Gog (1954)What starts promisingly turns into a massively dumb (and I mean DUMB) movie about runaway robots. The film features a top-secret research lab with an easily accessible rod that if pulled out of the wall, will destroy the whole complex. What’s it called? The safety rod, of course! This is the second movie I’ve seen this month that features a big-ass Coke machine. Vendsploitation!
Zardoz (1974)Directed and written by John Boorman, Zardoz delivers on just about everything one could want or hope for in a 70s sci-fi picture. John Boorman - checkSean Connery - checkloin cloth - checkgiant floating head - checkshades of Wizard of Oz - checkquestioning the relevancy and nature of God -checkand as one reviewer put it, "...giant hydrogen-filled condoms in the Vortex courtyard explode in massive balls of fire." -checkWhether Zardoz is a good or bad film I am not sure, it is however a great ride.
Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)At JBs suggestion I chose this for Sci-Fi day, and Im glad I did. It is clearly an extremely well made movie with some big ideas at play that I will be thinking about for a while Im sure. I wouldnt call it exploitation though due to the hook being minimal and used to express ideas about the characters, relationships and its bigger themes. IMO exploitation works the other way round. But im sure there is a good case for it as exploitation. (not hating, just saying) Im interested in a bigger discussion about this movie, or hearing a podcast, but at this stage Im not inclined to take it literally when it refers to time travel, and the alien planet seemed more like a depiction of heaven to me. I dunno. PTSD? Insanity (but that seems too cynical)? Freewill: Life is what you make it to be?
Just the titles of these sci-fi exploitation movies are amusing: Yor, Gog, Zardoz, Blurrgh, Meep Boop.
Zaat! (a/k/a The Blood Waters of Dr. Z)
Don't forget Morg, Eymorg, and Gleep-Glop (who's okay, for an alien).
The Brother from Another Planet (1984)From the title I was expecting a low budget sci-fi/blaxploitation movie that didn't take itself too seriously. What I got is what I imagine ET would be like remade by Spike Lee. And the film's saving grace is the fact that it takes itself seriously and plays the "alien crash landing on Earth" trope completely straight. There is a lot to like in this film, from the acting, to the writing, to the direction. All of its elements are of a single piece that add up to a pretty entertaining whole that has some interesting things to say. The films works both as a Spike Lee type examination of black life in New York and as an 80's sci-fi movie without ever abandoning either side. Plus, the alien fixes arcade machines in his spare time. What's not to like?!
I went for Killers from Space (1954) which is maybe less exploity than some movies I could have watched, but I have a big stack of movies I've never seen because I got hooked on box sets a few years ago. I grabbed a disc, this was the movie I got.It's not good enough to be a classic, but not bad enough to be the other kind of classic. The DVD isn't the best copy of the movie is kind of crap too. Still, with a group this could be fun. It's kind of a good interpretation of what Casandra Syndrome feels like. The aliens (and everything about them) feel like left-overs from a Republic Serial. It's almost like they'd started making one kind of movie and shifted gears half-way through and the end result was this. EYESPLOITATION!
Ever seen it with the guys from Rifftrax?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzRKabCBOI0
METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN (1983)I remember seeing this as part of Monstervision back in the 90's and thinking it was horrible and forgot about it. Seeing it again I see the cheesy charm of the derivative plot, terrible special effects and the silly crystal-ploitation theme. Still, other than B-movie pros Tim Thomerson and Richard Moll, the performances seem hammy at best, wooden at worst. The editing is awful, with shots going on uncomfortably long. Also, (HUGE SPOILERS)there is no destruction of Jared-Syn, just a build-up for a sequel that doesn't happened.
Alphaville (1965)What if a secret agent went toe to toe with HAL 9000? Godard is a huge hole in my cinematic repertoire, but I'm beginning to come around on all the hype. The movie is bizarre, but it's an interesting predecessor to modern sci-fi staples like The Matrix or Blade Runner. For a society run by an uber-logical supercomputer, Alphaville sure is a wacky place (see the film's execution scene set at a swimming pool). I like it the more I think about it, but why does the computer sound like my childhood friend belching the alphabet?
