Nightbeast (Don Dohler, 1982)

Generally speaking, the word “padding” carries a whiff of deception about it. What this film suggests, however, is that padding is the most honest thing that an exploitation merchant can do. Filming and editing together achingly long sequences that do not move the plot along (An extraneous pool party? A tangential and clumsy sex scene? An irrelevant fistfight and gunfights?) is normally considered disingenuous. Padding is seen as detracting from the cause-and-effect relationships and distracting from the strongly-motivated characters we need in cinema. But what happens, though, when there are so few noticeable cause-and-effect relationships? (Why does the alien invader sometime use the gun and sometimes his hands?) Little motivation on the part of the characters? (What’s Drago’s problem?) Padding becomes style.

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