Alien Arsenal (1999)

Rating:

USA. 1999.

Crew

Director – Julian Breen [David DeCoteau], Screenplay – Matthew Jason Walsh, Story – Robert Talbot, Producer – Kirk Edward Hansen, Photography – Howard Wexler, Music – David Arkensteone, Visual Effects – John R. Ellis & David Lange, Special Effects Supervisor – Lou Carlucci, Aliens – David Barton’s Modus EFX, Production Design – Hunter Cressall. Production Company – The Kushner-Locke Co

Cast

Jack Hammond (Ralph), Danielle Hoover (Baxter), Krisztian Kovacs (Flash Gunderson), Jerrod Cornish (Monty), Michele Nordin (Felicia St Clair), Dominic Catrambone (Phil), Stephanie Mennella (Jill), Chris Olivero (Bill), Riley Smith (Chad), William Vogt (Lance), Robert Donavan (Mr Lipkis), Brenda Blondell (Mrs O’Houlihan)


Plot

Two high school teenagers, the nerdish Ralph and his friend the tomboyish Baxter, are given detention and made to clean a brick wall in the basement with toothbrushes. Behind the brick wall, they find an arsenal that contains weapons and devices of alien origin. They place on suits, which grant then superpowers, and are able to use these to banish tormenting bullies to an alternate dimension and force another to become a nerd. With this, Ralph’s esteem grows and he is able to win the girl of his dreams. However, their opening the arsenal has also alerted its alien owners who come to the school disguised as pupils, determined to get their weapons back so they can conquer the Earth.


Alien Arsenal is a teen superhero film. While some capsule synopses suggest it as being a remake of Charles Band’s Laserblast (1978), it is intended far more as a copy of the teen power suit superhero fantasies of tv’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-6).

The plot follows a fairly simple arc that covers most of the themes of the teen superhero empowerment fantasy – teen(s) find superheroic powers/artefacts, guy saves the girl of his dreams, zaps the bullies into oblivion and, in the film’s most amusing moment, forces one of the bullies to become a nerd, gains his cool and the respect of his peers before realising that self-esteem comes from himself not his powers. The superheroics are banal, being let down by poor opticals used to represent the various beams, vortexes and x-ray vision skeletons. Occasionally the film has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour – “Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it – next year,” the history teacher admonishes her class. Elsewhere a teen taunts his bullies: “Why don’t you pick on someone in your own income bracket?”

Alien Arsenal appears to be made as one of Charles Band’s Moonbeam Productions children’s films. Band is not credited but there is a credit for “Assistant to Charles Band” on the end credits, which tends to suggest that Band is present but lurking behind a pseudonym. The film is also released by Band’s regular releasing company Kushner-Locke. It is also directed by Julian Breen, who made Moonbeam’s Prehysteria! 3 (1995), and is a pseudonym of Band regular David DeCoteau, who made such no-budget films for the Bands’ (see below for David DeCoteau’s other films). If that did not clinch that Alien Arsenal is a Band film in all but name then posters for various Band and Full Moon productions such as Robot Jox (1990), Doctor Mordrid (1992), Invisible: The Chronicles of Benjamin Knight (1994) and Lurking Fear (1994) littered in the background surely would.

David DeCoteau’s other films of genre interest are:– Dreamaniac (1986), Nightmare Sisters (1987), Creepozoids (1987), Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1987) Dr Alien/I Was a Teenage Sex Maniac (1988), Murder Weapon (1990), Puppetmaster III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991), Beach Babes from Beyond (1993), Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000 (1994), Blonde Heaven (1995), Prehysteria! 3 (1995), Beach Babes 2: Cave Girl Island (1996), Bikini Goddesses (1996), Lurid Tales: The Castle Queen (1996), Petticoat Planet (1996), Prey of the Jaguar (1996), The Journey: Absolution (1997), Shrieker (1997), Skeletons (1997), Beach Babes from Beyond 2 (1998), Curse of the Puppet Master (1998), Frankenstein Reborn (1998), The Killer Eye (1998), Talisman (1998), Witchhouse (1999), Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy (2000), The Brotherhood (2000), Frankenstein and the Wolfman Reborn (2000), Prison of the Dead (2000), Voodoo Academy (2000), Final Stab/Final Scream/Scream 4 (2001), The Frightening (2001), The Brotherhood 2: Young Warlocks (2001), The Brotherhood 3: Young Demons (2002), The Wolves of Wall Street (2002), Leeches (2003), Speed Demon (2003), Ring of Darkness (2004), The Sisterhood (2004), Brotherhood IV: The Complex (2005), Killer Bash (2005), Witches of the Caribbean (2005), Beastly Boyz (2006), Grizzly Rage (2007), The Raven (2007), House of Usher (2008), Alien Presence (2009), The Brotherhood V: Alumni (2009), The Brotherhood VI: Initiation (2009), Nightfall (2009), The Pit & the Pendulum (2009), Son of a Witch (2009), Stem Cell (2009), 1313: Giant Killer Bees (2010), Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010), A Dream Within a Dream (2011), 1313: Haunted Frat (2011), 1313: Actor Slash Model (2011), 1313: Boy Crazies (2011), 1313: Wicked Stepbrother (2011), 1313: Bermuda Triangle (2012), 1313: Bigfoot Island (2012), 1313: Cougar Cult (2012), 1313: Frankenqueen (2012), 1313: Hercules Unbound (2012), 1313: Night of the Widow (2012), 1313: UFO Invasion (2012), A Halloween Puppy (2012), Immortal Kiss: Queen of the Night (2012), Santa’s Summer House (2012), Snow White: A Deadly Summer (2012), 2: Voodoo Academy (2012), Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft (2013), My Stepbrother is a Vampire (2013), A Talking Cat (2013), A Talking Pony (2013), 3 Scream Queens (2014), 3 Wicked Witches (2014), 666: Devilish Charm (2014), 666: Kreepy Kerry (2014), 90210 Shark Attack (2014), Bigfoot vs D.B. Cooper (2014), Knock ‘Em Dead (2014), Asian Ghost Story (2016), Bloody Blacksmith (2016), Evil Exhumed (2016), Sorority Slaughterhouse (2016), 666: Teen Warlock (2016), The Wrong Child (2016), The Wrong Roommate (2016), Swamp Freak (2017), The Wrong Crush (2017), The Wrong Man (2017), The Wrong Student (2017), The Wrong Cruise (2018) and The Wrong Friend (2018). DeCoteau has made films under a variety of pseudonyms, including Ellen Cabot, Richard Chasen, Julian Breen and Victoria Sloan.



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