Without Warning (1980)

without warning poster 1980 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 1/10

Right concept and good idea

Wrong execution, bad pacing

Movie Info

Movie Name: Without Warning

Studio: World Amusement

Genre(s): Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s): September 26, 1980

MPAA Rating: R

without warning body special effects

This isn’t going to make a very good trophy

Something is hunting near the lake, and it isn’t human. When Sandy (Tarah Nutter), Greg (Christopher S. Nelson), Tom (David Caruso), and Beth (Lynn Thell) go camping at the lake, tragedy strikes. Now, Greg and Sandy must convince the town that something alien is in the woods. A veteran named Sarge (Martin Landau) thinks Sandy and Greg are part of the invasion while a hunter named Joe Taylor (Jack Palance) sees Sandy and Greg as the perfect bait to kill the alien.

Directed by Greydon Clark, Without Warning is a low-budget alien horror movie. The film received mixed to negative reviews but has gained a cult following over the years.

Without Warning is largely considered to be one of the influences of Predator since a lot of the plot (and even the ending) is somewhat similar to the story. You have a professional alien hunter on Earth and the hunted must become the hunters to stop it. In addition to these similarities, Kevin Peter Hall plays the alien and went on to play the Predator in Predator and Predator 2.

without warning starfish weapon christopher s nelson

Just so you know there is a little something on your face…

What makes Predator a better movie is that the story is tightened up. In Without Warning, you have a lot of extraneous characters like the boy scouts, Tom, Beth, the hunters, and the people at the bar. It drags along with little urgency (just look how long they sat in the van with nothing happening and the little starfish critter on the window). The core people Tarah Nutter and Christopher S. Nelson should have been the focus the entire time with Jack Palance and Martin Landau providing contrasting goals.

The cast of the movie isn’t too bad. Both Palance and Landau were in career slumps at that time. They weren’t old enough to be the “old wise men” but not young enough to be the leading men. They did bring name quality to the film and it is fun to see the young David Caruso. Nutter and Nelson aren’t great actors, but they are about the level you’d expect in the film.

without warning alien

That’s right, I was ducking behind this chifforobe…boo

The movie has some visuals that almost work. While some of the basic stuff isn’t very good (aka the flying starfish of death), the starfishes’ tentacle attacks are kind of creepy and gross. I actually like the alien in the film, but the alien doesn’t show up until too late in the movie. He pretty much just stands there and doesn’t seem to have much of a goal.

The movie has the right idea but the wrong execution. Predator used this for its own advantage and made a movie with staying power. The movie is a fun throwback to almost ’50s B-Movies with the appearance of an ’80s horror movie mentality, but it probably is only something I can recommend to fans of the genre. The movie does have moments at points. I like it when Palance just ran at him yelling “Alien!” near the end…Schwarzenegger had better catch phrases.

Related Links:

Predator (1987)

Predator 2 (1990)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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