Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 24 min.
Release Date: August 9th, 1985 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Fred Olen Ray Actors: Aldo Ray, Angelique Pettyjohn, William Fair, David Pearson, Frank McDonald, Arthur Payton, Charles Roth, Carroll Borland, Loren Crabtree
U.S. Army truck gets lost amongst the winding roads of a desolate California desert, headed to a covert rendezvous with a general and a couple of senators. Their destination is a secret research facility, where Lisa Martyn (Angelique Pettyjohn) undergoes psychic impulse tests. Her unusual ability to see things beyond her scope of eyesight allows the scientists to transfer and reassemble matter from an unknown dimension. Or, at least, that’s what General Randolph (Aldo Ray) is in attendance to witness.
After fitting Lisa with a device designed to amplify her brainwaves, the experiment by Dr. Williams (Arthur Payton) commences – and she’s able to bring a massive, metal trapezoid into the laboratory. But a field assistant sent to repair a damaged conduit isn’t able to complete his mission in time, resulting in his body being burnt to a crisp (he’s conveniently forgotten for the rest of the film). Although the general wants the materialized item to be transported, uninvestigated, directly back to his base, Williams and Martyn feel that it’s premature to wander off with the otherworldly trunk, which seems to encase some living being …
Immediately notable is the soundtrack, quite reminiscent of John Carpenter’s synthesized riffs, with loud, simple melodies that never seem to go away. It’s the first obvious sign of a low budget. The next, of course, would be the extremely bad dialogue delivered extremely badly by a cast of unaccomplished actors (save for a few names tossed in for added marquee value). Even the bio-monster, when it finally makes its appearance, is played by director Fred Olen Ray’s young son. And it’s a strange choice to make the alien antagonist a four-foot, childlike humanoid with pincers and an insectoid face.
As the film follows a storyline minutely comparable to “From Beyond” (which was actually released a year later), Ray crafts a sci-fi horror movie with almost no actual science-fiction (most of the sets are inside an earthbound facility, or the interior of a house, or on a dusty road) or genuine horror (some brief gore, some monster-cam viewpoints, nighttime stalking, and exploitational nudity substitute for real thrills). In a few shots, it’s evident that “Alien” served as inspiration, though it’s practically unfair to cite that masterpiece while discussing “Biohazard.” Most of the time, when the unlikely heroes (William Fair as Carter, Frank McDonald as Hodgson, and David Pearson as Reiger – the merc with bloodlust and a bad attitude) aren’t trying desperately to be tough guys (and failing miserably) or engaging in dull scientific conversations, they’re involved in such hilariously silly extraterrestrial misadventures that the whole production becomes essentially a comedy (further stressed by the lengthy blooper reel at the end). This is incredibly poor filmmaking at its most mediocre; enthusiastic people with no funding and no talent attempting to piece together something that just barely qualifies as a movie.
– Mike Massie