SPACE MUTINY
(1988)



Hello, everybody, long time no see. It's Pam, back at long last with another review. I finally got back from my Sweaters for Ferrets fundraising tour, and of course the first thing I wanted to do was to review a bad movie. The movie for this review was suggested by Matt Y, and after he told me about it, I took a quick look at it to see if it's true MMT material. Boy, is it ever. An MST3K-ified version and the original version have been posted on Youtube, so I'm off on another review. I apologize for the fuzzy-looking screencaps, the quality of the video wasn't the best. Thanks, Matt!

The movie takes place on the Southern Sun, a spaceship which, as we are informed at the very beginning of the movie, is a generational starship that is carrying a group of Earthlings away from their overcrowded planet to a new uninhabited world. The current crew is 13 generations away from Earth, and the voiceover (that curse of B-movies!) tells us that there are a few crewmembers who have grown tired of being cooped up on the ship. Ominous music tells us that something more than complaints of boredom lie ahead, and we see a sinister-looking man sneaking through a tangle of metal structures and sticking a small metal box on what appears to be a fan but is probably meant to be something highly technical and vital to the ship's function. The grim look on his face suggests that he is not an engineer performing routine monitoring, and that whatever he's doing is not for the good of the ship.


Not a fan, of course not

Before we get any farther, you're probably wondering, what do humans look and dress like in the far future? Well, big permed hair and shoulder pads are quite popular (this movie was made in 1988), and they favor a strange assortment of clothing. It appears that there are no passengers aboard the ship and that everybody we see has some function, but the ship's uniforms aren't very uniform. The bridge crew's uniforms range from loose-fitting gray tunics and trousers to blue-and-silver swimsuits, the latter worn by pretty young women. A man with an awesome Santa-Claus beard, who seems to be the Captain, is wearing a silver cloak-like garment with blue trim. He's played by an unrecognizable Cameron Mitchell who, unless his cloak was heavily padded, had put on quite a bit of weight since his days as a star. Rather surprisingly, eyeglasses are still in use. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a character wearing glasses in a movie set in the far future.


Clothing and technology of the future

But enough about fashion for now, the movie jumps straight into the action, and also raises a question. When you hear of a generational space ship heading to colonize an uninhabited planet, you (or at least I) tend to assume that the ship is completely isolated from any contact, whether human or alien. However, we learn right away that this isn't true in the case of the Southern Sun, since a shuttlecraft is now returning from a rescue mission where it responded to a distress call and picked up survivors "who have identified themselves as Valerians." What? Are these aliens, or are they humans who have settled on a planet they call Valeria? Either way, the ship obviously isn't isolated, so just why are the disgruntled crewmembers so disgruntled? If it's because they want a transfer to someplace else and can't get one, surely sabotaging the ship is going a little far. Can't they just help themselves to a shuttlecraft and sneak off? And it's not only Valerians, whoever they are - the shuttlecraft and several small escort ships with combat capability are attacked by some other spacecraft as they try to dock on the Southern Sun. It seems that the local space is far from empty.

At this point, one of the MST3K-ians asks, "Are we the good guys or the bad guys?" It's a fair question. Are the humans being attacked wantonly, or have the humans invaded someone else's territory? We don't know now, but perhaps time will tell. Meanwhile, attacking spacecraft aren't the only problem the Southern Sun faces, since the sinister-looking man continues to plant small metal boxes in what looks like some kind of industrial facility but I guess is supposed to be the engine room. He isn't making any effort to hide what he's doing, and he doesn't hesitate to plant a box in plain view of a crewmember, who addresses him as "Commander Calgon." Shortly it becomes obvious that Calgon is a villain, as the man who has been accompanying him grabs and holds the crewmember while Calgon shoots him. The pistol Calgon uses shoots a bolt of light, evidently very precisely calibrated as it kills the crewmember but leaves Calgon's henchman, who is standing right behind the crewmember, completely unharmed. Calgon, by the way, is played by John Philip Law, and Calgon can always be recognized by his perpetual scowl and frequent maniacal laughs. John Philip Law is working very hard to let us know that Calgon is a villain.


