It makes me happy to pretend every role James Marsters does is just Spike backstory, because it's fun and makes everything he's in that much more interesting (especially this). Thus, I felt compelled to watch High Plains Invaders. I tried to pseudolive blog about it, but I kind of lost interest. Lucky readers! (Still, this is spoilery, so if you want to watch this movie without it being spoiled, you should stop reading now).
Once upon a time there was a guy in a horse drawn cart collecting rocks. He arrives home and his wife comes out of the house,
Wife: Are you hungry?
Man: First, I must take care of these rocks.
Yeah, cause those rocks sure won’t keep. The rocks seems to be fuel for some steam punk contraption. Or perhaps, they are processed by the contraption. As he “takes care of them” he hears a noise from outside. Assuming that someone is fucking with his rock pile, he takes his rifle and goes to investigate. He is promptly attacked by something that, I think, eats the skin off his face (insert au courant bath salts joke here). His wife discovers him and screams as we fade to black.
Flash forward to 1892 Colorado (or sideways, I don’t really know where/when this action takes place relative to the previous scenes, this had a title screen whereas the opening scene did not). Spike stands serenely, looking all pretty eyed and mortal. It’s bad enough that his hair is dark, but he’s probably not going to talk with a British accent when he does get around to speaking (funny aside, I was talking with someone recently about Dollhouse, and they criticized Alexis Denisoff’s American accent on it, even though he is American). Spikes' s got his deep, tough guy voice going. And he doesn’t smoke. What have these people done to him?
His character is waiting in jail to hang. They’re building the gallows but they ran out of nails and the Sheriff is like, “it’s good enough.” Spike’s jail cell has a window that conveniently looks over onto the nurse’s…office. He’s so in love with her.
Next we’re introduced to the tough cowgirl character, who is the best shot in nine counties or whatever. She’s tossing back shots and delivering a monologue in a saloon and no one seems to even care that she’s talking. It’s a weird scene. Some dandy looking fellow (“Cornelius Everston” – best Old West name ever!) calls her out for being a big talker and she shoots him dead.
Another character introduction, where some guy in small glasses is giving the hard sell to Prospector Pete, enlisting him to work in a mine on something. There is discussion about how people who work in these mines get a sickness, which Small Glasses dismisses. Then the wife of the dead guy from the opening credits rides into town, hysterical on her horse. So, 15 minutes in and I totally get it. The dead guy was mining the rocks which are special and deadly, and the face-eating invaders want the rock for something. I should probably stop watching now before Spike embarrasses himself by trying to ride a horse.
Time for the hangin’ of “Sam Danville.” The Sheriff seems mighty nervous. It must be his first murder. Spike looks really sad to be leaving his lady friend. I sure hope something untoward interrupts this hanging and gives Spike a chance to redeem himself. Cue the alien, a metallic looking ball with a tail that curls up over its body, and four legs**. It wreaks havoc, inadvertently letting Spike loose. Yeah! Spike gets a gun and shoots at the alien, it gets scared and escapes by drilling itself into the ground.
So, the ragtag group that survives this initial battle refugees to the jail. There is Small Glasses, a shopkeeper, the tough cowgirl chick, Spike, his nurse, their unresolved issues, and the hysterical, and now wounded, housewife. No one seems really surprised by what’s happening, or is like “WTF, man?" They just call them “bugs” and start looking for dynamite to throw at them. Shouldn’t they be at least a bit more curious about what is trying to kill them? Okay, they do eventually discuss what the things are, and the options on the table are 1) demons from hell and 2) big ugly bugs. But that conversation came way too late in my opinion. It takes a long time for them to wonder what motivates these things.
Then I got distracted by tumblr and email and was only half paying attention.
In conclusion, Small Glasses was mining something called pitchblend from which he would extract uranium. He hypothesises that the bugs are doing the same. He also brings up Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, and hits it on the nail that they’re dealing with aliens who came here for our natural resources. Then he basically decides to nuke the bugs, 1890s style. America!
**Whoever wrote the promo for this movie totally can't count.