Face it, Earth is over. It’s time to begin anew. We had a good run but like a dead goldfish we need to flush ourselves down the commode and hit the pet store. That’s why with eyes towards the heavens we here on Spaceship Spectacle are proud to launch our second ever (since 2012 anyway) SPECTACLE SPACE JAM 12ish hour Science Fiction marathon. Strap in and bare witness to all manner of creatures, craft, and colonization with visions of the future from here to kingdom come. The bleak and the beautiful explode like a supernova and your brain dissolves like freeze-dried ice cream on the tongue of God. We can’t promise any actual interstellar travel but it’s a nice vacation nonetheless.
SATURDAY, MARCH 24th – 12p-12a
Noon – WARNING FROM SPACE
1:30 – CHRONOPOLIS
3:00 – DEAD KIDS
4:30 – MUTILATIONS
6:00 – THE QUIET EARTH
7:30 – TERRORVISION
10:00 – LATE AUGUST AT THE HOTEL OZONE
Midnight – FEEDERS
WARNING FROM SPACE
dir. Kôji Shima, 1956
87 min, Japan
A rash of UFO sightings across Tokyo has scientists baffled. Sending a rocket up to gather more information and photographs is less than successful and everyone is left scratching their heads. In the meantime, though unsuccessful at attempting to contact humans, the aliens being to appear in lakes and rivers. The Pairan, as they are known, obtain a picture of a famous entertainer Hikari Aozora and transform one of their own from their starfish-like form into hers in order to infiltrate the area.
They bring with them a warning. Their planet is on the other side of the Sun and a rouge planet – dubbed “Planet R” by the media is on a crash course with Earth. Meanwhile the one person who could possibly deter this fate, famed scientist Dr. Kumara is abducted by spies who want to steal his nuclear formula. Can everyone work together before world is smashed to bits?
Jumpstarting the marathon with some 50’s flare WARNING FROM SPACE boasts hosts of tropes and rubber costumes to boot. Crack open your popcorn and drink your coffee while it’s still hot, we’re just getting STAR-ted.
dir. Piotr Kamler, 1983
65 min, Poland
A massive city lurks high above the clouds inhabited by gods and immortals who have grown weary with eternal life. To pass the time they create ornate structures and creates to bow to their whims while waiting for the “ultimate gift.”
Director Kamler (his first and only film) began work on this stop-motion gargantuan in 1972 and created it over five years on a grant from the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel of Paris and Centre National du Cinema. Almost entirely silent with a score by composer Luc Ferrari, CHRONOPOLIS is nothing short of hypnotic.
DEAD KIDS (aka: STRANGE BEHAVIOR)
dir. Michael Laughlin, 1981
94 min, New Zealand
Special thanks to AGFA.
The sleepy little town of Galesburg, Illinois (by way of New Zealand) is being plagued by power outages. On top of that the mayor’s son has disappeared. Local cop John Brady (Michael Murphy – CLOAK & DAGGER, SHOCKER) has his hands full already trying to solve these mysteries and also deal with his college bound son, Pete on his own. John also clips his toenails at the breakfast table which is gross.
Against his wishes, honor student Pete has been trying to squirrel away money by taking part in weird scientific experiments at the local college with a dead professor who’s lectures are saved on tape. Soon Pete’s poppin’ pills under the guise of research but can that account for his…(wait for it) strange behavior? Are these murders somehow connected to the college? Why does John insist on his son going to school out of state?
The first part of a never realized trilogy, the film pays homage to the pulp of the 50’s and 60’s with a midwestern flair – complete with age appropriate actors and a dry sense of humor that really lands. Director Michael Laughlin was a producer on TWO LANE BLACKTOP and screenwriter Bill Condon, only 26 at the time, plays the first teen to be murdered. DEAD KIDS also boasts hot looks and a killer score by legends Tangerine Dream with a soundtrack peppered by the likes of Lou Christie and The Boys Next Door!
dir. Larry Thomas, 1986
70 min, USA
Special thanks to Massacre Video.
“In all the infinite vastness of space, in all the universe, there surely exists life – intelligent life – other than our own.”
Astronomy professor Jim McFarland (Al Baker) has dedicated his life to the pursuit of proving the existence of life on other worlds. Unfortunately for him he’s been right all along. Together with his “secretary, assistant, and loyal compadre” Ann Bennet (Katherine Hutson) and a group of true believers they take a field trip to a nearby town in order to investigate strange lights in the sky and brutal cattle mutilations (like in the title, get it?) Upon arrival they come face to face with a race of bloodthirsty aliens and the fight for survival is on.
Thomas flexes by making the most of what he has – limited locations, stop-motion antics, and a cast who isn’t afraid to give it their all. A passion project if there ever was one, Thomas’ tongue doesn’t leave his cheek but the film does an amazing job of not hitting you over the head with it. “It” being his tongue. The students all settle into their Breakfast Club-esque roles and everyone seems to be having a wonderful time. When the group stumbles onto a cache of weapons in a farmhouse McFarland remarks “Well this is unexpected.” without so much as a wink to the camera.
