Zarkorr! The Invader (1996)
By: Paul Ryan on October 20, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Full Moon (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 78 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Aaron Osborne
Starring: Rhys Pugh, DePrise Grossman, Mark Hamilton, Charles Schneider
Screenplay: Benjamin Carr
Country: USA
External Links
Purchase IMDB Rotton
Having spent a good portion of his career producing genre films focused on pint-sized creatures (be they dolls, puppets, aliens, demons, dinosaurs, etc) it must have seemed logical for producer Charles Band to go in the opposite direction, and make some films about giant creatures for a change. After all, Band had previously made a few movies featuring giant robots (Robot Jox, Crash and Burn, and Robot Wars) that weren't too bad. Unfortunately, this idea came just as Full Moon suffered an acrimonious split from its studio sugar daddy, Paramount, leaving the company seriously cash-strapped. The solution, logically, was to shoot a whole bunch of monster effects footage and – after the fact - build a film around it. Hey, Roger Corman's been doing a similar sort of thing for years, right?

It might be an idea to have shot more than five minutes of monster footage. Because otherwise you might have to pad the rest of the movie with endless, rambling talk, not to mention desperately lame humour. You might also have to lean far too heavily on a cast of bad actors to prop up a lousy script…

…Which would leave you with Zarkorr! The Invader.

One night, a Californian mountainside erupts to reveal a gigantic, horned monster within. Said monster dutifully smashes every plywood building and model car it can get its rubbery mitts on. Across the country in New Jersey (represented via a reused model shot from Band's earlier Shrunken Heads), loner postal worker Tommy (Rhys Pugh) has been too busy watching cartoons on cable to hear about the carnage that's all over the news. Lucky for him, an alien babe beams into his kitchen (standing only a few centimetres high, because this is a Charles Band production, of course) to tell him all about it. We're told she's a "psychic projection" that only he can see, but she casts a reflection on his toaster and later throws him a pencil, so whatever. She informs him that Zarkorr has been dropped on Earth as a "test" of humanity's character, and that as "the most average person on the planet", only he can stop it.

Why? Well why the hell not?

Unsure of what to do – let alone how to pad out the next hour-plus of film - Tommy spends the next few minutes of screen time channel-surfing the news for clues. And when I say "news" I mean a bunch of aimless scenes of terrible actors attempting to play newsreaders. Spotting a comely cryptobiologist – as you do – on one news channel, Tommy races to the station, convinced she can help him. When the lady scientist, Stephanie (DePrise Grossman) understandably refuses to come along with him, he does the logical thing, and holds a gun to her head. As you would expect, one of the cops who attends the subsequent siege believes Tommy and springs him and the now-convinced Stephanie.

The three of them flee to the base of wheelchair-bound, socially inept (of course) superhacker Arthur (Charles Schnieder, who unlike the other three leads, actually went on to other roles after this film), who acts unfunnily weird for no other reason than to pad the film out. Using his all-plot-purpose hacker skills, Arthur gleans information on Zarkorr's path of destruction from the "Deptartment of Defense" (sic), the "U.S. Geoigical Survey" (sic) and satellite maps of "Colorodo" (again, sic), and other, unconvincing, badly superimposed computer displays.

Before long, our unimpressive heroes have jetted off to Nevada (courtesy of some stock plane footage), because something related to Zarkorr landed there from space, even though the monster erupted from a mountain, but again, whatever. Cue tedious, would-be humorous scenes of the leads posing as Men in Black, whilst attempting to grab the object (a crummy saucer-thingy) from under the noses of some hick locals. After yet more padding – a bizarre, seemingly improvised gag at a police roadblock - the good guys arrive in Yuma, where Tommy, poorly matted into shot with Zarkorr, confronts the beastie. This so-called show down only emphasises that the monster footage was shot before the film was written, and ends abruptly, at which point I'd run out of rotten fruit to hurl at my TV anyway…

Irredeemably sloppy, poorly acted and appallingly scripted, Zarkorr! The Invader is a complete waste of time. You'd hope that a movie this cheap would at least be fun, but no, what you get is achingly slow – even at a brief 78 minutes – and painfully, blatantly padded. While the monster itself is fairly well-designed, and the model building smashing is okay in a Power Rangers kind of way, the footage is poorly woven into the film. Nearly all the Zarkorr stuff happens hundreds of miles away from the main characters, and is randomly dropped into the film every ten minutes or so to remind you what the film is supposed to be about.

Around this, we get the unbearably tedious "plot" of Tommy's quest to defeat the monster, which consists of many scenes of people standing around rooms arguing for long, arid stretches of screen time. It's no wonder that screenwriter Neal Marshall Stevens (more recently of Thirteen Ghosts) hid behind the pseudonym Benjamin Carr (as he did for about twenty other Full Moon epics). Also hiding behind an alias is Charles Band (credited as "Robert Talbot"), and who could blame him?

The cover of this film carries the tagline "citizens of Earth beware". Take that as truth in advertising, folks. Avoid.
Video
A serviceable 4:3 presentation, but nothing special. It's a bit pixilated and overly dark, but watchable. Whether you actually should watch it, is another matter altogether.
Audio
A decent 2.0 track graces this disc, with better range and depth than expected. In fact, its probably much better than the film deserves, given the lousy dialogue, tinny score and painful theme song.
Extra Features
Four trailers for other Full Moon films - Deathbed, Jigsaw, Backlash: Oblivion 2 and Huntress: Spirit of the Night. The latter two have absolutely atrocious VHS-sourced video quality, but the former two look just fine. Well, technically at least.
The Verdict
Zarkorr! The Invader is pure crap. It's not funny-bad, it's not so-bad-it's-good - it's just shite, plain and simple.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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