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Exclusive director comments, plus new poster & teaser clip: “ESCAPE FROM AREA 51,” with “BAYWATCH’s” Donna D’Errico

Saturday, May 15, 2021 | Exclusives, News

By MICHAEL GINGOLD

The invasion of Earth looks pretty darn good in this independent sci-fi comedy, coming late this summer.

Cleopatra Entertainment will release ESCAPE FROM AREA 51 August 31. Directed by Eric Mittleman from a script he wrote with Carlos Perez, it was produced by Robert “Corpsy” Rhine through his Girls and Corpses Films and David Sterling, and stars Donna D’Errico (BAYWATCH), Chris Browning, Anouk Samuel, Chloe Amen, Caleb Thomas, Zeke Jones and Frankie Sixx, D’Errico’s daughter with Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx. The synopsis: “ESCAPE FROM AREA 51 begins when a group of teenage conspiracy theorists try to raid the infamous military base, Area 51, in the Nevada desert. No one gets in–but someone gets out. Sheera [D’Errico], a sexy alien warrior, uses a power glitch to escape from captivity at Area 51. Her escape using a portal gun sets off an energy signature which attracts the attention of her arch-rival in space Sklarr [Browning]. Sheera must now elude an Area 51 scientist, as well as Sklarr, to rescue her fellow warrior and find her way back to her planet.”

“My goal was to create something unique,” Mittleman tells us. “Our lead actors, Donna and Chris, are not known for comedy but are tremendously funny, and I wanted to tell an interesting sci-fi story while giving both of these talented actors an environment to create hilarious characters.” Although ESCAPE takes a decidedly lighter approach to the genre, Mittleman’s interest in science fiction stems from more straight-faced examples. “I grew up on STAR TREK: TOS and STAR WARS, so sci-fi has always been in my blood. This led me to seek out written works from Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, to name a few. Over the years, my thirst for sci-fi grew and I couldn’t get enough–everything from culturally significant works like 1984 to fun stuff like BARBARELLA, which definitely influenced ESCAPE FROM AREA 51.”

Mittleman first met D’Errico while working as a staff producer at Playboy TV. “She was, and still is, the perfect combination of beauty, brains and a twisted sense of humor,” he says. “Last year, I co-wrote, produced and directed some promos for a podcast Donna was doing at the time. These promos confirmed something I kind of knew all along: She has crazy good acting chops and is also funny. This immediately sent me on a quest to find projects for us to work on.

“Originally, this movie was just a story about an alien trying to get home,” he continues. “Robert came up with the Area 51 twist, which I think is just wonderful. It gave the plot a focus and a quick and easy-to-understand backstory. David was great at providing me with an environment where I could be creative and collaborative with my cast and crew to create something I hope is fun and different. How’s that for unique: a low-budget genre movie where the director only has good things to say about his producers!”

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and spent 28 years as a writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. In addition to RUE MORGUE, he currently writes for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM, IndieWire.com, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM and others. His book THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press) is out this fall, and he has contributed liner notes and featurettes to a number of Blu-ray and DVD releases. Among his screenplay credits are SHADOW: DEAD RIOT and LEECHES!, and he is currently working on THE DOLL with director Dante Tomaselli.