When people think of alien movies from the 1980s, a few come to mind right away. I can only imagine one of those is “Predator.” Tons of sequels and Arnold Schwarzenegger forever cemented the hunting space creatures in the brains of sci-fi fans worldwide. Unfortunately, “Without Warning” is probably not found on many of those lists. The movie featured a traveler from another world bent on collecting human trophies and preceded John McTiernan’s blockbuster by seven years.
Scream Factory looks to right this wrong through its release of “Without Warning” on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time ever. Slasher and sci-fi enthusiasts will find something to love within the film. Imagine “Friday the 13th” or “Halloween” with an alien doing the stalking instead of Jason or Michael. Instead of butcher knives and machetes, the killer’s weapons of choice are parasitic throwing stars reminiscent of the jellyfish from the classic “Star Trek” episode “Operation: Annihilate!” and the Starro invaders from the Justice League comic books.
An alien hunter is lurking in the woods outside a small town. Two teenagers (Christopher S. Nelson and Tarah Nutter) on a weekend getaway find themselves running for their lives after stumbling on the shack where it collects its trophies. Can a gas station owner (Jack Palance) and a paranoid military vet (Martin Landau) put an end to the creature’s slaughter?
“Without Warning” has never been released on DVD or Blu-ray. It wouldn’t matter if there were major problems with its 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) presentation or 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Audiences waiting for this are going to scoop it up anyway. The video does suffer from some light flickering, but it’s nothing to make too big of a deal about. It sounds and looks wonderful for a movie that I would imagine wasn’t given much attention when it came to safe storage of the negatives. I can envision the original film sitting in a metal canister in some hot warehouse being shifted around and having other containers piled on top of it for the past thirty-four years.
The Blu-ray release of “Without Warning” comes with some fun bonus material. Audio commentary is provided by Producer / Director Greydon Clark. A few different featurettes include interviews with actors Christopher S. Nelson and Tarah Nutter, Producer Daniel Grodnick, Make-up Effects genius Greg Cannom, and Cinematographer Dean Cundey. They discuss their experiences shooting the film and reflect on what the movie means to horror fans today. A theatrical trailer and still gallery are found as well.
“Without Warning” is rated R for violence and gore, adult situations, profanity, and frightening / intense scenes. By today’s standards, this would merit a PG-13 rating at the most. Surprisingly for a 1980s horror flick with camping teens, there’s no nudity to be found. The after-death scenes of the alien’s victims really aren’t that graphic.
With its special blend of sci-fi, slasher, and horror elements, “Without Warning” is a must-see for anyone who enjoys those genres. While it maintains a low-budget independent film vibe throughout, it rises above other B-rated fare through charismatic performances by legendary actors Martin Landau and Jack Palance. “F-Troop’s” Larry Storch and “CSI’s” David Caruso also star as victims of the alien’s blood sport. An extra incentive for seeing it is to experience the fun practical effects and early creature design work by Rick Baker.
"Without Warning" is available now in a Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack.