There was plenty of excitement to go around at the Alien Trespass panel, as producers talked tentacles, defended goo, and even got Robert Patrick and Eric McCormack to access their silly sides.
What's the best part of classic black-and-white sci-fi movies from the '50s? According to R.K. Goodwin, who served as an executive producer for the first five seasons of The X-Files, it's that they are "inadvertently funny." So when he set out to make his own classic sf oeuvre - dubbed Alien Trespass - he decided to make a movie that was "intentionally inadvertently funny." What's more, he wants to take audiences back to a time where "there was nothing to worry about - except nuclear holocaust!" He showed us an eight-minute viral video featuring news releases from various NYC press outlets; apparently the main idea of Alien Trespass is that it was itself a classic '50s sf movie starring now-deceased relatives of Robert Patrick, Eric McCormack, and Dan Lauria, and the never-released print of that movie has just been discovered under a New York construction site. In actual fact, Alien Trespass is a recently-made film in which Patrick, McCormack, and Lauria have "more fun than is legal" (says Goodwin). The video ended with the Alien Trespass official trailer.
Goodwin, who brought wife Sheila Larkin (Dana Scully's mom!) along to NYCC, says he studied what he considers to be the three major classics of '50s sf: The Day the Earth Stood Still, It Came from Outer Space, and The War of the Worlds. This gave him and Lauria a marvelous chance to badmouth the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which speaks very well for both men. ("If studio executives knew more about the history of film," Lauria pointed out, "they would remake B-movies like Edward G. Robinson's Scarlet Street." Back in the day, he said, the prostitute character had to be called an "actress" to appease censors, and her pimp was an "agent." That could change in today's climate.) Goodwin shot the film using only techniques that would be available in the '50s - no fancy zoom shots, and only three lenses. He aimed to recreate the most amusing earnest special effects from those early efforts, such as an action scene he remembers from Earth v. the Flying Saucers in which the actors are very obviously running on a treadmill that is out of sync with the moving background.
And when Goodwin noted that Alien Trespass was not necessarily intended to be a nonstop laugh riot, Lauria cut in, "Wait 'till you see the monster!" According to them - and to creature designer Joel - it "looks like a seven-foot-tall penis with an eye."
When asked what working on The X-Files was like, Goodwin answered: "Producing a television series is like getting up every morning and being chased by coyotes." One can only assume that producing a sci-fi movie, for him, was like getting up every morning and being chased by a giant penis.
Goodwin says the film works best as a group experience (the better to mock your aliens with, my dear!), and it'll be out April 3.