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The Return (1980)

| Sci-Fi, Mystery, Thriller
Two young children and an adult in a small town have an encounter with an alien spaceship. 25 years later the children are reunited as adults in the same town which is now beset by strange ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Niles Buchanan
Dr. Kramer
Brad Rearden ...
Ernest Anderson ...
Dr. Mortorff
Steven Hirsch ...
Dr. Parkfield
Ken Minyard ...
Federal Agent #1
Roger Hampton ...
Lee Ann (as Hilary Labow)
Candy Castillo ...
Federal Agent #2


Two young children and an adult in a small town have an encounter with an alien spaceship. 25 years later the children are reunited as adults in the same town which is now beset by strange cattle mutilations. Matters become worse when the cattle mutilations are joined by human murders and mutilations. Written by Patrick D. Rockwell <prockwell@thegrid.net>

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Also Known As:

The Alien's Return  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$750,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jan-Michael Vincent had problems with his alcoholism during the making of this film. For example, when Vincent failed to show up for work one day, director Greydon Clark had to convince Cybill Shepherd and Martin Landau to work on that day even though they weren't originally scheduled to do so. See more »

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User Reviews

Weird but passable little movie.
20 December 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

"The Return" has to rank as one of the lesser efforts of veteran cult director Greydon Clark. It's not that it's all THAT incompetent, but a weak script, co-written by brothers Ken and Jim Wheat ("The Silent Scream", "Pitch Black") prevents it from working all that well. The audience is going to end up scratching their heads while they try to make some sense out of the strange goings-on. As for the rest, it's all just silly and cheesy enough to rate as acceptable B movie entertainment. This reviewer knows that he throws out the word "amusing" an awful lot, but there's really no other way to describe this thing. And it's that amusement factor that manages to keep this watchable.

The actors are remarkably sincere. Jan-Michael Vincent and Cybill Shepherd star as Wayne and Jennifer, a deputy in a small New Mexico town and hottie scientist respectively, who as children had had a close encounter. Also witness to the aliens' arrival was a prospector (the late, great character actor Vincent Schiavelli, one of those people who you always recognize but whose name you may never remember). The kids grow up, of course, but Schiavelli remains the same age. Shepherds' character gets wind of strange fog activity in this small town and soon after she gets there cattle begin to be mutilated. Then, people get mutilated as well.

Things take a pretty goofy turn when a character is seen to carry around a lightsaber type weapon, except it's held in the middle. Add to this a light show that is actually fairly impressive as well as some decent makeup effects and solid rural atmosphere, and the viewer gets what amounts to a mild hoot of a movie. Also in the cast are Martin Landau, who's wasted as Vincents' comedy-relief sheriff, Raymond Burr as Shepherds' father, who looks like he's reading his lines at times (and indeed he was), Neville Brand as a hostile rancher, Brad Rearden (who'd acted in "The Silent Scream") as Brands' bratty son, and Clark regular Darby Hinton ("Malibu Express") as one of Reardens' trouble making pals. Undeniable assets are cinematography by Daniel Pearl ("The Texas Chain Saw Massacre") and nice music by Dan Wyman.

Clark also did the well regarded "Without Warning" that was released the same year as this, and that one is recommended more than "The Return", which even B movie enthusiasts might find underwhelming.

Clark appears on screen as a city slicker victim.

Six out of 10.

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