This movie is, like few others, inextricably linked with my youth. I found a VHS of this on a market one day, was entranced by the title (obviously) and watched it over and over with my group of friends, forced it on unsuspecting visitors to my house, and so on. But that was 15 years ago, so how does it hold up?
For a film which apparently cost $1,100, beginning to end, it’s an absolutely amazing achievement, a demented gonzo comedy which seems even stranger today. If you’re at all interested in low-budget filmmaking, and don’t mind a weird hobo performing a sex act on a tiny plasticine alien, you’ll have a great time with this.
But that would be a very short review, so let’s talk “Over-Sexed Rugsuckers From Mars”. First things first – it’s an expanded version of a short film called “Vac-U-Sapien” (which you can see on the DVD), and the budgetary restraints are visible immediately. The credits must have been taken from that earlier version, except the new title is just slapped on, with a different font and a spelling mistake (“rugsucker” singular). But it’s charming rather than lazy – these people had basically no money and if they got it wrong the first time, there was no second time.
Plasticine aliens with grotesquely large genitalia created the human race millions of years ago, and have decided to pop back and see how their experiment is getting on. Their ship is, of course, an upturned “Simon Says” game with some foil on top, and unfortunately they land next to Vernon, a hobo sleeping next to an old-fashioned hoover, which gives them a skewed view of humanity. One alien pisses in an empty bottle; the other crawls inside the hoover and, because he’s drunk, messes up the programming – it was supposed to clean up humanity, but Dusty the hoover just becomes violent and horny. But that alien pee! When the hobo drinks it, it gives him a boost to the ol’ libido, and he has sex with the hoover, seemingly consensually. It’s a love story for the ages!
The other half of the story is the extremely unhappy marriage of Tom and Beverly. Now, I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say these people were not acting using their real names, as Tom, who certainly sounds English, is “Billybob Rhoads” (I 100% guarantee you there’s never been an Englishman called Billybob) and Beverly is “Lynne Guini”. Tom spends his time hassled by his wife to buy expensive appliances for their tiny hovel of an apartment, despite them drowning in debt; and his only “relief” is spying on their beautiful neighbour Rena who helpfully shaves her legs in the nude right by the window. They get together later on, so it’s not creepy. I guess.
The stories intersect when Tom, dispatched to Neiman Marcus (which I’m helpfully informed would be like going to Harrod’s for a hoover), buys a hoover off a street hustler, who steals it from Vernon. Poor old Vernon is caught up by the Department Of Indigence who try to clean him up and turn him into a productive member of society; Dusty the hoover is left outside. Dusty has a mission from his alien overlords to clean the planet up, but in terms of a movie with a $1,100 budget, this means killing Beverly, raping Tom and Rena, and saving Vernon when the police finally realise what’s going on and pursue the two lovers. Part of this police plot is a magnificent gem of a scene, a police line-up with hoovers in it. Well played, sirs!
Director Michael Paul Girard and his crew squeeze every drop from that budget, though. They filmed without permits on the streets, and made their non-effects work for them – just check out stuff like the obviously hand-made box of “Weeping Wanger” tea in the cupboard, Oh, and the way the only outfits they could get for their cops was the stereotypical 40s detective gear, so they just had their head detective do a Humphrey Bogart impression – although I don’t think Bogie was ever in a relationship with a sheep in any of his movies. Then you’ve got freeze frames trying to pass themselves off as actual footage (this happens more than once), a car chase but instead of cars they use shopping trolleys, and a SWAT van with lovely curtains in the back windows. Oh, and there’s the baby that comes from Dusty’s rape of Rena, a prop for the ages.
A quick word about the music, which is both almost perfect and ear-shreddingly terrible, often at the same time. Girard did pretty much all of it himself, and when it’s just a weird tuneless accompaniment to the action (to the point of just describing what’s going on on the screen) it’s amazing. But then there’s a band called Ray Zone Day, of which he was the keyboardist / chief songwriter, and they’re a terrible cheesy rock band. But one shouldn’t grumble too much.
Low-budget movies these days seem to be “less”. We get lots of walking through the woods, tedious dialogue scenes which are only there to fill up space, and simple dull plots. But there was a time when insanely inventive movies like this could find their way from some weirdo in LA to worldwide VHS distribution (well, the USA and the UK, at least). Okay, the acting’s ropey as hell, and it wears its tiny budget as a badge of pride, but I can guarantee you you’ll never see another movie like this.
Rating: thumbs up