Evil!

As a matter of fact, as the battle progresses, the attackers are referred to as "pirates," which further suggests that the Southern Star is going through a portion of space that has a lot of inhabitants. Why would there be pirates if there aren't a lot of ships to prey on? The Southern Sun manages to fight off the pirates, but just as the shuttlecraft is ready to dock, Calgon detonates his little metal boxes, which somehow cuts power to the shuttlecraft, causing it to crash into the docking bay. The pilot beams out in the manner popularized by Star Trek, but the passengers aren't so lucky. Among the dead is a man who's come to visit Leah, the frizzy-haired blond daughter of the Captain. So outsiders are able to visit the Southern Sun? A crewman has to carry away Leah, who is shrieking hysterically, so the man must have been of some major significance to her.


She'll never get over this?

Meanwhile, back in the control room, the Captain feels that it would perhaps be a good idea to find out what caused the accident. He doesn't seem to feel any real urgency about it, but maybe he believes in keeping a stiff upper lip. (By the way, the control room has what appear to be windows, and it looks as though sunlight is shining through them. Surely not!) But what about the unfortunate Valerians? They have survived the attack and the crash and are now being shown their new quarters, which consist of just one large empty room. This seems rather stingy, but the Valerians aren't dismayed. Their leader says that it will do fine, but in a spooky tone of voice that suggests she may be conveying her message telepathically rather than orally. Also, the Valerians are huddled together and each one is almost covered with a white cloak, which surely denotes that the Valerians have some Spooky Mind Powers.


A Valerian

We next find out why Calgon wanted to damage the docking station. He is holding a meeting with six other disaffected crewmembers, and except for one, they are all insisting that the ship must be landed. It seems from what they say that, large though a generational space ship must be, it's possible to land the Southern Sun. So why hasn't it been landed already? Is there something really special about the planet where it was headed, and most of the crew will accept no substitutes? No, it's because landing it "would directly oppose the law of the universe - the law of the galaxy." (This was uttered in the most melodramatic tone imaginable, suggesting that there are mystical forces so strong that even Calgon is afraid of them.) Well, this just shows how evil Calgon is, if he doesn't mind violating the law of the universe itself. Is everybody else equally evil? No, one lone voice speaks up to say that the law must be upheld, but he is as a lamb in a lion's den. The other crewmembers beat and kick him senseless, then Calgon impales him with some sort of metal rod he just happens to have handy. There was some serious scenery-chewing going on here, but even so it leaves me with the feeling that if I were aboard the Southern Sun, no matter how tired I was of being in space, throwing in with Calgon's bunch is a really bad idea.

Fortunately for the law of the universe, the Captain has decided to step up the search for the cause of the crash. As part of the search, he interviews hot pilot Dave Ryder, the man who was piloting the shuttlecraft that crashed. Dave is played by Reb Brown. We've already seen him in Yor, the Hunter from the Future, and it looks as though this movie is going to reach the same fine level as Yor. This movie was made five years after Yor, but it doesn't appear that Reb Brown spent any of that time working on his acting skills. Unlike the other male crewmembers' uniforms, Dave's uniform leaves his well-developed arms bare. As he's explaining why he was the only one who made it out of the shuttlecraft, in walks Leah, the Captain's daughter, who is played by Cisse Cameron and is the real-life wife of Reb Brown.


The Captain and his lovely daughter

Leah is not real happy with Dave just now, because she feels he's to blame for the death of her boyfriend. It seems that for some reason, Dave was the only one who could beam out, and he claims that it wasn't his fault that he was the only one to survive.

At the same time, the Valerians are up to something. They're in their bare room, which is now dark, wearing black veils and skimpy leotards, moving slowly, and making arm gestures to the accompaniment of eerie echo-y music. A crewman opens the door to their room and says he got their message, only to be pulled away by another crewman. What's up with that? As if the Southern Sun isn't in enough trouble already, it looks as though there's a bunch of witches aboard. Could they be there to protect the law of the universe?


