Aliens from outer space kidnap six people, subject 21D, Gerard (Martin Kove), subject 29D, Linda Bruce (Camille Mitchell), subject 30T, Father Rowen (Garnett Smith), Subject 34D, Jed White (Ken Washington), subject 33T Laurie Van Deerin (Corinne Camacho) and subject 31D, an unnamed Asian woman (June Kim). The aliens create a makeshift lab on Earth to experiment on their test subjects. The building they use is an old abandoned one that is surrounded by an alien made force field. The aliens control everything inside it.
Five of the subjects wake up, each in a small dorm room. When Gerard wakes up, he is able to wander down a hallway until he comes upon what looks like an operating room. Subject 34D, the Asian woman is already on the table being probed by two silver aliens. Gerard is kept back by a force field. All he can do is watch. When he wakes up again, he is back in his room. After he is gone the Asian woman dies and her head is cut off for analysis.
As the others wake up, they begin to move around and meet each other. Each person acts differently on their captivity depending on their personality. Each movement they make is being monitored by the aliens as another exercise in investigating Earthlings. Through everything they are put through Gerard and Linda become close, Jed continues to try to find a way out, Laurie believes she is better than anyone else and Father Rowen goes deeper into his religious dogma.
“Laboratory” was released in 1983 and was directed by Robert Emenegger and Allan Sandler. It is a low budget science fiction film. As with many of Emenegger’s films this one was also pretty much forgotten.
I have issues with the endings for some of Emenegger’s movies. They are ambiguous to the point where I feel like the movie isn’t finished. There’s no happy endings and no sad endings just endings. Almost like cliffhangers. This movie is really no exception. It’s also never really revealed what the aliens are expecting to find out with their experiments, what their end game is. Even when Linda begins to be able to communicate with the aliens it’s not clear if what they tell her is true or just another experiment.
The film is mostly dialogue driven. The aliens are guys dressed in shiny silver sequined body stockings. They aren’t even credited in the movie. It is an innocuous cheaply made science fiction film that filled late night creature feature style television syndication programs. There are some interesting human dynamics involved but nothing too cerebral.
The subjects the aliens choose represent six of the stereotypes you would find in your standard science fiction/ horror movie. They are the protective macho guy, the damsel in distress, the black guy, the religious guy, the entitled bitch, and the first victim.