Stranded (1987)


USA. 1987.


Director – Tex Fuller, Screenplay – Alan Castle, Producers – Mark Levinson & Scot Rosenfelt, Photography – Jeff Jur, Music – Stacy Widelitz, Makeup Effects – Michele Burke, Production Design – Lisette Thomas. Production Company – New Line Cinema


Ione Skye (Deidre Clark), Joe Morton (Sheriff Hollis McMann), Maureen O’Sullivan (Grace Clark), Susan Barnes (Helen Anderson), Brendan Hughes (Prince), Michael Greene (Vern Burdett), Flea (Jester), Dennis Vero (Sir), Spice Williams (Warrior)


Deidre Clark sees a meteor crash on her grandmother’s farm. Five aliens then appear in the farmhouse. A local farmer comes and pulls a shotgun when he sees the aliens, wounding one of them, but not before they kill his son. The sheriff’s department surrounds the house, deeming it a hostage situation. Inside, the aliens show Deidre that they are in fact intergalactic refugees fleeing from an assassin.

This low-budget effort starts out with the novel idea of combining E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and The Desperate Hours (1955). Of course, it never even comes anywhere near the quality of either of these classics. In fact, it is strictly amateurish on all accounts.

Stranded is shabbily written. There is no explanation of what the aliens are running from or why the assassin wants to kill them – we have to take these things as given. Ridiculous inconsistencies start to creep in – the aliens cannot understand human speech (fair enough) or even come up with basic sign language (less believable), while on the other hand we are asked to believe that while they are unable to communicate, their pursuer is capable of doing so to the extent that it can mimic a military officer so well that not even other humans can detect the difference. When this revelation comes, it is not a shock pulling out of the carpet so much as it seems stupid plotting. Things proceed at a snail’s pace and take forever to go anywhere – a better director could have milked the material for considerable suspense. Part of the reason the film seems to have been shot entirely at night time appears to have been to disguise the tawdriness of the alien makeups.

Stranded only appears to have been seen in video release. Director Tex Fuller only made two other films, one being the halfway reasonable serial killer film Prey of the Chameleon (1992).

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