Have you ever watched a movie that just six hours prior you didn't even know existed?
That was my experience with Tex Fuller's 1987 flick Stranded. During my last visit to The Vault, I picked up a random movie guide on a shelf and happened to flip to the tiny entry on this film. I then realized I'd just seen a copy on Zack's $5 VHS shelf. Taking that as a sign, I picked it up and watched it that evening.
Deidre (Ione Skye) is staying with her grandmother (Maureen O' Sullivan) when a group of aliens crash in their yard. Southern inhospitality then escalates into a full blown hostage situation.
This movie was actually fairly decent, certainly good enough to not deserve its relative obscurity. Not even the late eighties star power of Ione Skye (though I guess she had only done River's Edge by this point) could bring this title to the fore. I can't say I'm too surprised though, as genre movies were churned out by the hundreds during this era.
Pretty much the only thing that feels dated about this movie are the cheesy optical effects. The themes of xenophobia and racial tension (between the black sheriff, played by Joe Morton, and some of his redneck underlings) are just as poignant today. Perhaps that is the reason the movie didn't take hold with viewers, as on the surface it is a PG-13 alien romp for kids, but its underlying themes are much more adult.
Holy shit, I just had a thought. This movie is about alien refugees fleeing their planet that was experiencing genocide and, except for Skye, her grandmother, and a diplomatic sheriff, the rest of the town greets them with ferocity and disdain. What could be more topical than that? Mind blown.
On the lighter side though, it does also feature Flea (yes, that Flea) as a pet-dog-man-alien affectionately referred to as Jester.
This was an entertaining piece that despite being rough around its decade's edges is well worth tracking down.