Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In short: El Hombre Perseguido Por Un O.V.N.I. (1976)

aka The Man of Ganimedes

Spanish writer Alberto Oliver (Richard Kolin) is suffering from writer's block as well as from being the most boring man on the planet. These things still aren't the worst of his troubles, though. A bunch of alien mutants from the antimatter version of Earth have decided to abduct him for no good reason whatsoever.

So, when Alberto's not walking boringly through the Spanish countryside or charming various women with his non-existent charisma, some slowly shambling guys in silver-black face paint try to wrestle him into submission. However, Alberto is one of those two-fisted writer types and has no trouble punching out a few aliens. They really deserve it too - not only are they bothering Alberto by trying to kidnap him, they also are interrupting his un-life by first pushing his car down a ravine and then abducting it and letting it float writer-less in space. Yeah, I don't know either.

Alberto goes to the police with his troubles, but not surprisingly, the poor beleaguered cop the writer is telling his story to does not believe a single word of the bizarre nonsense about aliens he blabbers. It sure doesn't help his case that Alberto tends to spice up his conversation with mind-numbing philosophizing.

Until the aliens' UFO cruises a bit over town. Then, the cops decide to protect the writer from the aliens by recommending he change apartments and providing him with a bodyguard. Not that it helps much. Or matters in the long run.

Oh dear, this is not very good. El Hombre is the sort of low budget movie that tries to hide the fact that it can't afford any of its ambitions (like that of being a movie) behind long and painful scenes of its non-hero walking around and even longer and more painful scenes of said non-hero sprouting utter tosh, or slightly less long yet equally painful library footage. From time to time, this tedium is broken by bursts of bad special effects (good), unerotic sexy-times (not good at all) and random bizarre stuff like the car abduction (very very good), until it all breaks down in some nonsensical talking about nothing of consequence and random footage of astronauts again.

The film's tedium factor is still more increased by Richard Kolin's stone-faced performance that would recommend the man for playing a zombie, but certainly not the ladykilling two-fisted writer full of sadness over the death of his wife he is supposed to be here. Kolin is of course also completely unbelievable in his action scenes, but that's something of a positive in this particular case, because the ridiculousness of Kolin as a tough guy keeps the viewer from drifting away into sleep completely.

From time to time, the movie's cheap randomness nearly makes it worth wading through the tedium. There's the final attack on Alberto in which he is followed by one of the mutants who has mounted the decapitated head of a mutant buddy on his shoulder, the thing's sad flapping an excellent metaphor for the whole endeavour. And how could I forget the random checkerboard glasses the chief android wears? It's just too bad that all this is buried under the talking (oh, the talking!) and the sort of non-plot that sees our hero abducted only to be brought back to Earth five minutes later because the UFO didn't manage to cross over into its proper dimension. Basically, even getting abducted by aliens is only filler in El Hombre Perseguido Por Un O.V.N.I.

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