How exactly do you make a “cult” film? What about making a movie that’s “so bad it’s good?” I have to believe deep down that no filmmaker ever intentionally wants to make a bad motion picture, in the same way, no parent wants to raise a bad child. So let’s go back in time and take a look at Albert Pyun’s cult film, Alien from L.A.
Wanda Saknussemm (Kathy Ireland) is a socially awkward nerd living in Los Angeles. Her handsome surfer boyfriend just broke up with her because she’s afraid to do anything, and he wasted his entire summer hanging out with a scared loser.
“…she finds out her archaeologist father fell down a bottomless pit in North Africa and is presumed dead.”
Depressed, Wanda heads home, where she finds out her archaeologist father fell down a bottomless pit in North Africa and is presumed dead. Wanda immediately flies out to her father’s apartment in Africa and begins searching for clues. She discovers that he may have found the lost city of Atlantis, which might also be an alien spaceship that sank deep into the center of the earth. Before you know it, Wanda sets off a Rube-Goldberg chain of events, and she, too, plummets down a deep dark hole.
When she wakes, Wanda finds a miner named Gus (William R. Moses), who agrees to help her find her father or the mystery he’s been tracking. Meanwhile, this underground society is run by the crime lord Mambino (Deep Roy), and he sends his goons out to hunt for Wanda once he finds out she is the daughter of the nosey intruder Arnold Saknussemm.
There’s a lot to unpack here. The 80s was the era that shaped my love of movies. It was a time when everyone I knew was drawn from one sci-fi and fantasy story to the next. Filmmakers, both big studio and independent, created fantastical world—all built from scratch and practical effects like matte paintings, elaborate make-up and costumes, puppetry, and animatronics as part of their world-building.
"…a lot to love and marvel at that the filmmaker never anticipated."