After a run of Friday the 13th slashers I was looking for a creature feature to cleanse my palate.
I’d just recorded Thirst off the Horror Channel because I saw the word “monster” in the film's write-up.
Quite pleasingly, what started out as - yet another - teen horror, turned out to be an okay, low-budget, Alien knock-off... set in the American desert.
A group of generally bland, forgettable, and largely interchangeable, troubled teens arrive at The Second Chance boot camp, 100 miles from civilisation, to be reshaped (against their will) into respectable members of society.
The camp is run by Dr Claire Taylor (Jes Macallan aka Ava from Legends Of Tomorrow), Burt Goodman (Karl Makinen), and his bashful, orphaned, nephew Roth Young (John Redlinger).
On the second day of an endurance hike, after losing a lot of their camping supplies to a stampede of wild horses in the night, the group is set upon by a bio-mechanical alien monster that has crash landed in the wilderness and also looking to survive... by whatever means necessary.
When the monster kills Burt, Roth steps up and becomes the alpha male of the group.
The creature is a cheap-looking CGI effect (just above Asylum-level production), but you have to applaud the filmmakers for the amount of daytime action they afford the beastie.
The more you see it though, the more it's obviously heavily inspired by the classic Alien xenomorph look, but fused with the body of a centaur to give it a kind of giant scorpion profile.
Rather randomly, it projects a powerful proboscis out of its chest area, that can either suck the life out of its prey or simply punch right through them if it's in a hurry.
The script, by Elizabeth Hansen from a story by director Greg Kiefer, does a good job of keeping the story's ever-dwindling number of protagonists on the move, with the ineffable alien monstrosity always nipping at their heels.
I also appreciated the fact that, after The Thing-style introduction to the creature's arrival on Earth (with its egg), there's no attempt to explain its whys or wherefores. It just is.
For me, this added to The Truth of the story, even if it was one we had seen many times before.
The interesting design of the critter actually got me speculating about whether it had added the mechanical adaptions to itself (the brief exposure we get to its youngling shows it to be devoid of mechanical parts) or whether these were added by someone else, maybe even another species that was "manufacturing" these creatures as living weapons?
Then again, perhaps I was overthinking a low-budget, cliché-riddled, Alien rip-off?
A 20 foot long, bio-mechanical alien creature that drains the life-energy of other species to survive. A mysterious blend of a giant metal-tailed scorpion and centaur with an alien torso.
Although it has a mouth, it does not use this in combat and its actual use remains a mystery.
These creatures are not of your planet, and may have been bred - and adapted - by another species as living weapons.
Females of the species give birth to spherical eggs, from which hatch two foot long, pale-skinned (bio-enhancement free) replicas of their adult selves.
These creatures lack eyes as we understand them, navigating by reading magnetic fields around them, thus are able to operate in pitch darkness as well as bright sunshine.
AC: 3 
Atk: 2 (claws x 2, 1d10), Proboscis (2d8 + special), tail (1d12)
TAIL ATTACK: It can only use this attack once every three rounds.
FILMS WATCHED: 18
NEW TO ME: 11