GALAXINA (1980) on HD-DVD.With few exceptions (like Corman's "Galaxy of Terror") cheesy low-budget sci-fi movies always tend to be fun because both filmmakers and audience are aware of the limitations of the movie. The better one's (like "Battle Beyond the Stars") overcome it by sheer cast & crew effort and commitment. Then there's "Galaxina." "Galaxina" is the "Two and a Half Men" of early 80's post-"Star Wars" sci-fi movies; some will like the cheese it's selling, most of us will wanna hurl. A dumb "sex" comedy/adventure with "space ships," "planets" (not half-bad if you appreciate practical effects over CGI) and recognizable faces (mainly Dorothy Stratten, whose treatment both as a sexpot robot character and selling point for the flick after her death pretty much define Sexploitation) that barely hang by something resembling a thorough comedic thread. I prefer my sci-fi unintentionally hilarious because, when the filmmakers are in on the joke as "Galaxina's" are, the bird being flipped isn't the one in outer space on the screen but the bony one Stratten is giving them from her grave.
I probably shouldn’t be admitting this publicly, but here goes: I watched INSEMINOID. This movie is so shameless it doesn’t even try to hide how it’s a ripoff of ALIEN. An alien impregnates this lady, but instead of a gory chestburster scene, she just goes on a killing spree, taking out her fellow blue-collar spacemen one by one. (Fetusploitation!) We don’t see the actual alien except for two or three shots at most, and, yeah, it looks ridiculous. This should be trashy B-movie fun, but instead it’s dreadfully boring. I knew I shoulda watched ZARDOZ.
Strange Invaders (1983)I remember seeing a clip from this on Siskel & Ebert when it came out featuring a dude tearing the top of his own skull open revealing a rubbery creature beneath, and I had nightmares for weeks. Now that it's been 30 years, I've finally gathered up the courage to watch the whole movie. Despite the PG rating it's a satisfyingly goopy take on Invasion Of The Body Snatchers style sci-fi. It's a little slow to get going, but once it does it's pretty fun. It's mostly silly all around, but worth a look.
The PG rating always kept me away, but now I want to check it out. Good recommendation(sploitation)!
Galaxy of Terror (1981)This Roger Corman cult classic was made for 1.8 million dollars using some of the sets and special effects from Battle Beyond the Stars. It owes more to Alien than Star Wars, but there's not actually an alien in the film, just creatures from the imaginations of this ship's crew. I was expecting super-hard to watch garbage, but actually ended up liking it quite a bit. It was better than it had any right to be, and I would never have believed that it was done as cheaply as it was. Also, you should know, it has a really weird rape/sex scene between a woman and a big maggot thing. Even that wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. I like this movie!
Alienator (1990)Fuck. The first five minutes were kind of fun -- there's Jan Michael Vincent! And P.J. Soles! And Joe Pilato! The remaining 90 minutes were a slow death. I know there are fans of Fred Olen Ray's cheap, jokey, stupid style, but I am not one. I'm unlikely to see something worse this month.
Barbarella (1968)Travelling in a spaceship made of Wookie fur and a computer made of post-it notes our heroine Barbarella floats nude in space to protect future earth. Miniature sets, crazy characters, Jane Fonda in various forms of undress this movie has it all, best exploitation movie thus far. Lovesploitation everybody!
I also watched Barbarella (1968). I remember watching this movie as a kid, but I don’t think I actually finished it and a lot of it definitely went over my head. But I did enjoy the re-watch. What fascinated me the most was that Barbarella in the finale was considered too innocent to be destroyed. I loved that! Too often a women’s goodness or badness is based on how much sex she is or isn’t having. Barbarella’s goodness is based on being a decent human being who cares about people.
Slaughterhouse Five (1972)As I'd also like to watch more of JB's "Unsung" movies, I figured I'd get two birds stoned at once and check this out for sci-fi day.Fantastic movie - really liked it a lot - it's one of the few of Vonnegut's books I haven't read so I'm not sure how they compare, but I found the movie captured his sense of humour fairly well. I agree whole-heartedly with Brad's comments above, so I'll just say ditto to that.Surprised this is not a more well-regarded classic.
I didnt check the credits but was the alien voice George Carlin?
Hmmm...I thought he sounded familiar but I've practically studied Carlin's standup and he didn't immediately come to mind -just checked imdb and the voice is not listed. I'll have to give it another listen...