Xtro (1982) Blu-ray Review

source link On sale now from Second Sight, directed by Harry Bromley Davenport

Three years ago young Tony watched with horror as his father was taken into the night sky by a mysterious blinding light and never seen again. Until now. His father is coming home but he’s not the man he used to be!

Xtro was, for a time, considered a ‘video nasty’ a few years after its release. In the early to mid eighties the moral panic the British public were stirred into feeling by the tabloid press involved the then un-policed world of VHS. This meant movies like Cannibal Holocaust and Fight for Your Right were uncensored and anyone (kids included) could buy and rent them.

In fact Xtro was on the ‘section 3’ list of films that the DDP had created. This meant it was available in the UK but it could still be confiscated by police. Those selling it would not be prosecuted for obscenity. All these years later, as Xtro makes it UK Blu-ray debut, it is assumed it was on section 3 due to the infamous scene when a woman gives birth to a fully grown man. Over the top and a little silly by the standards of today, this will have no doubt irked the Mary Whitehouse-types.

The film is still effective though, just not for its scare tactics but its atmosphere. Harry Bromley Davenport manages to give his movie a brooding sense of dread for most of the runtime. This is in part thanks to him having an almost continuous score (by Bromley Davenport, which comes on a CD with this release) just bubbling away in the background and the fact Bernice Stegers looks as if she is ready to have an outburst at any moment due to her smouldering eyes. There are, it should be noted, times it feels like a family drama… with evil aliens.

Bromley-Davenport offers up a few surreal moments, too. The as mentioned scene of a woman giving birth to a man, a woman is hunted down by a life sized Action Man figure, the clowns and a woman in a cocoon in the bathroom laying eggs.

The ending is a bit abstract and puzzling, the alternative ending which is also included on the Blu-ray is no better but has more of a ‘bang’ to it.

Its reputation has grown over the decades, and rightly so. The directors vision and style make this feel unique amongst British horror movies. It spawned two sequels, with each film unrelated to the original and each other. A reboot is planned, which is covered in the extras of the disc.

Director created a ‘2018 version’ with help of Second Sight for this release. The longest version at 87 mins, changes include the on screen titles at the start, some basic modern CGI is on show, distorts certain shots during alien attacks are added and, no word of a lie, makes the child actor appear slimmer. Fans will no doubt stick with the original or VHS versions that are also included..

similar drugs to viagra Pick of the Extras.

Xploring Xtro (56 mins) – A very insightful extra, this reveals that Xtro started off as a Hammer horror like film called Monster, how New Line got involved and the changes they wanted, confirming that the name is a play on the then mega popular E.T., the cast, the hell Maryam d’Abo went through, Tim Dry (top bloke, by the way) and the crew discuss his role as the ‘Xtro’ and the difficulties with the endings plus more. A brilliant special feature.

World of Xtro (27 mins) – The cast, crew and mega fan Dennis Atherton talk about the impact and growing love for Xtro. Atherton takes most of the screen time, it’s safe to say he is a big fan of the movie after viewing this. 

Beyond Xtro (7 mins) – This looks at the sequels briefly, in name only but it is explained why this happened, while test footage is shown for the planned new Xtro flick The Big One. The plot is also covered, too.

Order here.