Movie Reviews 368 – Gaslight (1944)

November 9, 2018

You hear the term gaslighting more and more these days. While in a manner it has been around ever since people have lied and manipulated one another, the term now sadly applies to political parties and partisan groups subjecting it to the masses.

According to Wikipedia:

 “Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s belief.”

If you’ve ever wondered how the word for a turn of the century mode of household illumination became synonymous with deceit and imbalance look no further than the 1944 production of the multi-Oscar film Gaslight directed by George Cukor.

A young London girl is subjected to the murder of her famous opera singer mother when a thief failed to get some jewels they were seeking. Now grown up and living in Italy Paula (Ingrid Bergman) falls for a Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) a French aristocrat who sweeps her off her feet . The two soon marry and Anton sways Paula into returning to her mother’s house despite her long held revulsion for the house since the murder.

But it was not chance that led her to meeting Gregory and neither was it coincidental that they have moved back to her old home. Anton, seemingly the loving and caring husband, is slowly and deliberately influencing his wife to doubt her sanity while keeping her isolated from prying eyes and ears. His goal, simple enough, is to have her declared insane so that he can get his hands and what the thief wanted all those years ago.

What makes the plot remarkable is the subtlety in which Paula is manipulated, not by elaborate tricks but mostly by minor events and treatment. With the help of the house servant (Angela Lansbury) her husband also maneuvered into being hired – and with whom he was having an affair with – Anton picks up on the slightest opportunity to induce doubt in Paula. While he does stage a few misplaced objects he devilishly creates an entire living environment mimicking a virtual prison in which Paula’s own mind does the most damage to her sanity.

This is a great film from beginning to end and one that the entire cast shines, but just like it’s own plot, the history of the film itself includes a bit of attempted skulduggery. While the film was based on a play named Angel Street,  the initial movie rights where sold to a lower budget studio English studio which made the film four years prior to this version. But when MGM bought the remake rights to make this one, it also attempted to eliminate every trace of the first going so far as trying to get all prints and the negatives destroyed.

Lucky for me that my Warner Home Video DVD includes both versions because word is that the original is not only closer to the original play, but in some ways even superior to this version that has garnered all the accolades over the years.

That’s right. We’ve been gaslit as an an audience.

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Movie Reviews 367 – The Final Countdown (1980)

November 2, 2018

A few years before Swedish rock band Europe had a mega-hit with their song The Final Countdown I was sitting in a movie theater watching Kirk Douglas (101 and still kicking today I should add) in one of his last major starring roles. But The Final Countdown here is a bit of an oddity both for what we seen on screen; a Sci-Fi film which included Martin Sheen, Katherine Ross, Charles Durning and James Farentino – none of which you would associate with the genre including Douglas – and offscreen based on a behind the scenes revelation that I happened to pick up reading the credits.

The plot is simple enough. We have a modern day (well 1980 modern day) atomic powered US aircraft carrier, the Nimitz, with a full complement of supersonic jets, all armed to the teeth operating off the coast of Pearl Harbor when then are engulfed by a sudden unexplainable fierce magnetic storm vortex which appears to have brought them back in time. But not just any date. They are brought back to December 6th 1941. The day before the infamous surprise attack by the Japanese on the US naval base there which annihilated the entire US Pacific fleet and which forced the US to enter the fray of World War II.

This was an event that clearly changed history and now the captain (Douglas) must decide whether he should use the might of the carrier and aircraft at his disposal to circumvent the attack and alter history. Despite the fact that many lives will be clearly be saved by circumventing the attack, the change will also have an impact on how the war plays out. Would that mean the hindering or delaying the US involvement would allow the Axis to win? Not an easy decision to make regardless. I guess you’d call it a lose-lose proposition.

Star power aside, what makes this movie a fascinating watch is the powerful footage of both the carrier and it’s dizzying array of aircraft. Even after all these years the footage caught is quite mesmerizing. The production crew had almost full access to the ship and it is evident that many of the action scenes were clearly staged to showcase their capabilities. You can easily call this an armed forces recruiting device and I’m sure that was the intent in providing that special access in the first place.

Where the film does falter is how the eventual conclusion on what to do is practically hoisted into the plot after having a decent buildup of suspense. It’s a cheap cheat only partially rescued by a small time-anomaly final scene.