At it’s core MUTILATIONS is like 1950’s shoestring sci-fi armed with a minivan and a lot of heart. Fans of the almighty EQUINOX, the films of Burt I. Gordon, and fog machines take note – this is the cult film you’ll wish had been tucking you into bed since childhood. Also, it’s about friendship.
Another gem from our friends at Massacre Video, rescued from the void and crammed into your cerebral cortex where it will never leave.
THE QUIET EARTH
dir. Geoff Murphy, 1986
91 min, New Zealand
Special thanks to Film Movement.
Despondent scientist Zac Hobson awakens on the sunny dawn of July 5th like it was any other morning. Going about his daily routine, he discovers he is the only one around for miles. Soon the realization hits that he may, in fact, be the last man alive on Earth. He sends out radio transmissions begging for any living soul to contact him as he relocates to a mansion.
He dawns a nightgown, destroys a church, and contemplates suicide before he finally meets the lovely and lonely Joanne. He explains to her that something went wrong with “Project Flashlight” that led to the disappearance of all life on the planet. Together the two play house until one day they run into the wrong end of a machine gun. On the trigger they meet the volatile Api and the three butt heads about what to do. Hobson fears a second burst from the glitch in “Project Flashlight” could wipe them out as well.
Director Geoff Murphy (UNDER SEIGE 2) showcases these desolate landscapes and a cast you can count on one hand. The emptiness is all consuming and despite a world so large one can’t help but feel claustrophobic. Relying less on the inevitable love triangle and more on the helplessness the film boils over with tension and hurtles towards an ending that must be seen to be believed.
dir. Ted Nicolaou, 1986
73 min, USA
Special thanks to Ted Nicolaou!
Swinging super-parents Mr. and Mrs. Putterman (Gerrit Graham and Mary Waronov) head out for the evening and leave their son home with Grandpa (Bert Ramsen) to watch TV and bask in the glory of their new satellite dish. Unfortunately for them, the satellite has picked up some way out transmissions all the way from deeeeeeeeeeep space. These freaky frequencies are from a planet who decided to solve it’s trash problem by beaming their garbage to Earth. A monster gets loose in the house and it’s up to the Puttermans to put it back where it belongs.
It’s hard not to gush when it comes to the almighty TERRORVISION. With a perfect cast, Richard Band score, big rubber monsters, slime, and jokes on top of jokes it’s concentrated fun. If you’ve never seen this absolute masterpiece, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to right that wrong immediately. But don’t just take our word for it…
“TerrorVision is a caffeinated jackhammer molded into a movie. It’s goopy, hilarious, action-packed…all the things that make life good. Also it’s one of the few intentionally campy features that actually entertains, and boy, does it ever…TO THE ULTIMATE MAX!” – Zack Carlson, DESTROY ALL MOVIES.
LATE AUGUST AT THE HOTEL OZONE
dir. Jan Schmidt, 1967
85 min, Czechoslovakia
In Czech w/ English subtitles
Special thanks to Facets.
Some time after the nuclear holocaust a group of young women roam the desolate countryside. Ambling about without a real sense of purpose and led by an “old woman” in military garb they wander around merely surviving. Soon they come upon an old man running a small hotel (like in the title, right?) and for only a moment it seems peace is within their grasp.
Far and away the bleakest entry in this year’s marathon LATE AUGUST AT THE HOTEL OZONE was largely unseen for almost 40 years after it’s release. Now heralded as a masterpiece of the genre and a favorite here at Spectacle.
dir. Jon McBride, 1996
69 (nice) min, USA
A park ranger is worried a crashed meteor is going to start a forest fire but instead it starts something much worse. Meanwhile, two dorks (director Jon McBride and John Polonia) are driving though the Pennsylvania countryside in search of a good time. The wind up in a suburb where, for some never explained reason, the town has been ravaged by a broken dam. They take some pictures presumably to eat up time in the film. Luckily for them there’s a babe at nearby gas station and they plan a picnic/party in the same woods where the meteor crashed. Unluckily they run down a fisherman with their car and have to take him to a doctors office where he dies. While this is happening the babes – Donna and Michelle – are being terrorized by the titular Feeders. You can see where this is going. Eventually they have to stop these bloodthirsty papier-mâché beasts from taking over PA and maybe the rest of the world.
Let us be 100% clear – we love this movie. On par with other jaw-dropping feats of SOV like BLOOD LAKE, FEEDERS is by and large the crown jewel of this marathon. The Polonia’s are the kings of 1990’s and if we have to die on this hill we will. It’s been a long day and if your brain isn’t silly putty by now it certainly will be after this. Think of it as dessert.