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The Alien Agenda: Endangered Species   C

Brimstone Productions

Year Released: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directors: Gabriel Campisi, Tim Ritter, Ron Ford, Kevin Lindenmuth
Writers: Gabriel Campisi, Tim Ritter, Ron Ford, Kevin Lindenmuth
Cast: Debbie Rochon, Joe Zaso, Candice Meade, Joel D. Wynkoop, Alejandro Arogonez.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

I gotta hand it to Kevin Lindenmuth: the man has great ideas. As the driving force behind The Alien Agenda series, through which independent filmmakers from around the country have collaborated, he has really latched onto something special. Well, based on Endangered Species -- the first of the series I've seen -- it's certainly wonderful in concept, if not in execution.

The Alien Agenda: Endangered Species involves two species of aliens in conflict, both of which are intent on taking over the earth -- though one of the species claims to want to help humans, while the other makes no secret that they want to destroy them. With this premise as the backdrop, three separate stories wind through the narrative.

Each segment of Endangered Species is written and directed by a different filmmaker. It's not quite an anthology, though, since each story connects to the others, forming a seemingly cohesive whole. The collaboration of indie filmmakers from different places is a wonderful idea. Imagine the scope of a movie with the action winding through New York, Las Vegas, and Florida. It's just too bad the end result left me scratching my head, with one little word floating around in brain: Huh?

Early in the film, we're introduced to Megan Cross (Debbie Rochon), a New York tabloid TV reporter who's been doing interviews with alien abductees for her show. (As a side note, the interviews in the film are directed by Ron Ford, whose credits include Hollywood Mortuary and Witchcraft XI.) Megan soon discovers that her boyfriend (Joe Zaso) is, in fact, an alien -- which puts an understandable strain on their relationship. Soon the narrative jumps a few years into the future, where Megan is working for an organization (cryptically know as The Complex) that, to quote the back of the video box, "secretly keeps tabs on the world's extraterrestrial activity."

The movie jumps from New York to Las Vegas, where a previously missing agent named Fritz (Alejandro Arogonez) is on the run from two men in black. This portion of the film is directed by Gabriel Campisi, who should know better than to let siblings with hilariously bad hairdos act in his movies. Daisy Campisi, who plays a friend who helps Fritz hide from those pesky men in black, sports a hairdo that must be seen to be believed.

Next stop: Florida. Director Tim Ritter's segment focuses on a guy named Cope Ransom (Joel D. Wynkoop) who's sent on a mission that has something to do with infiltrating an alien hideout. Florida is crawling with mutants, but Ransom knows how to kick ass, as proven in a fight scene that's almost as ridiculous as Daisy Campisi's hairdo. Trust me, you won't want to miss the interrogation scene after Ransom is captured and tied to a chair. A clean-cut, well-dressed alien guy (played by one of the worst actors I've ever seen) spouts off lines like, "Talk to me! Or I'll get the information from you -- as the meltdown chamber makes your flesh drool!" There are more bits of goofy fun like this. And the computer-generated flying saucers would have made Ed Wood proud.

The end of the movie takes us back to New York for a finale with Megan. Debbie Rochon is usually a pleasure to watch and that's no exception here. It's just too bad she doesn't have more screen time. While the sections without Rochon aren't bad, they aren't particularly good -- despite the goofy charms of some of the cheesier moments. The New York wraparound section, directed by Kevin Lindenmuth, is the strongest part of the film. But try as it might to pull the other sections together to form a cohesive whole, it's still disjointed and confusing.

The ideas behind The Alien Agenda: Endangered Species are good ones, but the film isn't executed with the finesse it would take to work. That's not to say it's a total waste of time. If you don't expect cinematic art and accept this micro-budget epic for what it is, you'll probably find some enjoyment here -- as long as you're not too frightened by Daisy Campisi's hair.

Review published 01.25.2001.

Read our Interview with Debbie Rochon.

Follow Michael Scrutchin on Twitter or Letterboxd.

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