Let the Rediscovery of Alien Predators Begin! (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

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!

Update 8/27/15 - 6/19/18: I guess I can't call this post, "The Movie Scream Factory Let Slip Through Their Fingers" anymore!  😁  Yes, that was this post's original title, and yes, Scream Factory has finally picked it up and released it on blu!  How's it look?  Are there any good features?  Come see!
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." Sure, they want to focus on the big money makers first, but they had to get to it eventually... right? But the door seemed officially closed once MGM themselves finally put it out as a generic MOD DV-R on Amazon.  Though hope never entirely dissipated, because there had been a very similar case where they released a pretty awesome special edition of New Year's Evil in 2015, even after MGM released that as a MOD.
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. But, in fact, we actually wound up getting multiple chances at it.  Because a few months after this post, filmArt announced a German blu-ray (see the comments).  But I held out, and sure enough, just... today, Scream Factory has finally released it on blu here in the states!  Huzzah!
Netflix stream on top; MGM DV-R middle; Scream Factory blu bottom.
So unsurprisingly, everybody used the same 1.85:1 master.  But it's interesting to see the improvement just from the format shift.  There's more detail on the DVD than the stream, but there's definitely still compression issues. But you have to expect that, because it's not even a proper DVD but a single layer, made on demand DV-R (4 gigs, ladies and gentlemen!).  There's ugly artifacting all over it, and it even looks like maybe they tried to edge enhance it a bit to make up for it.  All of that is happily cleared away on the very crisp blu-ray.  This may not be boasting a fresh 2 or 4k scan for this new blu, but the HD master they used must be new enough, because it looks quite good, with subtle yet naturalistic grain and much cleaner detail.  There's the occasional white fleck, but really, The Falling looks downright pristine here.

The DV-R and the blu both preserve the original mono in 2.0 and it sounds great.  Scream Factory naturally bumped it up to DTS-HD, and included optional subtitles which the DVD lacked.
And of course that DV-R was barebones, including a fairly generic menu and no extras. Not even a trailer. The chapters are even at arbitrary 10 minute intervals. Well, Scream Factory hasn't issued this as one of their packed "Collector's Edition"s, but they did come through for this title by creating an all new audio commentary track with the director.  It's not perfect; he tends to lapse into periods of dead air, especially at the very beginning and I started to worry this listen would be a real grind.  but stick with it, folks!  He actually has a lot of great stuff to say, helped enormously by the fact that this movie has never had any special features before, so it's all new and exciting to hear.  It's also got a pretty good story behind it, with the director explaining things like how he got the effects artist from John Carpenter's The Thing to give him an amazing prosthetic for free; or how, far from it being Alien or Predator, his primary inspiration for the film was An American Werewolf In London, which really does come through in the final product.  In addition to the commentary, we finally get the trailer, which bears the on-screen title of The Falling, as does the film itself.  And while this release doesn't exactly have reversible artwork, it certainly has a pretty awesome reverse image for whenever you open the case.
The director's a bit self-effacing and embarrassed by some of the flaws that slipped into his first film, but watching Scream's blu, I find I keep getting more impressed with each rewatch.  Yeah, a few jokey lines fall flat; but for the most part, it all works really well.  In the commentary, he talks about how at the time of filming they felt like they were making the world's greatest horror movie and super excited watching the dailies.  Unfortunately, the world seems to have beat down that enthusiasm since then.  So I really hope some critical rediscovery spawns out of Scream Factory including it in their line-up.  This is a really rewarding release, and it shouldn't get lost under the radar.


  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,

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


    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..."