During a night as ordinary as any other, a spaceship from another world (are there any other kind?) crashes to earth, and a hostile alien life form that resembles a reptillian gorilla of some kind escapes shortly before his craft explodes. A few hunters are eye witnesses to the crash and they go looking for the strange craft but are reduced to ash, thanks to the business end of the alien’s gun. What follows is a story of terror as the alien runs amok through a small rural town.
The alien shoots and claws his way through most of the earlier encounters with absolutely no motive other than to kill. Why did he come here, why does he kill, and what does he attempt to achieve? Hell if I know, but that is one bad ass piece he’s carrying and it seems to have unlimited ammo as he shoots all over town haphazardly and routinely sails shots over his targets head. The more you see his crap shot, the more you have to wonder if he was banished from his homeworld and their assumed war culture because they were embarrassed of his skills. Once the town crack shot knocks the gun out of his hand, destroying it in the process, the alien gets down to business – popping off people’s heads and tearing their guts out.
Nightbeast is the work of Don Dohler, and is a update of his 1979 film “The Alien Factor” and while I have to say that I haven’t seen that film – if this is any indication of what that film has to offer, you can color me intrigued. Nightbeast is a shining example of early 80’s sci-fi schlock, and bears more than a passing resemblance in my opinion to the 1977 William Sachs film “The Incredible Melting Man” (which you can check out our review for here). Both feature a creature from outer space that comes to earth if only to go on a rampage. The Incredible Melting Man’s plot is a little more fleshed out, and you can tell that the titular character has a method to his madness, the Nightbeast does not. Regardless of the thin plot, Nightbeast still has a lot to love. The low tech special effects and sub-basement level acting fit perfectly, and the sound is pretty on par for this type of low budget 80’s b-movie.
Nightbeast features one of the most awkward sex scenes that I’ve ever seen, between the sheriff and his female deputy. I assume that they’ve worked together for quite a while, but it takes an injury to the sheriff’s leg while being pursued by the alien beast for them to realize that they give each other at least half chubs. What results is a roll in the hay between a decently attractive 80’s chick and a guy with the biggest white man afro this side of Mike Brady. This is also a turning point in the movie, because up to this time, it’s pretty nonstop action and a lot of running from the beast. After this point however, the movie almost grinds to a stop, including a subplot involving the town’s bad boy and a ridiculously choreographed fight between him and a wanna be deputy. I felt like the last 30 or so minutes could have been trimmed down quite a bit and we would have lost none of the mostly non-existent story development.
If you’re looking for a serious sci-fi movie, you’d be looking in the wrong place with Nightbeast. If you’re looking for cheesy, schlocky, consistently low budget special effects and a montage of gunfire, then you can’t go wrong here. Nightbeast deserves 4 rubber masked aliens out of 5 if not for the special effects alone.