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)
Director: Egor Abramenko~
Starring: Oksana Akinshina, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov, Anton Vasiliev .Russia . 1h 53m
There has always been this strange surreal nature to the epic ideas of Russian Science Fiction, be it art, animation, novella or cinema you’ll always find something so profound and lavish in the Russian culture of art. From the early Aelita (1924) to the genre defining Stalker (1979) Solaris (1972) and Visitor to Museum (1989) there’s a strong sense of new ideas and concepts so far out and esoteric it’s hard to take in but yet these films stand as testament to the ingenuity of Russian Cinematographers (using soviet brutalism and derelicts to their advantage) and Directors who work an orchestra of stunning and creepy visuals and wonderment.
Continue reading Спутник / Sputnik (2020)
Director: Shane Abbass
Starring: Daniel MacPherson, Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth, Bren Foster, Harry Pavlidis. Australia. 1h 30m
Sometimes the ideas in sci-fi movies are so brilliant they are easily missed, but when dealing with advanced concepts about mimicking bodies, mutations and genetic diseases that are totally alien, there’s no real easy way to go about it. But I feel with some more attention to editing and with an actual drive to interact with an audience then this could have been more hard-hitting and some of its counterparts
I would never suggest that Shane Abbass, is actively copying any other films that I’m about to mention, but I’m willing to step up and say that I’m actually quite intrigued by what he could do with a small budget, this previous movies Gabriel (2007) managed to pull off a lot that was missed from the Prophecy film franchise, with all of his film mastery and magic however, just now and again he just can’t seem to get something quite right and I can’t quite put my finger on it. To my eye, there seems to be a really strong connection with Franck Vestiel’s, Eden Log (2007) and Pandorum (2009) and though Inifini doesn’t really step on any toes per say it appears that they are probably best watched together as a trio of great sci fi movies all connecting a similar theme. Continue reading Infini (2015)
Previously Ad Inexplorata “Toward the Unexplored“
Director: Mark Elijah Rosenberg
Starring: Mark Strong, Sanaa Latham, Luke Wilson, Charles Baker .UK. 1h 30m
A deeply philosophical sci fi drama that borders the aesthetics of lo fi and challenges a lot of immortal questions about mankind exploring anything about the world around them as well as the wells of unknowns from within.
There’s a ton of highly sophisticated looking tech and a groundbreaking invention at the centre of this one way trip into the void. But Director Mark Rosenberg is more focused on creating an intelligent and driven character and isn’t happy until he’s peeled back all of his layers to get the most intimate look into a fictional character that I’ve seen in a long time. Apart from his pet project, which literally milks water from rocks, the rest of the tech isn’t the shiny fan dangled aspect but Captain William Stanaforth (Strong) does know this machinery all too well inside and out but it doesn’t mean everything is going to run smoothly despite his expertise.
Continue reading Approaching the Unknown (2016)
Director: Richard Stanley
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Some Alpacas, Tommy Chong, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliott Knight, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hillard, Josh C Waller. USA. 1h 51m
Richard Stanley has made a succinct but highly notable list of horror movies over the last 37 years, my personal top favourite is Hardware AKA Mark 13 (1990), a film I associate with so closely I have my own MARK 13 tattooed as part of my sci fi leg piece, Dust Devil (1992) and Island of Dr Monroe (1996) received mixed reviews but retains a solid cult fan base for their unique approach to horror. Somewhere within all of his back catalogue there includes crazy hallucinogenic colour bursts, unknown hidden horrors and strong powerful characters who are usually lost in the heat of the earth.
Continue reading Color Out Of Space (2019)
Director: Stephen Herek
Starring: Dee Wallace, Scott Grimes, Billy Zane, Terrance Mann, Don Keith Opper, M. Emmet Walsh, Lin Shaye .USA. 1h 28m
Critters are basically an intergalactic cross between Gremlins and Hedgehogs. I feel bad saying this as the director, Stephen Herek, got so much stick for copying Gremlins even though Critters was written and in production before Gremlins but small little creatures with a mischievous nature are all alike to me.
80’s American horror was often family based, possibly a ploy to get it into every home, but this average family find themselves having a night from hell when a group of Crites escape from their asteroid prison hijack a spaceship and speed down to Kansas where they start hunting for food. Luckily for the people of earth there are two highly skilled bounty hunters hot on their tails but on entering earth, one takes on the guise of a famous rock star but his sidekick has a bit of trouble with his green glowing face and ends up resembling random towns people he runs into, which is something that really confuses the already confuzzled local police force. Continue reading Critters (1986)
Director: Scotty Baker
Starring: Doug Jones, Marina Sirtis, Morgan Lariah, Mindy Robinson, Armin Shimerman, David Lim.USA .1h 29m.