And that behind the scenes surprise I mentioned? While perusing the credits I happened to notice the name of Lloyd Kaufman listed as associate producer, production manager and even a minor playing role. Could this be THE Lloyd Kaufman of Troma studios fame who gave us such classics as The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead? Yep, the one and only. Turns out that this was the movie that was the tipping point that turned him away from mainstream studios and embark on his now legendary B movie career.

Fun to watch for sure, despite the mediocre handling. And if nothing else you can play ‘spot Uncle Lloyd’ while watching some pretty amazing acrobatics.

Movie Reviews 366 – The Boys From Brazil (1978)

October 27, 2018

It’s hard to imagine that a movie featuring an all star cast of consisting such exalted actors that include Gregory Peck, Sir Laurence Olivier and James Mason could be anything other that an austere melodrama dealing with only the most serious of storylines. But The Boys from Brazil shakes off some the Shakespearean plaudits, first as a quasi B-movie science fiction, horror melange that dabbles in Nazi cloning experiments and secondly by also featuring Police Academy alumni Steve Guttenberg in a pivotal role.

Wannabe Nazi hunter Barry Kohler (Guttenberg) believes he has stumbled upon some evil plot in Paraguay and even believes he has found the Angel of Death himself, notorious Auschwitz concentration camp human experimenter Dr. Joseph Mengele (Peck). When he makes a frantic stateside call to renown Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman (Olivier), Ezra’s response is basically “Tell me something that I and the rest of the world don’t already know!”.

But as the call ends with a chilling scream Ezra’s conscience gets the better of him and he does start investigating. What he finds is more puzzling than it is disturbing. The fact that remnants of the Nazi regime are murdering a select group 94 men across the globe that are exactly 65 years old and all civil servants and with no other apparent link including either political affiliations, religion or knowledge of one another. The shocking truth is no less than a diabolical attempt by surviving Nazis hoping to establish a fourth Reich! But how does killing 94 seemingly innocent men fit in with all this?

Based on Ira Levin’s (of Rosemary’s Baby fame) novel of the same name, this movie is not all Nazi intrigue as there are welcome moments of levity, most notably in a scene with Rosemary Harris (aunt May from the Spiderman film series) as an unapologetic young widow flaunting her wares to a much older Olivier.

I can’t say that these actors are all in top form as the concept is somewhat far fetched while based on some dodgy science and even more implausible situations, even beyond Guttenberg trying to be serious. Still, I enjoyed it 30 years ago and I enjoyed it again with this recent rewatch. I did find it ironic that Olivier, found chasing Mengele here had played the role of a similar Nazi doctor himself in Marathon Man only two years earlier. For his part, Peck was said to have relished the idea of playing the doctor as a welcome change from his usual Goody Two Shoes roles. It may not have hit the mark but it was certainly different.

49th Parallels – Hayden Trenholm [Ed.] (2017)

October 21, 2018

With all due respect to Robert J. Sawyer – who’s literature I adore as some of my reviews will attest – there is a lot more Canadian science fiction out there that needs to be recognized. I read a few superhero/comic centric anthologies the last few years including Masked Mosaic and one of the annual Tesseracts collections which have always been Canadian focused, Tesseracts 19 – Superhero Universe all of which whetted my appetite for more.

So when Bundoran Press held the book Launch of 49th Parallels at last year’s Can-Con convention, I was more than eager to pick up my copy directly from editor Hayden Trenholm, and meet many of the contributors as they read select passages.

It’s taken me quite some time to get to it in my read pile but I was not disappointed.

This collection presents an eclectic mix of stories that not only present the expected future visions of this country, but a plethora of alternate realities that employ historical hooks to really bring the stories home.

The last entry Northstar by Dave Steinman was easily my favorite as it presents a history of how the hallowed Avro Arrow program should have gone. The fate of the program, the one time Canada truly dominated the skies, still rankles me to this day and so giving a glance at what should have been – damn you Diefenbaker! – was soothing even if only briefly.

Brandon Crilly’s, The Last Best Defence also spins a tale around another dark side of our history with a story in which Louis Riel’s rebellion is sidelined for an alien invasion. The notion that cooperation is key is one that our political forefathers ignored, an injustice that has yet to be fully rectified.

I have to admit that it was with both great anticipation and slight trepidation that I read Tyler Goodier’s  Five Days of Summer. You see Tyler is a friend and this being first first published piece I was afraid it may not be as polished a story as one coming from more experienced writers. But I can honestly say that this story of Caucasian adventurers doggedly visiting a native settlement despite imminent doom from viral contagion really hit me. While the tinges of horror were certainly gratifying and to my tastes the fact that he managed to pull off a love story in that setting was quite remarkable.