Spooky doings

Right now, things are not going all that well with Calgon, either. Somebody on the bridge crew has ordered an audit of the explosives on board, and the engineer who performed the audit has found out that 1), there were recently a lot more explosives on board than the ship would reasonably need, and 2) a lot of the explosives are no longer there. In view of the fact that many of the crew seem to be on the ship against their will, which suggests that the ship is completely cut off from the rest of the universe, one might ask where the excess of explosives came from. Are we to believe the ship can receive supplies but none of the crew are allowed to leave? But Calgon has intercepted the communication between the engineer and the bridge, and he knows he's in trouble. He heads to the engine room and corners the unfortunate engineer who spotted the discrepancy. (By the way, this engine room is full of metal stairs, catwalks, and pipes but appears to contain no engines. It also has areas where the light is bright but there are no overhead lights, almost as if - as if there are windows with sunlight streaming in. No!) In between sinister chuckles, Calgon gives the engineer the choice to either join Calgon or be put in "deep freeze," whatever that is. The engineer elects to jump off a catwalk and presumably perishes.

Leaving the poor guy sprawled out on the floor of the "engine room," we go to a nicer part of the ship. Remember when I said there appeared to be windows in the control room? There may in fact be windows on this ship, because now we see Leah in a sunny lush garden, watering plants. There's even a small pond in there.


Every starship should have one

Dave Ryder soon appears, spreading a little aw-shucks charm on Leah to try to get her to lose her hostility toward him. It actually seems to be working, but when she doesn't immediately forgive him, he stomps off. That little plot point having been established, we're taken to a bar/disco where many people are dancing and believe it or not, playing with hula hoops.


Fun in the future

Leah is shaking her booty on the dance floor while Dave, now in a white wife-beater, leans against the bar, admiring her. It looks as though she's spotted him, and her opinion must have completely changed, because she's really going all out with a hula hoop to catch his eye. A few words are spoken, all is forgiven, and Leah and Dave are now the best of friends. However, while they're smiling and chatting, they notice that one of the bridge officers, who as it happens is the woman to whom the explosives discrepancy was reported, is being escorted out by a couple of guards.


Ain't he purty?

It seems to me that a shuttlecraft pilot and a doctor or scientist, which is what Leah seems to be, don't have any business in interfering with the disciplining of other crewmembers, but nevertheless, Leah and Dave take it upon themselves to investigate. They come across the body of the woman, who's just been shot by Calgon. They also see Calgon leaving the area, laughing sinisterly at intervals and for some reason driving an open vehicle of some sort. Dave and Leah's first impulse is to jump into another of the vehicles and head off in pursuit, although Calgon's vehicle is moving so slowly they could probably catch up faster by running after him.

Just as an aside, it's not clear what these vehicles are or why they're there. The action is taking place in what may be meant to be a cargo hold, but the vehicles don't seem to be able to move freight around. They make loud whooshing sounds but don't actually go very fast. They also wobble quite a bit as they move. From a safety standpoint, I'd like to point out that Calgon, Leah, and Dave are all very safety-conscious and don protective helmets before they drive off in their vehicles.


A forklift of the future?

But back to the action, which is now picking up quite a bit. Keep in mind that Dave and Leah didn't see Calgon shoot the woman, and for all they know, the woman might have collapsed from a heart attack. Calgon is also aware that they couldn't have seen him shoot the woman. However, Calgon shoots at them with a weapon that emits bright beams of yellow light instead of at least trying to talk his way out of this, and Leah, instead of telling Dave to stop so they can report this to the bridge, picks up a similar weapon that just happens to be in their vehicle and commences to fire back. All other considerations aside, is it a good idea to have a firefight with energy weapons aboard a spaceship in outer space? You know, where there's no air outside the ship if you happen to burn a hole in the hull?


