The Terror Within (1989)

On a research mission, Hal, (George Kennedy) David, (Andrew Stevens) Sue, (Starr Andreeff) Andre, (John Lafayette) Linda, (Terri Treas) and Neil, (Tommy Hinkley) begin worrying that their mission should be concluded. Believing that the gargoyles around pose no real threat to them, they find young Karen, (Yvonne Saa) sole survivor of a massacre, alone in the wilderness and bring her back to them with safety. Trying to determine how she survived the plague-ridden countryside, the eventual discovery of her abnormal pregnancy is made. During the abortion attempt, the fetus produces a monster that wreaks havoc through the military base. Determining the reason behind it’s attacks, the team scours the base for the creature and launches a plan to get rid of it before it is able to kill off the entire crew one-by-one.

The Good News: While not a great film, this one here is pretty decent. One of it’s inherent pluses is that it manages to evoke a really campy attitude towards itself. There’s no sense of it every really being taken seriously, especially not with the creature present or it’s blatant use of so many copied scenes in it’s plot. The monster itself is the biggest one, as it’s got a great design to it that only manages to provoke giggles through the fact that it’s made up of a badly-done suit. The reptilian facial features, crocodilian jaws, bony scalp and icy stare give it a great look that may have come off fairly well if done right, and there is moments where it does look intimidating. The film does move at a pretty nice pace, keeping it between one encounter with the creature at a time and one significant discovery until it’s done capitalizing on the previous one. This really makes it seem like there’s no real down-time at all, and by making the creatures’ appearance in the film really early works wonders. This allows for the second half to be a series of showdowns, making their action-packed exploits all the easier to sit through. The initial appearance of the creature is the real highlight, coming through in a really gory, bloody way that looks quite gruesome and shocking. It’s hard not to be impressed by that scene, even though it’s blatantly taken from another film. There’s even some more gore thrown in with it’s few kills, with some exceedingly graphic throat slashings, a couple of stomachs ripped open to various degrees in interior-organ-display, scratches along the face and chest and more as well, leaving this one nice and bloody when it wants to be. This also deserves the praise of keeping the creature off camera until well into the film, as the beginning stalking scenes are done through the creature’s POV, and this leads into some pretty nice scenes. Overall, this one wasn’t all that bad as it could’ve been.

The Bad News: This one here didn’t have a whole lot of failings, but they were visible. The biggest flaw in the film is the fact that the film decides to liberally steal from other sources. The basic premise of the film, several of it’s key action and plot-point set-pieces are taken from one singular movie, the creatures’ actions are the exact same as another film, and there’s a whole series of scenes that come off as being featured in a thousand individual scenes themselves. All of these five the film an unmistakable sense of repeated affairs when nearly every scene is from another film. That makes the film’s scenes stand out more, as it’s going to be more noticeable that’s where they’re coming from. It’s quite hard to see these scenes as anything but that, leading many to become instantly dismissed due to the outright stealing that they use. The other major flaw is that simply, the creature looks terrible. The basic design is great, but there’s the fact that it’s just a badly-made suit for it’s scenes. This is quite evident, as it looks way to fake to be anything else but a cheaply-done monster. It’s way to humanoid, sports not a whole lot of detailing in major areas that need it, and just simply screams fake. These here are the main problems in the film.

The Final Verdict: With a load of cheesy charm, this one here does include some obvious flaws mixed in with it as well. Lovers of cheesy creature features should owe it to themselves to give it a shot, while those with more discriminating tastes will find the negatives more than outweigh the good parts.