Those who know me well are quite aware of my interest in rocketry so it should not come as a surprise that I also enjoyed Shoot for the Stars by Andrew P. Blaber. I was well aware of the true and somewhat dark history of Gerald Bull’s dream of launching satellites and people into space via a giant cannon. But what if this dream came to fruition on our sesquicentennial?

And what would a Canadian collection be without at least one story featuring snow? You’ll find lots of it in Virginia O’Dine‘s The Selfish Bastards We Were, a post-apocalyptic Canada set amid 20ft snowdrifts.

Here’s  quick roundup of the other treats to be found in 49th Parallels, but if you’ve got a minute you may want to check out a fun little Instagram challenge that many of the contributors participated in which they snapped pictures of the book with various Canadian locales in the background.

 

Liz Westbrook-TrenholmOrder

An alternate WWII story that blends secret research with immigration naysayers.

 

Claude LalumièreThe Treaty of Empress Park

Consider the contrasting stance of negotiators of alternate reality Canadian governments at treaty signing.

 

Kate Heartfield Not Valid for Spain

Robots fighting fascists in Generalisimo Francisco Franco’s Spain .

 

Melissa Yuan-InnesYou, Robot

Robot takeover in medicine with a not-so-subtle message for anti-vaxers.

 

Eileen Gunnel-LeeThe Cicada Year

What is our greatest enemy, climate change or terrorism?

 

Caitlin Demaris-McKennaWhere the Water Meets the Land

Nice robot ethics story touching on conservation issues with a Forest Service rescuer as the protagonist.

 

M.L.D. CurelasHarvesting Moonshine

Philanthropic female scientists in a tale of secret Canadian agents thwarting US nuclear bombs.

 

David F. SchultzTrue North

Pleasant story about survival featuring an Inuit and a white partner, drones and igloos who have to weigh orders against what is right.

 

Chris Patrick CarolanThe Rankin File

Halifax victorian wartime steampunk mystery regarding secret plans for a perpetual energy “Eternity Engine”.

 

Krista WallaceTo Serve and Protect

Hi-tech suicide prevention officer has to deal with a jumper on Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Bridge.

 

Cathy SmithA New Genome

The downfall of organic cattle ranching as a result of climate change and over zealous activists that don’t realize shutting down the industry can mean result in the extinction of the very animals they are trying to ‘save’. Vat grown beef. Good story from the point of an old rancher.

 

Maverick SmithLooking Back, Looking Ahead

A look at Canada during it’s bicentennial celebrations where climate change has set in but life is good with the country’s enshrined human rights.

 

Glen Cadigan51-49

An alternate reality tale where the country of Labrador is in a bit of conundrum and must weigh the past in order to decide it’s future.

 

Fiona MooreMorning in the Republic of America

Forging international relationships where Canada is the Republic of America.

 

Alexandra Renwick – As Mistress Wishes

Post apocalyptic steampunk in a future after gender wars told from the point of view of …  a dog.

Movie Reviews 365 – These are the Damned (1963)

October 12, 2018

 

Famed British production company Hammer Studios ruled horror cinema during the late sixties and early seventies with their lush and bloody Gothic offerings featuring stars like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. But in the earlier days the studio produced more mainstream thrillers, film noir and even Science Fiction films, underpinned by the magnificent Doctor Quatermass series.  One of those oft overlooked gems includes These are the Damned (released in North America simply as The Damned).

An mid aged American businessman visiting a small English seaport village is drawn by a beautiful young girl into an alley where he is brutally beaten and robbed by a gang of motorcycle riding hooligans led by the girls dominating brother King (Oliver Reed). Somewhat remorseful Joan (Shirley Anne Field) befriends Simon (Macdonald Carey) who not only still wants the girl, but hopes to rescue her from the clutches of her ruthless brother.

Escaping King, Joan brings Simon to safe haven she has frequented before, a remote house atop a seaside cliff, but the house is that often used by Freya (Viveca Lindfors) a sculptress who interrupts the couples interlude. Leaving the house Joan and Simon are chased by King and his boys but military personnel are scattered around the cliffside and intercept the two before King can get to them. They later learn they’ve  stumbled upon a highly secretive military operation run by Freya’s husband Bernard (Alexander Knox) in which a handful of kids have been kept completely isolated within chambers in the cliff. But these are no ordinary children as Joan discovers their ice cold skin and complete lack of basic common knowledge and how even Bernard only communicates with them via televised sessions.