We see a lot of this going on

But shots are flying non-stop, and it appears that these weapons were designed by Roy Rogers and don't run out of whatever it is they're firing, while the loud stirring background music does its best to make us forget that we're watching two small vehicles move slowly and unsteadily in what appears to be the same industrial facility in which the "engine room" is located. I trust they're not doing this in what is supposed to be the ship's engine room? If so, this is a really bad idea. The energy beams are filling the area with smoke, also not a good idea aboard a spaceship with a limited air supply. However, just then a beam from one of the weapons causes a pipe to fall in the path of Dave's and Leah's vehicle, which forces them to stop. At that time, Calgon does what he probably should have done in the first place and radios for help, claiming that he has "a six-niner in progress" and the people who are causing it are to be "terminated with extreme prejudice." At which, Dave turns his vehicle around, and it disappears in the distance.

Okay, this gives us much to think about. If this were a better movie, this scene would have given us an idea as to why a number of crewmembers want off the ship. It doesn't explain why Calgon wants off, since he seems to be in a position of considerable power. There's no sign of anyone else imposing any discipline. However, being the kind of movie it's been so far, I'm sure this scene was thrown in purely for excitement.

It seems that Dave has aspirations to be more than just a mere shuttlecraft pilot, and he decides to promote himself to Chief Investigator and find out what Calgon's up to. Leah doesn't try to talk him out of this, and they head for the bridge to talk to the Captain. However, they're intercepted by a bunch of men wearing khaki coveralls and balaclavas, which conveniently disguise them. Many shots are fired, and many stuntmen are hurled through the air by the impact of Dave's and Leah's guns, accompanied by smoke and flames. What in the world are these guns firing, anyway? Finally one of the attackers pulls out a walkie-talkie and reports their location to Calgon.

Meanwhile, on the bridge, we learn that the Captain already has his suspicions. He voices his opinion that the sabotage is meant to force the Southern Sun into a nearby constellation, the Corona Borealis, and that furthermore, it's being planned by someone aboard ship who stands to gain something. After uttering this brilliant deduction, he whispers to a senior officer that making wild accusations is dangerous, so they have to investigate secretly. He also mentions something about the Enforcers, who are the people who were shooting at Dave and Leah. By the way, the closeup of the Captain shows that his uniform is pathetically cheesy, 100% polyester.

However, Dave and Leah are ahead of the Captain and have already gone to the Enforcers' headquarters, where they meet an elderly, stooped man with a voice reminiscent of Boris Karloff. He resides in a section of the spaceship that has numerous large pipes, frosted glass windows (!), and fog (!!) I'm not making this up, I swear. This area is called the "deep freeze," for reasons that will very shortly be apparent. It's unclear if this area is part of the engine room, or if it's completely separate. The area also has a rack from which several human bodies are hanging, something that Dave and Leah glance at indifferently.


Perfectly normal thing for a starship to have

Leah does finally get around to asking what they are, and the elderly man informs her that they are enforcers that Calgon has arrested but found to be "redeemable," and has frozen them in case he has some use for them. Thus the "deep freeze." It appears that the Enforcers are security guards, and Calgon is eliminating the ones who won't cooperate with him and is filling their ranks with men he's selected. There are currently 200 enforcers, according to the old man. I have no idea what this man is doing there, since he appears much too old to be able to do any enforcing. He shuffles off to make himself a cup of tea, and Dave and Leah discuss what to do.

