The Kindred (1987)
After watching The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1981), I thought I'd check out some of the other films by co-directors Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow. The film that they made next was The Power (1984), which I tried to find - turns out the only way to get that one is to buy an $80 videocassette on ebay! So instead I settled for The Kindred, which they made in 1987. And it is great.
First of all, every character in The Kindred is a scientist - even Rod Steiger. I like that...a lot. Naturally some of the scientists are more evil than others. While listening to some old reel-to-reel tapes and investigating research done by the main character's recently deceased mother, the team discovers something called "Anthony". As it turns out, there are four Anthonys. A post-Max-Headroom Amanda Pays seems to know the most about what they are; also, she tastes strange when people kiss her. As in The Dorm That Dripped Blood, the group dynamics between the characters is well thought out and interesting. An isolated location is provided courtesy of an old house in the desert with an unpaid phone bill, faulty wiring and a generator with limited gas (siphoned from the only car). The lab sets and equipment are very detailed, almost realistic, and surprisingly restrained for the period - they would not be out of place in an early Cronenberg film. Now let's talk for a moment about the creatures, because there are some wonderful rubbery (and incredibly goopy) monsters in The Kindred - most reminded me of The Thing, but there is a facehugger that appears at one point. My favorite is a small one that hides in a watermelon early on, then shoots out a thin tentacle to strangle its victim. Oh yeah - there are a lot of tentacles in this movie, and they just get bigger and bigger. Any shortcomings of the effects are easily overcome with HUGE amounts of goop, yellow spraying liquid (from severed tentacles) and an enormous pit of Anthony slime. My only question is this: why not leave an opening for a sequel?
For some strange reason, The Kindred has never made it to DVD, so for now the only way you're going to see it is on VHS (you can probably just rent it, but if not, there are copies on ebay for around $6), which is fine really. Although, given the unprecedented level of goopiness and effects detail, I think a high-definition transfer would definitely add something. I would guess there are some good production stories to go along with it, too.
Synapse Films currently holds the distribution rights for the film, so I'm hopeful that we might see a DVD (or even Blu-Ray) release sometime in the future! UPDATE: Synapse Films tells me that the rights are being worked on and that we will in fact see a release of The Kindred on disc, although no date has been set...stay tuned!