High Plains Invaders (Vivendi Entertainment; $14.93)

(Vivendi Entertainment; $14.93)
(Vivendi Entertainment; $14.93)

In the year 1893, something nasty lurks in the woods near the mining community of Amarenth, Colorado. Any seasoned monster movie aficionado knows that we won’t get a good look at this “thing” until train robber Sam Danville (James Marsters), noose in place, is less than two seconds away from the Big Drop. Monsters just love to interrupt hangings.

You might recognize Marsters from his fine work as the punky British vampire Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or as the alien cyborg Braniac in Smallville or, currently, from the Battlestar Galactica spinoff series Caprica. Clearly this is an actor who is at home with all things weird.

The monster has to make its appearance, because Marsters, clearly the star of this lo-cal picture, can’t die in the first scene. It just isn’t done.

Right on cue. It’s a giant, quasi-insectoid, four-legged, extraterrestrial killing machine with a raygun tail and a face that frankly no one could love. We learn that the monster and his buddies are on a scavenger hunt for uranium. That a giant bug beast without fingers or hands or even tentacles could manage to muster up the technology necessary for interstellar space travel is only slightly less plausible than the fact that none of the handguns people are firing at the thing will be invented for several decades.

Never mind. All that matters is that the monsters are cool, Marsters is always good and this little picture, a Western shot in Romania, while nowhere near as fun as 1990’s Tremors or as creepy as 2008’s The Burrowers, is a passable way to kill a couple of hours.

What do you think?