Leah points out that this sounds a lot like mutiny, which is against "intergalactic law," and the Southern Sun can call for help. Dave points out that Calgon has probably already installed "scramblers" that will prevent anyone from summoning help. And they can't take a shuttlecraft to leave and find help, because his crash made the landing bay unusable. Dave's idea is to gather a bunch of weapons, which they set off to do. But first, they have to fight off Calgon and some of his goons, who showed up at the deep freeze just after Dave and Leah left and are still chasing them. Much chasing ensues, along with more shots fired from those inexhaustible guns Dave and Leah are carrying. I just have to point out that the color of the rays emitted by their guns changes color from yellow to red to blue from shot to shot. Several more enforcers bite the dust, and it appears that Calgon's 200-man goon squad is getting used up fast. Finally Dave fires a shot into a tank of methane gas, which bursts into flames, stopping Calgon and his men (although the fire's small enough that they could easily have gone around it), and allowing Dave and Leah to escape.

Brief aside here: Leah's remark about mutiny being against intergalactic law, therefore they're entitled to help, indicates that far from heading into unknown, unexplored space, the Southern Sun is in fact moving through a well-settled area that has law enforcement. It also suggests that Calgon's statement that landing the Southern Sun would be against the law of the universe and the law of the galaxy wasn't some mystical utterance but was a sober statement of fact: it's against the law for the Southern Sun to land anyplace other than its original destination. This at least makes it more reasonable that some of the crewmembers would be unhappy about where they're going to be living. Remember, it's an inter-generational ship, so its current crew didn't have any say about where they were going to go. But how does Leah know there is an authority in the area who can help out? It certainly looks as though the Southern Star is passing through space that its crew is very familiar with.

This doesn't explain the Valerians, who don't seem to be fully rooted in normal time and space. In fact, the next scene shows the Captain asking the computer about them, and he is told that they are non-planet-based practitioners of magic. And sure enough, we switch to the Valerians, who have doffed their cloaks and are moving slowly, waving transparent pieces of fabric, and gazing into a glass ball with a round light bulb inside. All of this is accompanied by eerie music, and it surely denotes that the Valerians are up to something. The immediate something they're up to is to send one of their number to materialize inside the Captain's cabin to inform his that his people are falling prey to the powers of darkness. She "shares the way of truth" with him (done by moving her hands around close to him and radiating a red light from them), and instructs him to go get Calgon.


More spooky doings, this time with fewer clothes

There's no explanation as to why the Valerians care what Calgon does. I'll die if it turns out that they're the local police force, but I suppose it's unfair to assume that police throughout the galaxy all use the same methods to enforce the law. After all, there could be those who use mental rather than physical force. The Captain, now that he knows the way of truth, calls a small meeting, which is attended by several senior officers and Dave and Leah, who have evidently managed to make their way out of danger. One of the officers suggests a rational reason for what Calgon's doing: Corona Borealis is infested with pirates who have a thriving slave trade, and the officer thinks that Calgon is planning to sell the crew to the pirates. The Captain appoints Dave as Flight Commander, which is what Calgon's official title was, although I have no idea why a Flight Commander also commands the ship's security. The Captain also makes a general announcement over the ship's PA system to tell everybody what Calgon's up to. It doesn't seem as though the Captain is planning to do anything else right now, and there's another problem he doesn't know about: one of the officers at his meeting is secretly on Calgon's side.

The officer helpfully informs Calgon about what the Captain said, although the Captain really didn't say any more at the meeting than what was in his broadcast. Calgon seems genuinely angry at the Captain for ungratefully refusing the wonderful future that Calgon's actions will provide the crew. And the Captain and the crew, far from worrying about what Calgon might be doing, are in fact busy partying to celebrate Dave's promotion. Dave and Leah are in the greenhouse, celebrating in their own special way. It seems that Leah has completely forgotten her previous boyfriend, the one who died in the recent shuttle crash for which, as you'll recall, she blamed Dave.

Fortunately not everybody aboard the Southern Sun is as frivolous as the Captain and its crew. While lesser folk are having fun, the Valerians are hard at work, waving their arms to the sound of spooky music. This attracts a couple of Calgon's men, who seem to like what they see (the Valerians aren't wearing very much). We'll have to wait a while to find out what the Valerians' master plan is. For now, it seems to involve leaving the two men passed out someplace. When they're found and revived by others of Calgon's team, the two men don't remember anything that happened, even when Calgon has one of them beaten.

