People From Space DVD Review
Review written by Peter West
DVD released by Elite Entertainment
Written and directed by Marc Berlin
1999, Region 1 (NTSC), 98 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on April 15th, 2003
Marc Berlin as Bob
Cindy Klayman as Felicia
Stephen Sheffield as Sean
Spring Hill as Missy
Brownie Macintosh as Twig Man
Daniel Michael as The Blind Man
"Blair Witch with Lipstick?" Loosely based on the highly successful independent film, People From Space is about four very unlikely friends who after passing up weekend plans to go birdwatching, apple picking, minor league baseball and a visit to a art museum decide to go camping to find a UFO which crashed the previous year at Beavertail Lake. Bob is a insurance salesman, Felicia works at a bank, Sean works at a video store and Missy hopes to someday work with animals. The hapless group embarks on finding the UFO and collecting the $100,000 reward a local paper has put up for discovering it. Asking a blind man for directions is the first of their blunders in their search for the downed spaceship!
Once in the woods we learn more about the couples then we wanted to. The old married couple are sex crazied while the youngsters hardly get it on because of Sean's heavy pot smoking (let that be a lesson to readers)! As they navigate through the woods to find Beavertail Lake they first encounter a pentagram made of rusty thumb tack on it. Next they encounter the "sex tree" draped in a collection of dildos and vibrators. Their first night in the woods starts with a campfire where Felicia demonstrates her oral skills fellating a marshmallow on a stick. Bob and Felicia's lovemaking ruined by Missy's crying about Sean's leaving to whittle a walking stick. Comforting Missy, Felicia starts to develop a lesbian attraction for her young friend.
The next day Missy gets lost and is stalked and frightened into unconsciousness by the mysterious accordion playing "Twig Man". Twig Man gives the group very detailed instructions on locating the elusive Beavertail Lake! The soon find themselves on the "Orgasm Trail", where Felica has a very close encounter with the local hardwood! Relationships between the couples starts to break down, and the viewer asks the same question that often intrigued me about "Seinfeld"..."What the hell do these people have in common?"
During the adventure the group is interviewed by a unseen fifth party and they discuss their plans for the reward, their feelings towards one another. Felicia secretly reveals her fantasy that a "Alien" will rescue her from her drab existence and "take" her. Missy expresses her feelings about gerbils and hamsters. Bob who would probably not survive a real encounter in the woods is so self absorbed he fails to realize how everything is crumbling around him! Sean is just pissed at it all! A doll nailed to a tree gets the groups hopes up that they are closing in on the aliens. Missy who disappeared is found devoid of all sanity painting herself with lipstick. Not to be left out of the act Bob demonstrates his own artistry with the red stuff!
That evening Sean leaves the group to investigate a shining light in the woods, yet fails to inform the group of his "close encounter ". The morning brings the discovery of a working phone booth in the middle of the woods! Tensions explode and the mysterious light finds the campers. Will they get their reward for discovering the UFO? Will Felicia get taken by her "Alien"? Will these people ever talk to each other again?
I was not a big fan of the Blair Witch Project so I was somewhat apprehensive before viewing this DVD. I was pleasantly surprised by this film. People from Space would get an R rating in the theaters for a few instances of foul language, however it's not in the same league for needless vulgarity like Blair Witch. This is a film of pure improv and is targeted for that audience! Cindy Klayman talks about a two page script in the commentary and the rest was left to the actors. The results are comedic genius! Marc Berlin's character "Bob" is so overbearing as he clumsily leads the group, I wonder how he gets out of the woods alive! Bob's speech on the contributions to society by insurance salesman is hilarious! This film far exceeds in results the $7000 budget Marc Berlin reminds us of "over and over again" in the commentary. In our lives we probably know somebody like Bob, I hope Marc Berlin was kidding about the real life resemblance! Cindy Klayman's portrayal of the suffering Felicia is marvelous, she has a mysterious sexual aura that made me hope more would happen between her and Missy. Unfortunately the modest budget did not entice the actresses into baring it all...
This film may not be for everybody, however if you are a fan of improv like me, I suggest giving it a shot.
Video and Audio:
Presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen, this recent film is very clear and colorful considering it's modest budget of $7000. The commentary reveals a few flaws incurred by weather and screaming too close to the camera. This was filmed on a Canon video camera however post production added a film quality to it.
I suspect this is a Dolby mono soundtrack, there is not any indication on the cover of how it is presented. The music is a interesting mixture of Patsy Cline, Gyorgy Ligeti and the Olympics. Discussion on the commentary between stars Marc Berlin and Cindy Klayman do indicate there has been changes since the film was made in 1999 to the musical selection.
- Audio Commentary by Director/Star Marc Berlin and Co-Star Cindy Klayman
- Still Photo Gallery
Extras provided on this DVD are a audio commentary with Marc Berlin and Cindy Klayman. A still gallery of photos is also provided. I found the commentary to be as funny as the movie in places. Marc Berlin in real life is Bob! I wonder if he sells insurance as well? The still gallery has some good behind the scenes photos as well!