In the opening scenes a woman’s body is retrieved from a space vessel, while recuperating, her memories of the events that led up to her rescue are watched by Marina Sirtis, who’s an agent trying to find out what happened to the crew, in order to report to a committee she is charged with viewing the memory “playback”.
In a turbulent maladjusted future there are two distinct classes, Citizens and Non-Citizens, the later class are considered bottom feeders who have very little rights and are generally only entrusted with meanal jobs, looking after livestock etc. But one woman stands out among them, Eve (Lariah) a technical officer despite her exclusion from the higher class. Continue reading 5th Passenger (2018)
Director: William Malone
Starring: Stan Ivar, Wendy Schaal, Lyman Ward, Robert Jaffe, Diane Salinger, Klaus Kinski . USA. 1h 37m
I feel a little bad for suggested that this is just another Alien (1979) rip off, but it’s obvious that it’s highly inspired by the late 70’s classic, but it does a little something extra to the cult storyline that did develop from the Aliens comic spin offs. What really came a shock is that this film was released only 1 year before Aliens (1986) and yet it struggled to look half as good, and I’d hate to assume it was purely down to budget, but that’s not all of it’s woes.
In a slightly comical prologue a pair of geological researches from an American corporation start investigations on Titan, one sits on an egg like container so his companion can take a photo and a pissed off alien rips him a new one later the geologists ship crashes into a station with the pilot having died in his seat, somes like something from Alien huh.. Continue reading Titan Find / Creature (1985)
AKA Alien Terror AKA Strangers
Director: Ciro Ippolito
Starring: Ciro Ippolito, Belinda Mayne, Mark Bodin, Michele Soavi,Judy Perrin. Italy. 1h 32m
Before the Alien (1979) film could be fully licenced and trade marked, it obviously had a profound effect on Italian director Ciro Ippolito decided to take it upon himself to craft a unauthorised sequel, and while this film has a low budget, the scope is there for a much bigger and impressive project, but the Alien lifeform is more affiliated with The Thing (1982)– In a Cave.. and has little to do with Ridley Scott’s cult classic.
While the earth eagerly await the return of a group of astronauts, meanwhile in an unrelated television studio, Thelma Joyce (Mayne) appears to talk about Spelunking and caves but she had a terrible psychic episode and violent visions forces an abrupt ending to her interview. The spaceship arrives but the crew are missing, in theory I believe this is supposed to be the derelict Nostromo. Meanwhile a young girl playing on the beach finds a pulsating blue rock, when her mother finds her, she’s missing her face.
Continue reading Alien 2 – Sulla Terra / Alien 2 – On Earth (1980)
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya. USA. 1h 50m
The lack of originality in this horror sci fi is quite disturbing, not only the story pretty basic, but it could have lead to some riveting situations, but the set up is like a b movie horror, if there was a trail of blood leading to a room of screams the cast would trip over each other running into sudden death. But there is a blinding moment at the “oh fuck” ending which really hit a personal nerve with me otherwise the film would be a total disaster.
An unnamed interstellar mission uncovers a basic life form in some soil samples from Mars. The probe is recovered by the International Space Station and their 6 member crew manage to revive a cell sample, which quickly evolves into a multi celled organism which American school children name Calvin. I can only imagine it started out as a piece of space Slime Mold (Check out the docu film Creeping Garden for a ton of info) An accident in the lab causes Calvin to become dormant, so Hugh Derry (Bakare) tries to shock Calvin back to life, this obviously pisses off Calvin who crushes his hands an in his hostile frame of alien mind then roughs up the doctor and starts smashing up the lab. At one point he breaks into a small cage and eat one of the lab rats, and starts to grow larger. Despite initiating safety protocol, which means isolating the doctor and Calvin, the team still decide to enter the room in order to save the doctor, (DOH!), Calvin then see this is a free lunch. This is probably one of their more imaginative attacks, as he enters the scientist body and eats him from the inside out, but upon reappearing he is larger, which is a pretty big indication to the fact that Calvin just consumes and grows. So after eating Ryan Reynolds our boy Calvin then decides to go on a murderous rampage in and around the ship. Continue reading Life (2017)