The secret of the children may be a key to surviving the cold war’s nuclear crisis but the answer is so disdainful that Freya cannot even believe her own husband is behind the plan. But stumbling upon the children has even more immediate consequences.

This is a quirky one that begins as a rough and tumble troubled youth story that suddenly changes cadence to a dark science fiction mystery. One moment were listening to a rockabilly tune that goes “Black leather. Black leather. Rock rock rock” (trust me it’s catchy and played for all it’s worth) and suddenly we’re dealing with ignorant kiddie captives and military hide-and-seek. Oliver Reed’s King undergoes a similar transition from powerful angry young man to a blabbering and scared wimp.

I had to dig into the background of this one as it reminded me of so much of Village of the Damned (based on John Wyndham’s 1957 The Midwich Cuckoos) that I wondered if one was riding the coattails of the other. As These are the Damned was itself being based on the novel The Children of Light by H.L. Lawrence written in 1962 I have to give Village of the Damned props and readily admit that it (both novel and movie) are better.

It may be inferior but if you like Village of the Damned, spooky kids, or atomic age stories, you’ll enjoy this one.

 

Movie Reviews 364 – Bloodsport (1988)

October 5, 2018

I dread watching Jean-Claude Van Damme (or simply JCVD as he has come to be known*) films with a passion. While the man has undisputable martial arts credentials, when it comes to thespian capabilities the cardboard Belgian actor with the curdling English accent has less credible emotion than a waffle. But there was one particular film of his, Bloodsport, that acquaintances had sworn was not only marginally better but actually used the word “good” which was enough to persuade me to give it a spin.

As a non-Asian adopted into a family that had earned respectability as martial arts fighters in the annual secret Kumite tournament, Frank Dux (JCVD) is forced to represent the family and his father’s honour when his adoptive brother dies and the legacy is threatened. His commitment is such that he temporarily deserts his post in the US army to attend the underground tournament. There he must contend with those skeptical of his skills and most of all the hulking reigning champion Chong Li (Bolo Yeung) who will win at all costs.

But Frank is not alone as he quickly makes friends with dim witted but towering American Ray Jackson (Donald Gibb) a fellow competitor, and reporter Janice Kent (Leah Ayres) who is trying to crack the secretive ritual for headlines. And tailing Frank throughout are Helmer and Rawlins (Forest Whitaker), bumbling officers trying to nab the AWOL army captain and hoping to prevent him from fighting in the tournament.

Now you’d think that the fighting sequences would be the highlights of the film but anyone who is even remotely familiar with martial arts films will be thoroughly unimpressed here as the array of international gladiators take to the mat in hand to hand combat. But I have to admit that some of JVCD’s moves and even practice rituals were impressive. But what I found most entertaining in all the melees was the charismatic Chong Li as his impressive build was used to pound opponent after opponent while having the betting crowd chant his name with every victory.

The melodrama is as sappy and artificial as the fights and in many scenes its JCVD that is the weakest link making watching this barely tolerable. When I heard that Frank’s last name was “Dux” and pronounced “Dukes” I groaned at what I thought was silly faux pugilist name being used to match the character. But as I watched the trailing credits and Blu-ray extra features I learned that this was in fact a film based on a real Frank Dux as incredulous as it sounds.

So do the few good parts make it worthwhile you watching this film? My answer is JCVD. Just Can’t Vouch for this Dreck.

*Enter JCVD into the Wikipedia search bar in it’ll bring you directly to his entry!

Movie Reviews 363 – Suspiria (1977)

September 29, 2018

SUSPIRIA, poster art, 1977

While Mario Bava can be considered the grandfather of Italian Horror, Dario Argento just as easily can assume the mantle of giallo cinema maestro. But oddly, Argento’s best films are not his giallo’s but his pure horror oeuvres, and topping them all is his masterpiece Suspiria.

An aspiring ballet dancer from New York (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany and arrives in the middle of the night in pouring rain at the doors of the prestigious Tanz dance academy. As Suzy ascends the stairs to present herself another delirious eyed student is exiting while muttering some incomprehensible warning. When Suzy rings she is told that there is no one by her name expected at the school, leaving her out in the cold.

