09th Apr2013

‘Grindhouse 6: Seedpeople’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sam Hennings, Andrea Roth, Dane Witherspoon, Bernard Kates, Holly Fields, John Mooney, Anne Betancourt | Written by Charles Band, Jackson Barr | Directed by Peter Manoogian

seedpeople-roth

Released during the high point in Full Moon’s relationship with Paramount Pictures, Seedpeople was heavily advertised on its original UK release back in 1992, with ads appearing in many of the horror magazines of the period – including full page ads on the back and inside cover of The Dark Side (which ran for months on end I recall). The film itself wasn’t as successful as the other notable franchises in the Full Moon stable, with many reviews at the time noting that the film was a rip-off of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and essentially that’s what the movie is: a tongue-in-cheek alien invasion flick that echoes the feel of low-budget sci-fi flicks of the 1950s.

Directed by Peter Manoogian – who worked on a number of films for Charles Band at both Empire Pictures and Full Moon Entertainment and who helmed some of the cheesiest action flicks of the 80s: Arena, Eliminators and Enemy Territory to name a few – Seedpeople is set in the sleepy town of Comet Valley, a hot spot for meteorite activity (hence the name), which is invaded by plants from outer space intent on taking over the earth by pollinating the people and replacing them with shape-shifting seed people. Only the towns resident loon, Doc Roller (Kates) and scientist Tom Baines (Hennings) know the truth and only they can stop the invasion.

Seedpeople is, like the previously reviewed Dr. Alien, yet another Full Moon flick that I know of but have not seen – at least not in its entirety. I distinctly remember dozing in and out of sleep whilst watching the film on cable TV whilst on holiday in Los Angeles in the mid-90s. I have fond memories of the film from then so catching up with it now, almost twenty years later, I cannot help but be charmed by the films inherent “quaintness.” Yes, the Invasion of the Body Snatchers influences are clearly here, right down to the downbeat ending and the rolling seed people effect is a total knock-off of Critters, but that doesn’t stop Seedpeople from still being a hell of a lot of (cheesy) fun. As I keep saying with most of 88 Films releases, they just don’t make them like this anymore…

Yet again this another well-cast Full Moon film. I been a fan of Sam Hennings for years and he gives another great performance as Tom Baines, making for a superb lead, carrying the film on his shoulders for most of its run time. Hennings is ably supported by Andrea Roth, who would find fame only a couple of years later in the Robocop TV series and 80s stalwart Holly Fields who was, at the time, a familiar face on TV, guest staring in many popular shows, including MacGyver, Quantum Leap, ALF and The Munsters Today. Rounding out the core cast, as the crazy Doc Roller, is Bernard Kates, who was a regular on American TV in the 50s and 60s and who was on the comeback trail in the 90s, mostly famously playing Dr. Sigmund Freud on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation ( a year after he shot this film in fact). Everyone takes their roles seriously in Seedpeople, even though the film itself is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, which is one of the key differences between DTV films then and now – these days if the film is going to be cheesy then the cast act cheesy. Back in the heyday of shot-on-film DTV movies this was not the case. Which is why I still have a soft spot for many films of this era, Seedpeople included.

More suited, I think, to 88 Films non-Grindhouse strand, Seedpeople will undeservedly be skipped over by many. But if you like B-movie sci-fi then you should really track this Grindhouse Collection release down. Sadly there’s no bonus film included in the special features (although the disc still contains the trailer, Full Moon Trailer Park and an episode of Videozone), however the picture quality on this DVD is much better than the first five films in the series, which will be welcome news to Full Moon fans.

Seedpeople is out now on DVD from 88 Films.

***** 5/5

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