One of the great things about Blu-ray is that dusty old classics get a second lease of life from distributors who actually give a toss about quality audio/visual presentation. Second Sight are one of those guys and have now unleashed the early 80’s British Sci-fi extravaganza Xtro.
Sam and his young son Tony are doing your usual Father/Son stuff when a bright light abducts Sam. Three years pass, Tony (and his Mum) have had to move on with their life without Sam but the light returns. Suffice to say he’s back and you won’t believe how he returns to Earth via a most unconventional way.
Packed with clever effects (most of the time) with some truly nightmarish sequences, Xtro is definitely one film that is pretty much unique in it’s execution (and well made) as it’s completely bizarre and quite mad in places. The performances are pretty good and there’s even an appearance from Anna Wing who soap fans may recall as Lou Beale (Pauline Fowler’s Mum) in Eastenders. There’s a very early appearance from future Bond girl Maryam d’Abo who disrobes a fair bit so that’s another tick in the ‘plus’ box.
Second Sight have packed the disc full of extras including a nice documentary from Nucleus Films, a very impressive book with loads of pictures from the director and the icing on the cake is the inclusion of the soundtrack composed by Bromley-Davenport himself who is an accomplished musician. Xtro was one of those films that practically every video shop had at least one copy of (on the old Spectrum label from Polygram). It’s striking cover has been faithfully recreated for the Blu-ray box along with a take on the theatrical poster on the other side.
It’s totally barking mad and thoroughly enjoyable in a perverse kind of way. My recollections of it as a lad was just the monster bits and to be honest I probably didn’t have a clue what was going on anyway. Two unrelated sequels followed which I haven’t ever seen so I might have to try and track them down.
I would classify Xtro as a cinematic fart, i.e. a bit unpleasant but strangely satisfying with some of it still holding up today with that truly gross sequence which is still effective 30 odd years later. A little piece of video history served up on a shiny platter for all of you to enjoy, well I certainly liked revisiting again.
- Starring Simon Nash Bernice Steigers Philip Sayer Maryam d’Abo Action Man
- Directed by Harry Bromley-Davenport