The escaping student makes her way to a friends apartment where she is terrorized, drawn to the rooftop only to be tangled by a cord and dropped through the stained glass foyer ceiling, killing not only her but her confidante.

The next day Suzy is finally brought into the school and immediately notes the cold reception by many of the girls and miss Tanner one of the instructors with a Nazi demeanor and the looks to match. But she does make friends with Sara (Stefania Casini) who confides that the student who died had warned her that something was amiss. As Suzy begins her dance classes she tells the instructors that she is not feeling well but is none the less goaded to continue and soon faints. But this is but a pretense to keep Suzy under the eye of Madam Blanc (Joan Bennett) who runs the academy. Under the medical supervision of the school doctor (Udo Kier) Suzy is  drugged but wise enough to continue her snooping even after her only friend Sara disappears under mysterious circumstances. Suzy eventually learns the secret hidden behind the walls of the school, but can she do anything about it?

Brimming with horror clichés of faraway footsteps, hidden passageways, clues that must be twisted to make sense, gargoyle fixtures and bloody encounters by the handful, Suspiria also brought new life to the genre by Argento’s bold use of pulsating colors, Masonic emblems and lush lodgings (pink Deco!) befitting Alice in Wonderland, all captured with masterful camera work. The horrors include maggot infestations, canine casualties, and razor wire trampling to name a few. As good as all that, no mention of this film can be complete without lauding the immaculate score by Italian prog-rock Goblin (credited as The Goblins).

Written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi (his wife at the time and mother of their daughter, actress Asia) Suspiria was the first of the The Three Mothers trilogy which included Inferno and The Mother of Tears  which he only completed in 2007, 30 years after Suspiria. Needless to say, this was not my first viewing of this classic, but even so it was only this time around that I noticed the distinct influence of The Exorcist here. All that to say that this movie never ceases to surprise.

Movie Reviews 362 – Hair (1979)

September 21, 2018

Hair is a musical based on a play that tries to capture the tumultuous counter-culture 1960’s era in which America dealt with the Vietnam war and the backlash against the draft feeding the forces, the rise of the hippie counter-culture and their experimentation with abundant hallucinogens and the sexual revolution. Throw in political assassinations, race riots, anti-war demonstrations and the threat of nuclear annihilation with an ever escalating arms race and you begin to sense the stress and anxiety across the land. Heady times indeed.

When Claude (John Savage), a young country boy from Oklahoma, disembarks from a bus with just a few bucks in his pocket at the foot of New York’s Central Park just days before he has to present himself for boot camp, he meets up with a hippie gang looking for a handout. Claude’s intent is on seeing all the tourist sites the Big Apple has to offer before heading out to war, but when the leader of the gang George (Treat Williams) takes a liking to Claude and adopts him into the gang Claude gets to see a part of America that was not on his checklist.

The camaraderie and panhandling has the gang rebuffed by three posh equestrian women riding in the park, but not before Claude gets an eyeful of Sheila (Beverly D’angelo) and performs some of his own rodeo tricks for the gal. The side glances are not missed by George who decides his new friend Claude should spend a bit more time with the reluctant Sheila before joining up with Uncle Sam.That means crashing a formal garden party held at Sheila’s parent’s estate which lands the entire group in jail only to have Sheila come to the rescue.

But once sprung and enjoying a night on the town George pulls a practical joke on skinny dipping Claude and Sheila which results in a frosty reception by everyone. Months later with Claude now in Nevada and about to be shipped overseas, George rounds up the gang including Sheila to visit Claude and to make amends. But with the camp in lockdown George is forced to play one last ruse, only this one too has consequences.

While I was a 70’s teen I was just a tad too young and one country away to have been part of the more radical 70’s portrayed here. Yet I’ve always had an affinity and even jealousy for those that were able to experience the era, warts and all. As such I’ve always had a fondness for movies that captured one or more of the aspects addressed here. But I must say that I was a bit underwhelmed with how little impact it made on me. Understandably as a musical I did not expect as heavy a hand as a pure drama would but at the same time this story was a but too sugar coated and whimsical. Yes some of the issues that were (and still are) indicative of the times were brought up, but in the most cases it was with a white glove treatment.

I was also expecting more of a musical tour de force being familiar with the theme song and number like Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine in, Good Morning Sunshine, and Easy To Be Hard. But aside from a few snippets of other hits of the era in the background I was not all that impressed by most of the other featured songs.

