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Alien from L.A.
Alien from LA.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlbert Pyun
Written by
  • Judith Berg
    (credited as Debra Ricci)
  • Sandra Berg
    (credited as Regina Davis)
  • Albert Pyun
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyTom Fraser
Edited byDaniel Loewenthal
Music by
  • Jim Andron
  • Simon LeGassick
  • Anthony Riparetti
  • James Saad
Production
company
Distributed byThe Cannon Group
Release date
  • February 26, 1988 (1988-02-26)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Alien from L.A. is a 1988 science fiction film directed by Albert Pyun and starring Kathy Ireland as a young woman who visits the underground civilization of Atlantis. The film was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. This film is loosely based on Jules Verne's 1864 novel Journey to the Center of the Earth with some minor allusions to The Wizard of Oz.

Plot

Wanda Saknussemm (Kathy Ireland) is a nerdy social misfit with large glasses and an unusually squeaky voice who lives in Los Angeles and works at a diner. After being dumped by her boyfriend for "not having a sense of adventure", Wanda is informed by a letter that her father, an archaeologist, fell into a bottomless pit and died. She flies to Zamboanga North Africa ("Deepest Africa" says the envelope's return address) and while going through her father's belongings, she finds his notes about Atlantis, apparently an alien ship that crashed millennia ago and sank into the center of the Earth. Wanda comes across a chamber beneath her father's apartment and accidentally sets off a chain of events that ultimately cause her to fall into a deep hole.

An unharmed Wanda wakes up deep within the Earth to find Gus (William R. Moses), a miner whom she protects from being slain by two people. Gus agrees to help Wanda find her father, whom she believes is alive and trapped underground. Wanda soon discovers that both she and her father are believed to be spies planning an invasion of Atlantis. People from the surface world are referred to as "aliens" by Atlanteans, who appear virtually identical to surface dwellers, and when Wanda is overheard talking about Malibu Beach by a low-life informant (Janie Du Plessis), she soon becomes a hunted woman and must dodge efforts at capture, both from the mysterious "Government House" and from thugs in the pay of the crime lord Mambino (Deep Roy).

Wanda's efforts at escape are aided by Charmin' (Thom Mathews), a handsome rogue who (briefly) assists her flight and falls for Wanda. She is ultimately captured by the evil General Pykov (Du Plessis again), who wants to kill both Wanda and her incarcerated father. Before the Atlantean leader can decide what to do with Wanda and her father, Gus shows up and helps the duo escape while fighting off General Pykov and her soldiers. Wanda and her father board a ship that takes them back to the surface and the film ends with Wanda on the beach, wearing a bikini and a sarong. She refuses the advances of her ex-boyfriend and is soon reunited with Charmin', who inexplicably appears on a motorcycle.

Cast

Production

Kathy Ireland plays the film's lead Wanda Saknussemm
Kathy Ireland plays the film's lead Wanda Saknussemm

Alien from L.A. was shot by Golan-Globus Productions and distributed by The Cannon Group.

Casting

Kathy Ireland was hired for the lead role toward the end of the film's casting, as the crew was unable to find someone who could suitably lead the film. According to director Albert Pyun, Ireland was cast for her tall stature, as he wanted to illustrate a physical difference between people from the surface and people who were closer to the Earth's center.[1]

Filming

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Namibia's Skeleton Coast
Namibia's Skeleton Coast

The film was mostly shot in Johannesburg, at producer Avi Lerner's studio, plus additional shooting in Durban, South Africa and Swakopmund, Namibia. Locations ranged from South Africa's deep digging mines and gold fields both on the outskirts of Johannesburg. There was one additional day of shooting at a safari complex near Pretoria. Most of the Namibia shoot took place in and around the old German colonial town of Swakopmund, with additional scenes also shot along Namibia's famed Skeleton Coast. The film was also shot in Los Angeles, California.

The character of Arnold Saknussemm is a reference to Arne Saknussemm from Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth, an Icelandic explorer who had gone missing long before the narrative of the story had begun.

Soundtrack

Two songs used in the film were "Once Upon a Time", performed by Steve LeGassick, and "State of Heart", performed by Donna DeLory.

Release

Alien from L.A. was released on February 26, 1988.

Home media

Alien from L.A. was released on VHS by Media Home Entertainment in June 1995.[2] It was later released on DVD by MGM on June 7, 2005, paired with Morons from Outer Space; the only special feature for the release was the film's trailer.[3] It has been released and is currently available in a bluray edition by Vinegar Syndrome that includes an interview with director Albert Pyun (“Making a Fairytale”), an interview with actor Thom Mathews (“Putting the puzzle together”), and an audio interview with actress Linda Kerridge.

Sequel

Alien from L.A. was followed by a direct-to-video sequel called Journey to the Center of the Earth (also directed by Albert Pyun), which was released in the United States in 1989. The film had Kathy Ireland reprising her role as Wanda Saknussemm.

References

  1. ^ Shout! Factory (March 20, 2013). Casting Kathy Ireland in Alien From LA - MST3K Vol. XXVI Bonus Clip. YouTube. Google, LLC. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  2. ^ Alien from L.A. [VHS]. ASIN 6303566723.
  3. ^ Tyner, Adam (May 8, 2005). "Morons from Outer Space / Alien from L.A." DVD Talk. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved November 18, 2020.