producers attempted to get theatrical distribution.
In the end, Vidmark Entertainment (a subsidiary of Trimark Pictures) released the movie to VHS & Laserdisc in December of 1993. Trimark, who apparently owned the domestic rights to the film in perpetuity, merged with Lionsgate in the year 2000! This means that METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR not only has a forever home, but could very well become part of the Vestron Video Collector's Series in the future!
|That Blu-ray announcement is creeping up on us right now like a phallic space mutant! I just know it is!|
- A new 2K restoration of the film from the best film elements available! I'm not sure if METAMORPHOSIS was shot in widescreen, but that would be preferable to the currently available fullscreen release!
- Audio commentary with Director Glenn Takakjian!
- Making-of documentary chronicling METAMORPHOSIS' troubled production, and its wonderfully gooey effects!
- Cast & crew interviews, particularly with the special effects and makeup effects artists!
- Deleted & extended scenes (if any exist)!
- Galleries featuring production artwork, storyboards, behind-the-scenes photos, and promotional artwork!
- Theatrical trailer.
We are coming up on the 30th anniversary of this forgotten creature feature, and I think it would be awesome if an honest-to-goodness special edition Blu-ray was announced! I know I'm asking a lot with my wishlist (that's par for the course) but even if a mostly bare bones Blu-ray was released, I'd be a pretty happy camper! Until that day arrives, I'll just hope that the powers that be at Lionsgate somehow see this post and think "Hmm... yeah. Maybe we WILL cater to this lunatic and the people who read his blog!"
Stay tuned for updates on the fate of METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR's Blu-ray debut, and further new additions in our continuing WANTED ON BLU-RAY series!