Directors: Larry Buchanan and Michael A. DeGaetano
Retromedia/Infinity Entertainment

In the later half of the 1960s, self proclaimed schlockmeister Larry Buchanan was hired by American International Pictures to direct eight low-budget movies for television. The outcome of which would include some of the decade’s worst (THE EYE CREATURES, ZONTAR THE THING FROM VENUS), yet most recognizable (MARS NEEDS WOMEN) titles. Under his Azalea Films production banner, Buchanan worked fast and loose, often completing several films a year, many remakes of past AIP films. Using Edward L. Cahn’s THE SEA CREATURE as source material, CREATURE OF DESTRUCTION is an exceedingly inept remake, whose only saving grace is a number of unintentionally hilarious scenes.

Dr. Basso (Les Tremayne, THE ANGRY RED PLANET) is a performer and hypnotist who, with the help of medium Doreena (Pat Delaney, a Buchanan regular), predicts that a murder will take place in the small coastal community he was hired to entertain. Later that night, a beast from another time rises from the water to fulfill the doctor’s prophecy. While most of the neighborhood morns the loss of one of its own, retired business man Sam Crane (Neil Fletcher) sees great earning potential in Dr. Basso’s act and suggests a partnership. Mr. Crane will provide additional gigs for Dr. Basso with all proceeds to be cut evenly. Basso agrees to the enterprise and welcomes the proposal for scientific verification of his paranormal abilities. Sam need look no further than his daughter's fiancé to find an expert psychologist, Captain Theodore Dell (Aron Kincaid, THE GHOST IN THE INVISABLE BIKINI). While Captain Dell is skeptical of Dr. Basso’s claims, it is hard to ignore the repeat killings, all correctly predicted by Basso's captive clairvoyant. Positive that Doreena is the key to unlocking the mysterious and violent murders, Captain Dell attempts to break the mental lock that Basso has over her before the creature from centuries past can kill again.

While CREATURE OF DESTRUCTION is an incredibly bad film and a trial to watch, it does have several inadvertently comical moments that raise it above the typical trash cinema moniker, albeit slightly. First and foremost the title creature, which resembles a discarded Sleestak from the “Land of the Lost” television series, is anything but terror inducing. Obviously molded to capitalize on the familiarity of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, made a decade earlier, the monster is comprised of a rubber suit with a fish head mask upon which two ping pong balls have been affixed as eyes. Clumsy and bulky, the creature looks ridiculous, yet it is just such faults that give it its charm. The same creature suit can be found in Buchanan’s IT’S ALIVE. Equally laughable is a dance party scene, which appears to be populated by a gathering of stroke survivors. The party features singer Scotty McKay, who croons a bastardization of the "Batman" theme while a small crowd of middle aged teeny boppers attempt to gyrate back and forth without swallowing their tongues.

Presented in its intended 1:33.1 aspect ratio, the print used for this release is somewhat murky in quality. Peppered with grain and frequent specks of wear and tear, the transfer feels as if it where comprised from several different prints of varying quality spliced together. Night scenes are often too dark to see what is happening and the color in general looks ok. The audio is sufficient enough to follow dialogue but the creatures growling and the accompanying film score often blast out of nowhere, so keep your finger on the volume control. Accompanying CREATURE OF DESTRUCTION is THE FLYING SAUCER MYSTERY, a 12-minute black and white faux-newsreel short on UFO’s whose greatest asset is its short running time.

Side 2 of Retromedia’s SCI-FI TRASH-O-RAMA features UFO: TARGET EARTH, one of many stylized dramas shot to capitalize on the public's fascination with flying saucers, a trend that would culminate in 1977 with the release of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THRID KIND. A pre-credit sequence features several interviews with couples and individuals who each claim to have had eyewitness accounts of unidentified flying objects. We are then introduced to Alan (Nick Plakias), an electronics specialist who after picking up a top secret military conversation about mysterious flying objects, begins his own investigation into the phenomenon. Meeting with the local college’s resident astronomer, Alan inquiries about the logical possibility of flying saucers, an idea the professor quickly shoots down as anything but scientific. A chance encounter with a mysterious woman, Vivian (Cynthia Cline), fuels Alan’s questioning, as she feels a strong electrical pull to a nearby reservoir. After being denied access to the military's communication equipment, an undaunted Alan finds help from his fellow colleagues, who along with Vivian, set out for the body of water that some believe hides a long forgotten crashed Alien craft.

With the rising cost of healthcare, many individuals have been able to cut costs by switching from brand name prescription drugs, to a generic equivalent. For those who suffer from insomnia or have trouble sleeping and are tired of paying the high cost of Ambien or Lunesta, UFO: TARGET EARTH may provide a valuable and cost-effective alternative sleep aid. Simply insert the disc into the DVD player of your choice, lay back and within minutes you will bored into a soothing slumber. Be sure you are able to devote seven to eight hours of sleep before watching UFO: TARGET EARTH. Do not drive or operate machinery immediately after or during viewing. Pregnant women, individuals with certain liver disorders and those who wish to be entertained should not watch UFO: TARGET EARTH. Side effects may include nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, diarrhea and suicidal thoughts. Unlike most sleep medicines, UFO: TARGET EARTH has no risk of dependency.

UFO: TARGET EARTH is presented full frame (it was obviously intended to be matted at 1.85:1) with picture quality only slightly improved from CREATURE OF DESRUCTION. Colors are somewhat dull and muted and there is a vertical greening on the print source, running on both the left and right sides. Audio is a bit garbled, but oddly never distracting as nothing of any interest or importance is ever said.

This release’s most interesting feature is also its shortest. A small collection of three vintage sci-fi TV commercials showcase a variety of destructive robots and baby faced monsters. The Great Garloo is a radio controlled figure that resembles a cross between the amazing colossal man and Betsy Wetsy. Ideal’s Robot Commando is a lumbering iron giant that can fight off tanks, hurl missiles and annoy the brattiest of younger sisters. Finally there is King Zor, the fighting dinosaur. Never giving up, he is an unwieldy dragon that lets no obstacle stand in his way. Batteries not included. (Jason McElreath)