Pass The Cheese, Please
Robert I. Hedges | 05/12/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I must really hand it to marketers: I can't imagine finding a single DVD with four less entertaining sci-fi films on it, yet people still buy this disk. Each of these films is offensively poor, but one is nearly impossible to sit through.
"The Astral Factor" is laughably silly as an insane but brilliant convict uses ESP to harken back to his mother's death while being pursued by perhaps the least likeable police detective in movie history. This one is a real eye-roller, but is mostly just silly and boring. It is also the best film on the DVD.
"The Galaxy Invader" is a tale of drunken rednecks in "Harleyville" (really) attempting to capture and exploit a sleestak-like green alien with a hairdryer-like laser pistol. There are subplots about disgusting drunken romance, a professor (who is the worst actor I have ever seen in my life) and his protege who free the "green man" from a high security garage, and spousal vengeance involving a cliff and puppet. This is truly onerous, but is not the worst film on the DVD.
"Battle of the Worlds" is by far the worst movie on the DVD. Many will disagree as it stars Claude Rains (at an all-time career low) as a scientist. It concerns a marauding planetoid that orbits and attacks the Earth, and the annoying people who defend our fine planet. This is a sure cure for insomnia. I hated this movie.
"Unknown World" gives "Battle of the Worlds" a fine competition in the contest to determine which is the least enjoyable film. I liked "Unknown World" much more as it features disagreeable characters, but has some hilarious "scientific" dialogue and ponderous cold war overtones, not to mention the silliest mode of transportation in movie history, the "cyclotram" which is basically a giant mechanical platypus used to tunnel to the Earth's core.
The quality of the films is quite poor, and the color transfer (especially on "Battle of the Worlds") is very bad. There are no extras, and each film is only divided into four scenes, so navigating around the movies is difficult. Still, you do get four movies at a very low price, so if you are into bad sci-fi and you want a bargain, this disk may be for you. Try watching them all back to back. I dare you.
Science Fiction Schlock
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 03/03/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
I do not know how many movies have been made about invisible people. However, most of them have been a waste of time. This 1976 movie falls into that category, though it does feature a stellar cast.
Roger Sands (Frank Ashmore) is a convicted killer sitting in prison. Roger has developed his mental powers so that he can do miraculous things, like turning mattresses upside down, knocking a gun from a person's hand, and turning invisible. Turning invisible is a good talent to have in prison.
We see Elke Sommer, Queenie Smith ("Foul Play" and numerous other roles), Robert Hoy and numerous other well-known character actors in this movie. The movie is filled with experienced acting talent. Unfortunately, the acting talent struggles to make anything of this movie. The acting is frequently overdone, and often reminds me of a comedy I once saw where the actors were supposed to "emote."
The only bright spot in this movie was Stefanie Powers. She stole every scene she was in, and laid the groundwork for her role in "Hart to Hart" and other shows. I would watch this movie again just to watch her.
"The Galaxy Invader"
This movie is just plain awful. The acting is horrible, the plot is dumb, and the special effects are beyond cheesy. In the pantheon of bad movies, this one has to be near the bottom.
An alien lands on earth for reasons that the movie never discusses. Unfortunately for this alien, he has landed in the middle of red-neck hell, the capital of which seems to be Harleyville, Maryland.
There are a few moments in the movie where there are almost moments of tension, but I was groaning so much that I failed to be tense. Scenes of the alien skulking in someone's basement I found puzzling. The fight scenes where everyone was moving slowly enough to make sure they really did not hit each other was like something from an awful Kung Fu movie. The stupidity of the majority of the actors in combination with the terrible acting turned this whole movie into a joke.
There is a class of movies that are mediocre, but worth watching. Then there is a class of movies that are so bad that they become a kind of classic, such as Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space." Between these two classes of movies is a class of just plain awful movies that should be allowed to disintegrate into fertilizer; this movie fits into this category.
"Battle of the Worlds"
I thought that a movie with Claude Rains, who starred in such classics as "The Invisible Man," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Casablanca," and "Notorious," might have some redeeming characteristics. This movie did have some redeeming characteristics, but they were almost exclusively those of Mr. Rains.
Professor Benson (Rains) is a middle-aged genius who hangs out with his flowers and hot babes. When a planet enters our solar system from another galaxy, Professor Benson always seems to know what to do, though nearly always just a little late to be truly effective. The planetoid causes a near catastrophe with one of our spaceships, and then mysteriously goes into an orbit about earth.
Flying saucers that spout animated beams of light attack spaceships sent to investigate the planetoid. The earth plans to blow the planetoid up until Benson convinces them that doing so would be a disaster. Benson travels to the planetoid so that he can ferret out the secret hidden in the planetoid. Once on the planetoid, our intrepid voyagers discover that the interior of the planet is full of surprises. I will leave the rest for you to discover.
Much of this movie is boring. I grew tired of waiting for something to happen. It was only after the saucers attacked that the pace picked up. I did like Rains' curmudgeonly character. Unfortunately, Rains' character is insufficient to make this movie worth watching. I am unable to recommend this movie except for fans of awful Italian science fiction movies.
This movie is similar to the classic "Journey to the Center of the Earth" filmed in 1959, eight years after this film. However, while that movie is enjoyable because it combines the acceptable naivety of Jules Verne's era with straightforward story-telling, this movie ignores everything known in the 1950s about the interior of our planet.
Dr. Jeremiah Morley has decided that nuclear war will eventually doom mankind. His solution is to find man a home inside the planet, safe from nuclear war. Dr. Morley builds his vehicle, looking much like a spaceship with tail fins. Unfortunately, the vehicle's drill was only about half the diameter of the vehicle itself. On the plus side, the vehicle did have a self-contained air supply, water and concentrated food. On the negative side, the vehicle appeared to have no accommodation for sleeping.
Once in the underground utopia, our explorers anticipate the birth of baby bunnies because that will tell our explorers how suitable man will find this environment. Unfortunately, the baby bunnies are born dead because, here is a GREAT scientific conclusion, mammals are sterile under ground! Huh? I had to wonder what genius came up with sterility as being a cause of death.
This movie was okay for a one-time watch. I doubt I will spend the time to watch it again because I struggled with the scientific stupidity. If you have to watch every movie made about journeys deep into the earth, you have to get this one. If you want to get a movie that you have plenty of opportunity to pan, this one is good for that. If you are looking for a good fantasy about exploring the center of the earth (assuming no molten core), then get 1959's "Journey to the Center of the Earth."
Day of the Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Invisible
danger ex machina | Philadelphia, PA | 07/11/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"...Disclaimer: This review is soley for "The Astral Factor". My comments on the other films can be found elsewhere on Amazon. Short and sweet, don't waste your time with them..
Celebrity strangler with a mommy complex masters the paranormal, tuns invisible, and simply walks out of prison. There's witnesses that testfied against him to strangle, dontchaknow! Nothing doing there from a cell. Couple of cops who don't get along set out to stop him. The Darth Vader breathing and heartbeats during the invisibility sequences get old fast, but this isn't such a bad film, with a great late 70s SoCal feel that I love. We get treated to a boat chase, a satyr play, and one of the actresses singing Leadbelly's "In The Pines" as if she was Nico in between the murders. The theme song sounds like someone trying to translate a bluesy jazz piece into Krautrock. Certainly unique. Mildy recommended, but again, avoid the other three films included here, particularly the turgid "Galaxy Invader"."