With his first novel, "Star Quest", published in 1968, calling him an imitator is kind of flippant, but it is interesting how his work read very similar to Mr. King's in the '80s and '90s and almost rivaled him in book sales. According to Mr. Koontz, he has sold 400 million books as of 2012, which is an interesting number as Mr. King has estimated his book sales at 350 million as of 2006 - kind of sounds like someone has a case of paperback envy. Either way, a few movies naturally came out of it, the only one to be a significant hit was WATCHERS. While it was a box office flop, when it hit video a year later it found it's audience and spawned three reasonably decent sequels. Mr. Koontz says he will never actually write a sequel to his most popular work, because "That novel was about change: about the difficulty of changing ourselves for the better, of letting go of our world view even when we recognize that it’s false; about the way that an encounter with the right person can suddenly change us forever when, as a solitary pursuit, change had seemed impossible". Ummm... yeah. That's exactly what I was going to say! Perhaps this is why the WATCHERS sequels are all simply re-adaptions of the book, or as some would say in modern lingo, a string of reboots... or maybe it was just easier.
|TOP SECRET - EYES ONLY|
When the feds (the incomparable Mary Warnov) cut the funding of a secret bio-weapons research facility, the director gets even by paying some bleeding heart (but none too bright) animal rights activists to set all the animals free, giving him the cover he needs to torch the place and kidnap his prized experiments: a psychically linked retriever and a mentally unbalanced killing machine that looks surprisingly like the alien killing machine from Corman's THE TERROR WITHIN (1989). Wait a second, it is the same monster! I don't know why I'm surprised by this. Like Rog has never reused anything from his movies.
Anyway, enter one Paul Ferguson, a marine who is handcuffed to a jeep in which two MPs are taking him to a presumably nearby brig via a road in the middle of freakin' nowhere in the dead of night. So he's a bad guy, I hear you cry? No, no, he only punched a superior officer and it was because of the totally understandable reason that "he was an asshole". Awwww, ok, so now we have some sort of creepy cute factor going on again. He's a lovable fuck up. You know what he needs? A dog. After narrowly avoiding running over the escaped dog, the beast jumps out from behind a hill, and kills the MPs. Before the beast can lay a claw on him, Paul and the dog are driving hell-bent for his ex-wife's house where he learns that the cops think he is responsible for the corpses. Apparently Ducky went on vacation and the NSCI team are able to see through his subtle ploy of making the soldiers appear as though they were mauled by giant claws, by using rocks and twigs.
While the title does indeed say "II", implying that this would be a continuation of the story from the first film, it's actually a "reboot" (in the modern vernacular). I'm not sure why you'd want to start the story all over again, but they do and it's a reasonably serviceable film. Director Thierry Notz, who (surprise, surprise) made Corman a couple of bucks with THE TERROR WITHIN, doesn't make the film any better or worse than it actually is. It's not as awful as it could have been (though I've seen Singer in enough skimpy outfits, I could have done without the tidy-whitey scene), but it's not as good as it could have been either. Sort of like THE TERROR WITHIN, come to think of it.
Who will survive and what will be left of their budget? WATCHERS 3 & 4... Next!