Lance Henriksen has been working steadily in the movies (and television) for decades now, and he has the elongated IMDB page to prove it. Even with nearly 200 titles to his name though he will most likely always be remembered for his work through the ’80s in films like The Terminator, Near Dark, Aliens, Pumpkinhead and more. Those films share something more than simple genre though — they’re also loaded with still memorable practical effects work.
Granted, it was the ’80s, and CGI wasn’t exactly a known quantity, but the fact remains that nearly thirty years later we’re still impressed and affected by the scene in Aliens where Bishop (Henriksen) is grabbed by the alien queen, ripped in half and thrown along the floor. It’s accomplished with practical visual effects, and when the artists who crafted the scene (Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. of StudioADI ) set out to make their own Kickstarter-funded movie this year — a creature feature called Harbinger Down — Henriksen was one of the first people they called.
Check out the monster-filled trailer for Harbinger Down below.
The film’s double-barreled homage to Alien and The Thing is clear, but there’s also a bit of Leviathan and Deep Star Six here too, which is fitting as both films feel like the kind of thing Henriksen should have been a part of back in ’89 don’t they? But no, he was busy with The Horror Show, Johnny Handsome and something called Hit List that no one on Earth has seen.
In Harbinger Down, Henriksen plays a ship captain whose crew and passengers fall prey to an alien life-form pulled up from the ocean floor. Bodies start hitting the deck, monsters start mutating and there’s not a single CGI creature to be found. Gillis and Woodruff Jr. set out to craft a monster movie using only practical creature effects — that was actually the main draw of their Kickstarter proposal — and it looks like they’ve succeeded with a varied selection of menacing creations. It’s impossible to tell from a trailer if the finished film is actually any good, but the monster effects work goes a long way in that direction.
The film’s official synopsis is here:
A group of grad students have booked passage on the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Orcas in the Bering Sea. When the ship’s crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly. It seems that the Russians experimented with tardigrades, tiny resilient animals able to withstand the extremes of space radiation. The creatures survived, but not without mutation. Now the crew is exposed to aggressively mutating organisms. And after being locked in ice for 3 decades, the creatures aren’t about to give up the warmth of human companionship.”
There’s no official release date set yet, but expect Harbinger Down to hit some combination of VOD, Blu-ray and DVD by the end year. Probably. For now though enjoy the two posters below.