We now learn that some of Calgon's underlings aren't happy with his management style. Although Dave is now the Flight Commander, it doesn't appear that the enforcers are now under his command. But worse, it turns out that there really are pirates in the part of space through which the Southern Sun is traveling, and now they attack the ship. But the Southern Star fights off the pirates, and Dave decides it's time to do something with Calgon. What he does is something I don't quite understand: he splits his men into three groups, one to make weapons, the second to be soldiers, and the third to get food and supplies. He's going to seal off all entrances and exits to the engine room, and he and his men will hold out in the engine room so Calgon can't take over the Southern Sun. I can understand that the Southern Sun didn't have enough weapons to fight off mutineers so some will have to be made, and I can understand why Calgon would want to gain control of the engine room, but I don't understand why food and supplies can't just be delivered to Dave, and I don't understand why Calgon didn't secure the engine room a long time ago. From what we've seen, Calgon has at least as many men as Dave at his disposal. Not only that, but we see that Calgon isn't currently even in the engine room, so why can't Dave's men go ahead and capture him?

On the contrary, it's Calgon who goes to the greenhouse and captures Leah. So he's obviously able to move freely around the ship. Why hasn't somebody tried to stop him? He calls the Captain and says that if the Captain doesn't surrender the bridge, he'll jettison Leah into space. The Captain struggles briefly but finally refuses. He plans to fight back against Calgon, and in aid of this, he orders Dave to the bridge. It may be too late to fight back, since Calgon's men appear to have control over the corridors between the engine room and the bridge, and Dave has to fight off several of them. He ends up by knocking one of Calgon's men unconscious and stealing his uniform (which fits perfectly, as is always the case in this kind of movie). Since he neglected to put on the balaclava, I don't see what good this will do him.

But Calgon doesn't seem to be completely dedicated to his nefarious plan, and at the moment he's occupied by torturing Leah to find out what countermeasures are available to the Captain.


Calgon's not a nice guy

Calgon seems to be really easily distracted, though, and when the traitorous officer shows up and announces that he needs to get back to the engine room before he's missed, Calgon immediately turns away from Leah and says matter-of-factly that he'll escort the officer there, leaving the vitally important hostage in the care of one lone man who is so stupid that he lets the hostage lure him to her so she can kiss him. What makes this even more unlikely is that Calgon was using some sort of drill on her teeth just a moment ago, which caused her to writhe in agony (but only when the camera was close to her face) and must have left her mouth very sore. No sign of that, though, or any damage at all; even her lipstick is unsmudged.


She's tough, in more ways than one

Dave is still running through the engine room. Meanwhile, in the torture room things are starting to move into R-rated territory, with an X rating seeming to be a definite possibility, as the just-tortured Leah begins undressing the dimwit enforcer. He's down to his underwear when Leah kicks him and knocks him down at the same time Dave bursts in. They help themselves to the enforcer's uniform, which happens to fit Leah perfectly even though she's much smaller than he is, and off they go. (A brief shot of the downed enforcer shows that the actor must not have known that he was supposed to be completely knocked out, since he moves a little.


I have no words

Dave and Leah run through various areas, fighting off Calgon's enforcers. It appears that Leah took the time to belt her stolen uniform tightly at the waist and insert some shoulder pads, and she's also accessorized it with some fetching little high-heeled ankle boots. None of the enforcers take the time to radio Calgon or whoever is coordinating them to report Dave's and Leah's location. Dave and Leah make it to the engine room, beat up more enforcers, then go back to the bridge. There was no apparent purpose for them to go to the engine room except to beat up some more enforcers. However, it's possible the only way out of the freeze room area is through the engine room, although this would be a strange layout, since you wouldn't want a lot of traffic through the engine room. As I mentioned, it's not clear where the freeze room area is located in relation to the engine room. It's also not clear if the deep freeze is a standard part of the ship's equipment, or if it's something Calgon has installed without the knowledge of the Captain.

