Four random teenagers, Tom (David Caruso), Greg (Christopher S. Nelson), Beth (Lynn Theel) and Sandy (Tarah Nutter), decide to go to a lake to swim and have a picnic.  On the way they stop for gas at a rundown gas station.  The owner of the station, Joe Taylor (Jack Palance) warns the kids that it is dangerous in the woods.  They ignore him and head off towards the lake. 

Meanwhile, an alien from outer space has taken up residence in the woods.  The alien uses pinwheel shaped organic weapons to take down its prey.  The most recent victims were a hunter (Cameron Mitchell), his son, Randy (Darby Hinton) and a lost scout leader (Larry Storch).

When the kids get to the lake, they lay out a blanket and start swimming.  Tom and Beth start making out, so Greg and Sandy decide to go for a walk and give them some privacy.  When they return, Tom and Beth are gone.  Greg and Sandy start searching for their friends.  They come across a small shack sitting in a field.  Inside the shack are the bodies of Tom and Beth.  Both kids are dead with oozing pinwheel creatures on their bodies.  Also in the shed are the bodies of the Hunter, his son and the scout leader.

Greg and Sandy take off to try to find help.  They stop at a local bar.  Greg goes inside to find help and Sandy waits in the truck.  One of the guys in the bar is Fred ‘Sarge’ Dobbs (Martin Landau).  Sarge has seen the alien, but he suffers from PTSD, so no one believes him.  Greg tells the bar patrons a similar story.  No one believes him either.  Out in the van, Sandy sees a large alien and panics.  She runs away but is caught and returned by Joe.  The bartender, Aggy (Sue Ane Langdon) calls the sheriff.  When the sheriff arrives Sarge mistakenly thinks he is the alien and shoots him. 

At one time Joe also had a run in with the pinwheel creatures.  When Joe hears Greg’s s story, he makes Greg and Sandy go back into the woods with him to hunt the alien.  Also out in the woods is Sarge, who by now, after shooting the sheriff, is completely insane and believes that everyone is an alien disguised as human.      

“Without Warning” AKA “It Came Without Warning” was released in 1980 and was directed by Greydon Clark.  It is a regional low budget American science fiction horror film.

The alien doesn’t do much.  He mostly just wanders around and relies on these little pinwheel things that he throws to take people down.  You also don’t get to see the humanoid alien very much, or very well.  Actually, the main draw of the film is the hammy performances of some of the best character actors ever.  With people like Palance and Landau playing the most batshit crazy backwoods yokels and some good supporting yokels like Neville Brand, Cameron Mitchell and Larry Storch things are more tongue in cheek than scary.  The performances alone from these characters make the film an underrated gem.      

Kevin Peter Hall, who plays the alien, also played the predator in “Predator” 1987 and “Predator 2” 1990.  He also played the Bigfoot in “Harry and the Hendersons” 1987 as well as other costumed creatures.

The head of the alien was created by special makeup effects artist Rick Baker.

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