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Film / Pod People

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Los Nuevos Extraterrestres (The New Extraterrestrials) is a 1983 French-Spanish science fiction film directed by Juan Piquer Simón.

A little boy named Tommy (who has an extensive array of pets he likes to call "specimens") finds an alien egg to hatch. When it hatches, Tommy names the creature—who manages to use his snout to suck up peanuts and warp time and space with his fingers—Trumpy. Unfortunately, Trumpy's mom is found by poachers (who destroy all of her pod-like eggs) and goes on a killing spree in response. To add to the terror, a group of unappealing young people takes a break from recording nightmarish "pop" music to travel by RV up to the scene of the alien foothold. When one of their members is killed by the alien, they are drawn into the hunt for the culprit.

The film is as much of a mess behind the scenes as it is on-screen. Los Nuevos Extraterrestres (The New Extraterrestrials) began its life as a low-budget horror film. Then, after the initial script had been written, the producers demanded the addition of the subplot about the little kid adopting the alien, in a blatant attempt to cash in on the success of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It was filmed in Spanish and French. For the US release it was (badly) dubbed into English and retitled The Unearthling. Then, when the copyright expired, the distributor Film Ventures International purchased the film, slapped the credits from a completely different film onto the beginning and end, and changed the name to Pod People.


Not to be confused with People Jars, which involves Jar People, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which features pod people, unlike this movie.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

Pod People contains examples of:

