The Alien Trespass panel opened with a pseudo-documentary describing how the film was made but due to changes at the studio back in the 1950s the completed film was shelved and never seen. It was really quite interestingly done and included interviews with Robert Patrick and Eric McCormack in grainy 1950s video talking about the film in a promotional interview format. It’s not done in tounge in cheek at all but very earnestly.
It cuts into a present day interview with a couple of construction workers who’ve discovered the film during an excavation, and then a couple of Hollywood producers arguing whether the print is in fact legitimate. From there we go to a very apparantly serious trailer for the film.
In attendance were Eric McCormack and director R.W. Goodwin. Eric said he stood in line for 20 minutes yesterday to get autographs from all the guys who do the voices in Spongebob Squarepants.
Goodwin talked about his love of the old Sci-Fi movies and the fact that although they now look funny, at the time they were made as serious films. The intent here was to pay homage to films like the original War of the Worlds and the Day the Earth Stood Still without being campy but using the style of the time. So Goodwin had the actors watch those films.
On the other hand, to capture the “cheese” factor Goodwin went back to films like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers for the less than perfect visual effects and glitches.
Goodwin has a long history working on X-Files and talked about how he thought Sci-Fi fans are great.
Goodwin went with color instead of black and white because many of the great Sci-Fi films of the era were actually shot in color and not black and white. They also tracked down the world’s best Theramin player to put in sound effects and music that was geniune for the era.
They then showed a number of clips from the film that captured the 50s look, visual effects and acting style which they audience responded well to.
In the roundtable interviews prior to the panel Goodwin and McCormack talked about a lot of the same points mentioned above. They shared a funny story about the monster design: They wanted the monster to be made of rubber (in keeping with the special effects of the time), and the designer came back with a monster that looked like an anatomical part that was unintended and they had to add to and modify the design due to that. The reaction when the monster was first rolled onto the set in its original form was “Oh my God, what have we done?” :-)
The film had a limited release and you may not have had a chance to see it, but if you’re a big fan of 1950s Sci-Fi and/or Eric McCormack I recommend it (and it’s family-friendly).
Alien Trespass comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on August 11th.