The Terror Within (1989, directed by Thierry Notz)

Years after “The Accident,” the Earth is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The surface is controlled by Gargoyles, scaly monsters with big claws and a rampaging libido. The few human survivors hide out in underground bunkers, trying to find a cure for “the Plague,” which I guess came about as a result of the Accident. That still doesn’t explain the Gargoyles, though. It doesn’t matter, though. This is a Roger Corman-produced cheapie, one that what so obviously made to exploit the success of Alien, Aliens, Insemenoid, and Day of the Dead that I hope Corman at least had the decency to buy Christmas presents for Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Norman Warren, and George Romero.

The plot kicks into high gear when a group of human scientists discover a pregnant woman on the surface. They take her into their bunker, where she gives birth to a garoyle/human hybrid. The hybrid baby quickly grows into an adult gargoyle and is soon running through the air ducts, killing all the men, and attempting to mate with all the women. It’s actually pretty offensive, not that anyone complained when the movie used to show up on late night Cinemax in the 90s.

It’s up to the humans to stop the terror within. Unfortunately, the humans are interchangeable and easily killed. The only two that you’ll remember are Andrew Stevens and George Kennedy. Stevens, you’ll remember because he’s the star and has the ability to somehow survive while everyone around him is dying. You’ll remember George Kennedy because he’s George Kennedy, an Oscar-winning actor picking up some extra money by barking orders in a few scenes. I doubt Kennedy listed this film high on his list of accomplishment but, because he manages to deliver his lines with a straight face, he’s one of the best thing about the movie. The other thing that partially redeems this film is that the monster, once it reaches adulthood, looks far more convincing than I think anyone would expect it to. Corman may not have spent a lot of money on this film but he was smart enough to invest in a convincing monster.

The Terror Within has a cult following, mostly made up by people like me who saw it when we were kids and were too dumb to realize that it’s really not a very good movie. The main problem is that, though the film may be based on Alien, the director is no Ridley Scott or James Cameron. He’s not even a Fred Olen Ray or Jim Wynorski. There’s no suspense or humor or anything that would really distinguish the film. The Terror Within was still successful enough to lead to a sequel. Fortunately, Andrew Stevens took over as director for The Terror Within II.


2 responses to “The Terror Within (1989, directed by Thierry Notz)

  1. Pingback: The Terror Within II (1991, directed by Andrew Stevens) | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/18/21 — 10/24/21 | Through the Shattered Lens

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