Earth and Styrolia have been at war for years. They have been fighting over Styrathium Crystals, a valuable element that powers almost everything. Defense of the Earth against the Styrolians is in the hands of the Earth Patrol. They monitor the space around the Earth and defend it against enemy attacks.
Two Styrolian scout vehicles are sent to Earth to photograph a new Earth installation. One ship destroys an Earth defense ship before being destroyed itself. Manning the second ship is Major Groper (Cameron Mitchell) and Califf AKA Tuber (David Ladd). The two-man team ends up being shot down and the disabled ship crash lands on Earth. Groper and Califf run across Jimmy Carter (Dan Sandler), the grandson of a local farmer. The Styrolians take Jimmy captive and make their way across the landscape to the young man’s home.
The Styrolians invade the farmhouse and capture Jimmy’s grandfather (Dan Sturkie) and his sisters, Janet (Lori Saunders) and Cindy (Ashley Emenegger). When Grandpa Carter tries to resist Califf gets wounded in the shoulder. With Califf incapacitated Groper has a freer hand at torturing the family. For a test tube baby, or “Tuber”, Califf turns out to be more compassionate than the evil and violent Groper.
By the next day Califf is feeling better and has some control over Groper. Califf and Janet fall in love. Groper knocks Califf out and tries to violently rape Janet. Everyone’s forgotten about Cindy who is the only one untied. She comes to the rescue by untying everyone else. Now fighting for their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, Jimmy and Grandpa have a score to settle.
“Captive” AKA “Prisioneros de Styrolia” AKA “Prisoners of Styrolia” was released in 1980 and was directed by Robert Emenegger and Allan Sandler. Anne Spielberg directed the Earth control room sequences. It is a low budget science fiction movie. The film appears to have had a European release as well as a U.S. release.
Despite Cameron Mitchell’s character’s deranged and sadistic attitude, it appears that, in this war of the worlds, Earth was the original aggressor. The crystals that everyone is fighting over are called, by some, Dirathium Crystals but by others Styrathium Crystals. I suspect they are actually Styrathium Crystals and that they really belong to the Styrolians and Earth either invaded them or went to war with them to obtain the power source. This would also explain some of Groper’s hatred for Earthlings and his desire to see them all dead. That and his psychopathic personality. Anyone who takes out a pet canary in a cage with a double barrel shotgun is not exactly stable no matter what their history was.
As a science fiction movie, the film is not impressive. I’m not talking about the low budget and the cheap special effects. That I was fine with. Even the left-over Sandman outfits from “Logan’s Run” 1976 that the Styrolians wore were fine as well as the plastic laser guns. What ended up being tedious was the acting and the romantic melodrama aspect of the film. Can you really fall in love with an alien from outer space overnight? I also wasn’t crazy about the unsatisfying ending.
There is a lot of nepotism in this film. Ashley Emenegger is the daughter of director/writer/producer Robert Emenegger. Dan Sandler is the son of director/writer/producer Allan Sandler. Even Robert Emenegger has a bit part as Captain Warner from the Earth Patrol. With nepotism you get really bad acting.
Actor David Ladd is the son of Alan Ladd. Producer Anne Spielberg is the sister of Steven Spielberg.