In the "engine room," things are starting to heat up. Dave is back, and he, his team, the traitorous engineer, Calgon, and a bunch of Calgon's enforcers are racing around, more or less at random, and are firing at anything that moves. The Captain is on the bridge, viewing the action through conveniently-placed cameras (in an engine room?) He sighs and says that war always brings out the worst in men, and he seems to be completely unworried, as though this mutiny is happening on somebody else's ship. Finally, and I'm not sure why, Dave orders his team to make their way back to the bridge. It's hard to make out, but it looks as though Calgon's gone down.

Leah was also on the bridge watching the action, and she's off to help her beloved Dave. She makes it to the engine room okay, but the traitorous engineer corners both her and Dave. However, Dave spots tanks of methane gas, opens one, and sets the gas on fire, which also sets the traitorous engineer on fire. Let's not ask 1) why there were tanks of methane lying around in the engine room in the first place, and 2) why the methane seems to be spreading like a liquid and not a gas. And especially let's not ask 3) why there are unmistakably large plate glass windows in that part of the engine room.


The technology of the future is beyond our comprehension

After this gruesome event, Dave and Leah stroll back to the bridge, at peace with the world. They're both under the impression that Calgon's dead, although since there were plenty of his followers left, it seems overly optimistic to assume that therefore the fight's over, especially since none of his followers have been captured and placed under restraint. But the Valerians are still hard at work, writhing and speaking in hollow whispers. And this is a good thing, because as it turns out Calgon is still very much alive, although it appears that his followers have all run off and left him. Calgon finds himself one of the slow-moving little cars in the engine room and sets off. Remarkably, Leah and Dave have apparently been instantaneously transported to the engine room, where they spot Calgon and set off in pursuit.

And oh, don't we have some excitement now! This was probably supposed to be a thrilling high-speed chase, but as I've mentioned, the cars don't go very fast and are rather wobbly. It looks very much like Dave and Calgon are fighting it out in bumper cars. However, there are plenty of grimaces and some bad language. Leah, meanwhile, is running around with a gun, trying to help, until Calgon knocks her over with his car. Finally, Calgon hits an empty car, and his own car bursts into flames. Since he'd been hitting lots of other things in his car, I have no idea why this one hit did him in, but we saw a brief shot of a Valerian hand above their glass ball, which may be what did it.

Leah, of course, is fine, and Dave's white wife-beater has remained pristine through all of the action. It doesn't seem that all of the fires we've been seeing have affected the ship's air in any way, even though nobody makes any effort to put them out. And Dave asks Leah to marry him. So gaudeamus igitur, but - oh, no! We're returning to a particularly dark portion of the engine room, and we hear ominous music and see clouds of fog (?). Is it, can it ...yes, it is! Calgon is sitting cross-legged, leaning against a valve handle, looking a little scorched but definitely alive. And with that, we cut to the end credits.


He's baaack!

There were lots of loose ends left besides Calgon's resurrection, which was unexpected since he was completely engulfed in the fire. I have the feeling that whoever made this movie was hoping to make a sequel, or maybe meant this to be the pilot for a TV series. We can be thankful that this never happened, since I have to say this movie was pretty bad.

As you've noticed, the plot was poorly thought out and seems to have been thrown together as the movie was being made. The acting was also uniformly bad, although there were some actors who were just bad (most of them), others who couldn't be bothered to make an effort (Cameron Mitchell, for instance), and John Philip Law, who was in a class by himself. He not only threw in the towel and went full-bore for cartoon villain, he seemed to be trying to see just how much bad acting he could get away with. Also, we never did learn just what the Valerians are and why they felt called upon to interfere with the issues on the Southern Sun. On the good side, Reb Brown does have a nice set of muscles. If this is important to you, it might be worth your while to watch this movie. If not, don't bother.

Sorry for the long time it took to get this review done, but those ferrets needed sweaters!

Written by Pam Burda in July, 2020.





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