Category Archives: Science Fiction

Curse II -The Bite (1989)

Director: Frederico Prosperi (as Fred Goodwin)
Starring: J. Eddie Peck, Jill Schoelen, Jamie Farr, Bo Svenson .Italy/USA. 1h 37m

After the success of The Curse (1987), an indie effort to breathe cinematic life into the classic HP Lovecraft story The Color Out of Space. An Italian/American sequel, in name only manages to cobble together a strange blend of body horror and romance and in some respects it stands strong as a very strange orphan.

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Deep Space (1988)

Director: Fred Olen Ray
Starring: Charles Napier, Ann Turkel, Bo Svenson, Ron Glass. USA. 1h 30m

I love when the smaller budgeted movies attempt to retell bigger budgeted blockbuster style stories, and this film, that spends most of its time I’m swimming in the success of other sci fi  classics like Alien (1979) in fact it’s totally an Alien rip off, but all of its good intentions, seems to be another homage to cult film but plays out like another version of the fated project, The Dark (1979),  and this about s successfully thrilling as Alien 2 on Earth (1981)

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Dark Encounter (2019)

Director: Carl Strathie
Starring: Laura Fraser, Mel Raido, Sid Phoenix, Grant Masters, Spike White, Nicholas Pinnock, Alice Lowe, USA/UK. 1h 37m

Dark Encounter is another film in a long line up, of Intricately detailed thought provoking sci-fi, drawing more towards the side of hard sci-fi and yet remaining dreamily artistic, this bold attempt to to blend a missing person case in and around the most profound alien contact, proved to be very thought-provoking, and somewhat beautifully bittersweet.

With other epic sci-fi titles out there such as Interstellar and Arrival, Dark Encounter can proudy sit among them as a strong contender. Even without going full Christopher Nolanesque and devising a complex world that falls in and on itself, with surreal curveballs and slips within time and space, there is a palatable connection between our world and another. Were the reasoning why, being slightly baffling, it still proves to be an outstanding piece of work both visually and intellectually.

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The Rift – Endless Descent (1990)

Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Starring: Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Ely Pouget, Deborah Adair,John Toles-Bey. Spain/USA. 1h 19m

If you’re a fan of underwater horrors such as The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six etc, then this film will feel really familiar to you. Often seen as a BMovie version of the movies mentioned above due to its lack of originality in the plot, the film is often praised for providing a decent entertaining sucker punch for it’s limitations. Considering that 1989 was the sterling breakthrough for deep sea thrillers involving a host of alien and mutant creatures, it’s a strange step backwards to watch Endless Descent ride on their back 2 years later, but for all its flaws it’s incredibly watchable.

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The Dark (1979)

Director: Tobe Hopper, John Cardos Starring:William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Jacquelyn Hyde. USA. 1h 32m

This could have been a real contender as one of the more imaginative bold and vibrant sci-fi thrillers of the late 70’s but it fails on a few fronts which is a crying shame. The total of it’s dismal failures is all down to a ton of rewrites as the director duo of Tobe Hopper and John Cardos scramble around trying to wedge their classic into the shadow of the other highly successful sci-fi movies like Ridley Scott’s ALIEN (1979).

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Maze Runner – The Death Cure (2018)

Director: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Aidan Gillen, Giancarlo Esposito, Thomas Brodie-Sangster. UK. 2h 22m

I’m a big sucker for well planned trilogies, but if I don’t feel there’s much going for them, like the Matrix, I’ll only watch the first and last. Generally the 2nd movie is just fluffy filler, something to make the fans ever eager for the penultimate showdown. I like to see the set up and close down and I feel that I’ve not missed anything by skipping straight to the final chapter here. At last we all get some closure to a franchise that has a curious beginning, the ending won’t be much of a payoff.

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World War Z (2013)

Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, .USA/UK. 1h 56m

For every great book there is a highly anticipated and terrible movie. Even the “good” movies fail to hit all of the high notes of a novel, but spending 2 hours watching one person’s perspective of something that might have taken you a week or month to read will never compare. At least World War Z was very open that it was never an attempt to “be” the book but just to give a flavour of one of the books ethos, but more importantly for studio this was going to be the biggest grossing movie with the best stars and have fancy graphics and the world was going to love it.

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Maneater/Unnatural (2015)

Director: Hank Braxtan
Starring: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson, Graham Greene, Gregory Crux .USA. 1h 29m

A year after his gross toxic adventure featuring a group of strong femme friends in Chemical Peel (2014), Hank Braxtan is back with a similar environmental disaster movie, but this time a similar uncaring tech company aren’t illegally transporting chemicals but instead they have something dangerous brewing in their icy labs.

There seems to be a drive within Braxtan to warn us of the dangers of covert labs and the dark secret organizations who are totally ruthless with their chemical waste and with arcane unrelenting needs to control nature. In the opening scene we have a gleaming smile from the cult actor Ray Wise who is the spokesman for Clobirch claiming to be an environmentally conscious company they have everyone’s interests at heart.. But no one is fooled.

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Skylines (2020)

Stylized as SKYLIN3S

AKA Skyline 3

Director: Liam O’Donnell
Starring: Lindsey Morgan, Jonathan Howard, Daniel Bernhardt, Rhona Mitra, James Cosmo, Alexander Siddig .USA. 1h 50m

Long after the failure of Skyline and the mediocre success of the sequel, it’s plain to see that the new format is the new template for all future movies, now that Liam O’Donnell is in the driving seat. While O’Donnell’s fine tuning has made a drastic improvement in the Skyline trilogy it’s taken the film down a strange rabbit hole but is this third installment a breath of fresh air or just the final nail in the Skyline coffin? Continue reading Skylines (2020)

The Black Hole (1979)

Director: Gary Nelson
Starring: Maximillan Schell, Joseph Bottoms, Robert Forster, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, Anthony Perkins. USA. 1h 38m

Black Hole is one of those gems from my childhood that, no matter how advanced space exploration has become, or my personal knowledge about the universe has grown, I can always return to Black Hole with a wonderment and fascination that takes me back to my youth and just makes me believe we’ll reach the stars one day.

It’s very much a Disney version of 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968) or possibly their first attempt to jump into the Star Wars universe? The original story was conceived as a space themed disaster movie, but after being re-written several times and then adopted by a moderately desperate Disney for additional computerised camera technology to create the effects it slowly grew into a highly ambitious space opera. The Black Hole was finally reborn for it’s dismal box office failure not that this takes anything away from the films unique philosophy and small cult following, it still delivers a quirky look into space exploration and the mysteries of a black hole with lots of fancy additions, cute robots, sinister robots, and the moral questions that hangover he heads of those men who are willing to sacrifice everything to step into the true unknown . Continue reading The Black Hole (1979)