  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Trumpy has to run away and hide or else get blamed for all the murders committed by its parent. When he refuses to leave, Tommy tells Trumpy "I hate you" and then leaves himself.
  • Broken Bird: Tracy shows lots of elements of having a very low opinion of herself, which she overcompensates for by acting very flirtatious and boy-crazy (when Tommy mentions bringing food to one of his pets, Tracy hears a male name and wonders if there's another man in the house).
  • Creepy Child: There's something wrong about a boy who wants to collect specimens. Doesn't help he's dubbed by a breathy adult female.
  • Cute Kitten: Which actually attacks Trumpy's snout at one point.
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the back-up singers (Tracy, the redhead with the shortish hair) constantly makes sarcastic jokes, occasionally at her own expense.
  • Dies Wide Open: All of the people who die do so with their eyes open.
  • The Ditz: Laura is referenced as an idiot in-universe, and certainly seems to have trouble reading a room.
  • Disposable Woman: Laura doesn't even make it to the end of Act 1 before falling off a cliff while trying to escape the poachers and being startled by Trumpy's mom.
  • Fake Band: The main characters are a part of one. We're introduced to them at the studio, performing "Burning Rubber Tires".
    "It stinks!"
  • Fake-Out Opening: It doesn't get much more misleading than using footage from another movie entirely.
  • Fanservice: When Kathy gets out of bed to take a shower, it's shown that she was sleeping with no pants on.
  • Food Slap: Sharon throws a mugful of coffee into Laura's face after Laura smugly suggests that Sharon's jealous of her and starts talking about what she and Rick were doing in the woods.
  • For the Evulz: Really the only possible reason for anything the poachers do, be it smashing the eggs, threatening to rape a girl they find in the woods, or attacking Trumpy's mom when she shows up at their campfire.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Trumpy eyes' glow when he uses his powers.
  • Gratuitous English: The song Burning Rubber Tires in the original Spanish version.
  • Hollywood Darkness: A particularly noticeable example, where they shot day-for-night without any blue filter on the cameras, and for whatever reason didn't darken anything in post-production. This leads to many scenes where it's bright out (very foggy, but still clearly daytime) yet the characters refer to it being night, and even insist it's too dark to see anything clearly.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The English dub was recorded by two actors and two actresses at most.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The poachers come across as far more vile than the "bad" alien, as she's ultimately just a mother who's mad someone killed her babies.
  • Hyperlink Story: A band going camping, some poachers wandering around the woods being jerks, a family with a Creepy Child living in the woods... what do these things have to do with each other? Not much until the aliens show up.
  • It's All My Fault: Sharon, who'd splashed Laura with coffee, blames herself after Laura storms away from the campfire, gets lost in the woods, and falls off a cliff.
  • Jerkass: Rick (the leader of the band) and Bill (Tommy's uncle).
  • Karma Houdini: Despite cheating on his girlfriend and even bringing his second girlfriend on their camping trip, the Bastard Boyfriend (and to be fair his first/real girlfriend too) is one of the four survivors.
  • Kill 'Em All: This movie manages a very respectable body count. It's even lampshaded in the MST3K presentation. By the end of the film, Rick, Sharon, Tommy, and Tommy's mom are the only humans still standing.
  • Megaton Punch: Trumpy's mom kills two or three of the cast by punching them in the face.
    • Many of them she appears to kill by simply pushing them over.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Trumpy and its parent look like some sort of sasquatch or ape, with an aardvark nose.
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie can't decide if it's trying to be a cutesy E.T.-like movie or a monster movie, so it settles on being both.note 
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Trumpy, if you consider Tommy the protagonist.
  • Never Trust a Title: The movie doesn't really contain any pods, much less people who come from pods.
  • Ominous Fog: "The Fog didn't have this much fog!"
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Trumpy wearing Tommy's coat to try to hide from their mother. It doesn't work at all.
  • People in Rubber Suits: Trumpy, looking like a mutant offspring of Ro-Man and an elephant.
  • Refrain from Assuming: There actually was a soundtrack EP released, and the title of the song popularly known as "Burning Rubber Tires" or "Hear The Engines Roar Now" (or "Idiot Control Now") is listed in Spanish as "Rugen los motores" ("The Motors Roar").
  • Reality Warper: Trumpy has some pretty amazing space-and-time warping powers, which he mostly uses to perform silly tricks for Tommy.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Trumpy's parent goes on this, justifiably. First, all but one of the eggs on its ship are senselessly smashed by a poacher, then when it approaches two more poachers by a campfire, they lure it closer, then shoot and wound it without provocation. After that, you'd understand why it kills everyone it sees; it thinks Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • Scenery Porn: Attempted with the filming locations in Spain's Sierra de Guadarrama range, but either the mountains aren't stunning enough or the filmmakers don't really know how to pull this off. The Ominous Fog doesn't help either.
  • Shoo the Dog: At the end of the movie, knowing the others will try to kill Trumpy if they see him, Tommy tries to abandon him in the woods and makes a point of shooing him away.
  • The Speechless: Trumpy. Obviously he doesn't know English since he's an alien from outer space that just hatched from an egg a few days ago, but he doesn't seem to be able to make any sounds at all.
  • Stupid Evil: One of the poachers finds some weird eggs which, for all he knows, could be really valuable. Rather than take them to sell on the black market or anything he instead decides to smash them all just to be a dick.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Oh God, the three poachers. Let's see here...
    • So, you're poacher number one and you come across a glowing cave full of eggs. What do you do? If you said "smash them all with a stick for literally no reason whatsoever and then become the first victim of the monster's revenge" then you win!
    • If you're poacher number two and you see a random teenage girl walking through the woods, then clearly your only reasonable response has to be to grab her and make a joke about wanting to rape her. Even poacher 3 refuses to help him when she runs off, telling him "you better run!" The only reason this doesn't end with him behind bars is that she dies instead after jumping off a cliff to escape him. Of course, he still proves Too Dumb to Live when...
    • Later on, Trumpy's mom comes across the two remaining poachers at their campfire. They lure her closer with some food, and she actually seems ready to accept that they're not responsible for the egg-smashing and move along... until they attack her, again for absolutely no reason whatsoever. This after number 3 was close to seeming like the Only Sane Man of the group!
    • And then there's Laura who, after the girlfriend of the man she wanted to get with expressed her resentment toward her, decided her best course of action was to go running away from the safe camper and wandering around a twilit, foggy forest she was obviously unfamiliar with.
  • The Unintelligible: Pretty much the entire "Hear the Engines Roar Now" song. The reason it's so susceptible to mishearings is that the film's composer Librado Pastor is singing the song, dubbing Ian Sera, and slurring his words in an attempt to hide his thick Spanish accent.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The whole reason Trumpy's mother kills a bunch of people is because one of the poachers smashes all her eggs, and the other poachers later try to kill her. As such, it's hard to blame her for hating humans.
  • Worst Aid:
    • When Laura falls off the cliff, landing on her back, the other campers find her and carry her around. Obviously they had to get her someplace safer and warmer, but even someone not trained in medicine should have known to keep her spine straight, perhaps even build an improvised stretcher from the many branches all around. These idiots don't even so much as try to carry her steadily, much less anything like that. Also, Tommy's mother seems to think the cure for a crushed spine is a good night's rest.
    • A couple of band members also pour whiskey down her throat to warm her up, which is terrible on several levels. First, alcohol doesn't actually warm you up; alcohol dilates the vessels and brings blood toward the skin which causes feelings of warmth, but in drawing that heat toward the skin it draws it away from the body's core and the vital organs there, which can cause the body's core temperature to drop to dangerous levels. Second, drinking alcohol after suffering a head injury (and potentially brain damage) is even more dangerous, as alcohol can enhance the negative effects of brain injury and inhibit recovery as well. Third, giving fluids to an unconscious person risks the fluid going into the lungs instead of the esophagus.