Despite the laudable intent, this Miloš Forman film, while not bad, did not live up to the hype for me. Just not groovy enough for my tastes.

Peace.

 

Movie Reviews 361 – Rush (2013)

September 14, 2018

I’ve always been partial to movies directed by Ron Howard who is much better behind the lens than he was in front of the camera as a child/teen actor despite being in a couple of hit television series. Looking at this directorial history it is clearly evident that his best efforts have been ‘real life’ stories, scoring accolades for such docudramas as Apollo 13 (my personal favorite), A Beautiful Mind, and Frost/Nixon. Rush is yet another feather in his cap where he has effectively captured the personal conflict between the two top contenders who were battling for the crown during the 1976 Formula One car racing season.

Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) were two polar opposite and in their own way equally egotistic individuals, both driven to win the competition that year when faith intervened in the form of a tragic accident. With reigning champ Lauda in the points lead and only a few races to go in the season a fiery crash severely burns Lauda and leaves him hospitalized with a scorched face and one ear completely gone. Hunt, already a thorn in Lauda’s side from the season before and with more than his share of bad luck early in the season swings the tide and suddenly finds himself in contention to win. Undaunted, Lauda who really should be recuperating from the accident makes an astonishing and shocking appearance at the final race  where the championship will be decided.

Howard avoids the pitfall of over relying on on-track race thrills and delivers all the suspense from the characters themselves and the off track events which are more entertaining. He emphasizes the drastic differences between the personalities, both assholes in their own way. Hunt the boisterous braggart and his sexual proclivities against the calculating, self centered and unapologetic narcissistic Lauda. Both are extremely talented and yet both were shunned by wealthy parents for pursuing such an undignified profession. Aside from their talents at driving the only other thing they shared was the mutual hatred and loathing of one another. And yet through it all, there comes a glimmer of admiration and even respect.

This is not a film just for racing fanatics and you don’t need to really understand the sport at all to get the rush from this fine film. You’ll be entertained from beginning to end and not just once the final checkered flag declares the winner in the standings, because the true winners here is the viewing audience.

Movie Reviews 360 – Mars Needs Women (1967)

September 7, 2018

Mars Needs Women was another one of those elusive movie titles I searched for in vain during the VHS eighties. I was a rabid science fiction movie fan and with few exceptions – this being one – I managed to track down most of the obscure titles over the years but this one eluded me

Now you may guess that this was just another “men in silver suits” goofy alien movie that caught my eye – and in a manner that is true – but the real reason I wanted to see this one was because of Batgirl. You see the star of this film is none other than Yvonne Craig, A.K.A Babara Gordon, A.K.A Batgirl, in the sixties Batman TV series and just imagining her as some Martian maiden was enough to set off my Bat-O-Meter. But some films are best left unseen and my dreams of what may lay within were certainly better that what I eventually laid my eyes on screen.

The film begins with three women, each doing different things and going about their daily activities, suddenly disappearing in thin air ‘Bewitched’ style. This is immediately followed by news reports of a strange radio signal being received. The boys at NASA are put on the job and with spooling reels of computer tapes churning they soon decipher a simple three word message: Mars Needs Women!

While the intelligentsia are trying to figure out the exact meaning of those words a saucer with five very human looking male Martians lands somewhere in Houston and hole up in an abandoned factory. The “Martians” decide to split up, each with the goal of seeking out one woman that they can haul back to their home planet. As the five go about tracking their prey which include an airline stewardess, a go-go dancer (credited as “Bubbles” Cash no less), a college homecoming queen, and a painter, the leader of the group (Tommy Kirk) targets a Pulitzer winning “space geneticist” (Craig) and soon discovers… love. Awww!

From what I understand this bottom barrel budget oddity from a no name production company never even made it to theaters and instead ended up going directly to late night and cable TV broadcasts where it gained cult credibility and thus my own attention. The silver painted rubber diving suits chafes as much as the script and the only respite to some of the interminably stretched out scenes is the abundant use of NASA stock footage. But keep in mind that I’m a space nut so even those may bore some people.

The questions posed by the plot are endless. Why did the Martians broadcast the message when the intent was to secretly kidnap women? Did they really hope to save their entire planet with only five women? How can holding up a press card put someone into a hypnotic trance? Why was this film ever made in the first place? But more importantly, why did I bother watching this movie for a second time only so I could write a movie review?