The Movie Scream Factory Let Slip Through Their Fingers: The Falling

Okay, you guys have probably never seen The Falling (perhaps better known as Alien Predators), right? I saw just about everything in the 80s, and I never saw this. I didn't catch it until a couple years ago, when I was on a jag of tracking down and watching all the 80s horror flicks I missed in my youth. And I don't know what I expected from The Falling... I think some sort of cheap, passionless knock-off, like Carnosaur crossed with Forbidden World, at best maybe a peer of Inseminoid. Can't say I'm a fan of that stuff, zero heart and stock characters boring you for 80 minutes of mindless exposition and keeping you on the hook with the promise of lame kills by a cheesy rubber suited monster. But you know, you gotta sift through a lot of dirt to find the golden nuggets, and like I said, I was determined to burn through every 80s horror flick, bar none, to discover something good. And I did!
The Falling (terrible title, by the way) is a little bit weird, a little bit funny... a little crazy and even a little action-y. I really like it. Far from the kind of film I described above, this is everything you want from an 80s horror. It's like Night Of the Creeps or Fright Night. I mean, those are two major highlights of the genre, and admittedly it's not quite as polished or engaging as those. There's no delightful Roddy McDowall or Tom Atkins level character... although The Falling does take one or two stabs at it, and come up with a couple characters - these two government/scientist guys - that don't reach those heights but are still pretty fun. Dude in the beard definitely makes you want to see more scenes with him, and the three young leads are all pretty good and likeable. The jokier sidekick guy is no Evil Eddie, but he's definitely a more enjoyable character than most generic horror dudes.
And damn it, this film delivers. You want great rubber effects? This film's got 'em. You want genuinely funny gags and moments? They're here. Gore? Yup, some pretty gross stuff. Creepy atmospheric points, including a creepy killer in a clown mask? Uh-huh. Stunts, including car chases, explosions and a menacing truck right out of Duel or Maximum Overdrive? Exotic foreign locales, colorful lighting, high production values, a rocking soundtrack, space aliens, conspiracy and a really ambitious, unpredictable plot? This film has it all, and yet nobody had ever released it on DVD! There wasn't even been a cheap, barebones fullframe DVD on the greyer side of the market, much less any fancy special edition blu-rays like the kind Scream Factory puts out.
And there could have been! In 2012, Scream Factory made a deal with MGM, and if you've noticed, they've been releasing tons of their back catalog titles ever since. And The Falling just so happens to be one of their titles, rotting away in their vaults, waiting to be re-discovered. And they even had a widescreen HD master, I know, because they gave it to Netflix to stream (it may not be there anymore' I quit Netflix last year). All Scream had to do was scoop it up off the floor, and I requested it whenever the question came up; but everybody ignored it, because hardly anybody's seen or remembers this movie. So, okay, they didn't release it in their first couple batches... okay, year two, and still no Alien Predators. Every announcement they made I checked for The Falling and then thought, alright, it'll be in their next one. It's a total freebie, and a great "never before on blu or DVD option." I understand, they want to focus on the big money makers first. But now, I guess it's official that the door's closed on this movie, because MGM has finally put it out as a generic MOD DV-R on Amazon. And I'm probably the only guy who bought a copy.
But order it I did, because I absolutely need this film in my collection. And I grabbed that Netflix stream, too; because I wasn't sure I'd ever get a second chance at it. So let me push past my disappointment, and see what we did get.
Netflix stream on top; MGM DV-R on bottom.
It's the same, slightly letterboxed 1.85:1 transfer. There's more detail on the DV-R, although it's possible my stream capturing wasn't 100% perfect, so it may not be a totally fair comparison. But the point is, we didn't lose any ground on this DV-R. There's definitely compression issues - a lot of benefit that could be found in presenting this in HD. But for a single layer, made on demand DVD like this (4 gigs, ladies and gentlemen!), it looks as good as you could hope.

And of course it's barebones, including a fairly generic menu and no extras. Not even a trailer. The chapters are even at arbitrary 10 minute intervals. Oh well. Good uncut movie, widescreen and clear. That's better treatment than some other titles I've covered, and I am actually glad to finally have this in my collection after decades of nothing at all. It just sucks to think what might've been if a couple more people knew about this movie.
Judged simply as what it is: an MOD release, this is actually pretty great. Like, if I were to rank the coolest genre DV-Rs out there, this would be somewhere in the top ten. And I suppose all hope isn't necessarily lost for a SF blu. They've released other films that had fairly recent, previous US releases in the past. There's even a very similar case where they released a pretty awesome special edition of New Year's Evil earlier this year after MGM released it as a MOD in 2012. So I'll try to think of this as a first step rather than last gasp, and enjoy this presentation in the meantime. Like I said, there are more films even worse in need now. But if anyone wants to give Scream Factory a little kick in The Falling's direction, by all means please do.  ;)

3 comments:

  1. It's nice to see that ALIEN PREDATORS has been Finally released onto DVD(/MOD DVD),since it's been long out of circulation and it's a much welcomed sight to see it on any genre DVD company name label,as much as Lynn Holly Johnson,Dennis Christoper,and Martin Hewitt would like to forget this film which they seem to have mainly taken to work on for both a quick payday and a nice international vacation,

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  2. filmArt's latest FB picture seems to be announcing this for 2016 ...

    https://www.facebook.com/filmArt.homeentertainment/posts/922166604504596

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    1. Oh, awesome! This film should really benefit from HD. Interestingly, FilmArt say in the comments (using FB's translation), "We bring the films, of course, directly as a Blu-Ray. The falling is alien predators, that is true. The Extras For Pope, we have already requested, but shout would like to keep it exclusive..."

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