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Posts tagged “1977

Capricorn One (1977) – Compelling (if Flawed) Sci-Fi Conspiracy Flick Worth Watching

I first saw Capricorn One as a kid in the theatre with my then best buddy, Craig, more or less on a whim. As kids of 8 (or so) years old we often based our movie choices based on the Movie poster – this was no different, except we liked this one. I liked it even more, watching it 35 years later.

Capricorn One tells the story of a faked, manned Mars landing. Based on the faked lunar landing conspiracies (which I do not believe -I am convinced Man DID  walk on the moon), but applied to a fictional Mars landing, writer/director Peter Hyams created a (semi) believable tale of conspiracy and cover ups that keeps the audience watching and waiting.

The story goes something like this: Just minutes before the launch, the crew of Capricorn One, the first scheduled manned mission for Mars, the three man crew is pulled from the capsule and secreted away to an abandoned military base, while the rocket is allowed to lift off without crew. Once at the military base the astronaughts (played by James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O.J. Simpson) are briefed about a problem with the life support system that would have left them dead within two weeks of launch, and that they would be required to act out parts of the mission here on Earth. It’s argued that this is the only way to save the space program and American pride. When they don’t immediately agree to the plan, their families are threatened, which convinces the crew to go along. Over the period of the “mission” a member of the ground crew notices that television feed from the crew seems to be coming from a much closer source that Mars. After bringing this fact to his superiors attention multiple times (and given a bogus excuse about issues with the terminal that he works on), he is finally “disappeared” by the powers that be… Which gets the attention of his reporter friend, played by Elliot Gould, who stumbles upon the whole conspiracy.

Meanwhile, upon re-entry it is announced that the heat shield on the capsule had separated and the crew had died (despite never being ion the ship). The astronauts quickly figure out that this means that they’re going to be killed to keep the conspiracy buried. Quckly, they decide to try to escape and soon take off on a Learjet parked nearby. Unfortunately, the plane is low on fuel and they are frced to land in the desert where they head in opposite directions in an attempt to get to a major population centre thereby blowing the roof off the whole scam.

If I tell you more, I’ll give away too much. Let me just say that this is a great, fun adventure, and that while I don’t believe the whole “they faked the moon landing” thing, but that this made for an entertaining film and I definitely suggest this one a s a go ahead and watch movie.

Here’s the trailer:


Orca: The Killer Whale – A Mammalian Version Of Jaws… Sort Of

1977’s Orca – The Killer Whale was obviously an attempt to ride the wave created by the Buzz of Jaws, released just two years prior.

Starring Richard Harris as as Captain Nolan, a salty Irish-Canadian fisherman who is determined to catch a killer whale to sell to an aquarium so he can finally pay off his boat. Also starring a terrible wooden actress by the name of Charlotte Rampling as Rachel Bedford, a local writer and Whale specialist who almost made me gouge my eyes out due to her emotionless, borring voice and acting. Harris is, fine – portraying a salty fisherman quiet well. It’s just…she sucked badly.

Anyway, Harris’ character attempts to catch an Orca live, but the attempt goes horrible wrong when the whale attempts to kill it’s self by forcing itself into the boats propellers. They manage to hoist the whale aboard, but the whale immediately aborts it’s foetus. All this is watched, closely by the whales mate. The remaining whale begins a course of revenge against Harris and his mates. Eventually, Harris drops the captured whale back into the ocean, too late for her to be saved.

Over the next however long, the whale manages to disable evey boat but Harris’ in the harbour – he wants to fight Harris at sea. Harris’ obliges.

I guess this is an attempt at a modern Moby Dick. Despite Charlotte Rampling’s shitty acting, I found this film somewhat compelling.  It’s also an attemp (I think) to make a “smart Jaws.” Jaws was about a mindless eating maching that just did what it was programmed to do: eat and swim. Orca is about an intelligent, thinking animal that methodically plots and extracts revenge against the man who killed it’s mate.

Interesting, and despite some low points, quite watchable. I say go for it!

Here is the trailer:



The Car (1977) – Proof You Can Make a Horror Film About Anything

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Wow – Haven’t seen this since grade 6 or so. Much scarier then.

This thriller/horror film came out in 1997, obviously riding the wave of road movies (like Steven Spielberg’s Duel and Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000) and stars James Brolin.

The story? A possessed, black, evil driver-less car starts killing the people of made up Utah town Santa Ynez. One by one this black evil car ( a Lincon I think) is running down and generally terrorizing this town and it’s people. The police force, and primarily James Brolin’s character are forced to deal with the menace.

They fight the car (after losing more of their own), blow it up and save the day. Or not…

Because I can’t be bothered, here is what Wikipedia has to say about this movie:

The film is set in the fictional Utah community of Santa Ynez. Two bikers are cycling on the canyon, and a mysterious blackLincoln Continental Mark III[citation needed] is following them down the road. At the bridge, the car rams them at the back, causing them to fly over the bridge, killing them on the spot.

The police is called to the first of a series of hit and run deaths, apparently caused by the same car that appears heavily customised and has no license plate, making identification difficult. Sheriff Everett Peck (John Marley gets a lead on the car when it is witnessed by Amos Clemens (R.G. Armstrong) after it runs over a hitchhiker. After the car claims its fourth victim, the sheriff itself, while trying to kill Amos, it becomes the job of Captain Wade Parent (James Brolin) to stop the deaths. During the resulting investigation, an eyewitness to the accident states that there was no driver inside the vehicle.

Despite a police cordon being placed around all roads in the area, the car enters town and attacks the school marching band as it rehearses at the local show ground. It chases the group of teachers and students, among them Wade’s girlfriend Lauren (Kathleen Lloyd), into a cemetery. Curiously enough, the machine will not enter onto the consecrated ground as Lauren taunts the purported driver that any of the townsfolk have yet to see. Seemingly in anger, the car destroys a brick gate post and leaves. The police chase the automobile along highways throughout the desert before it turns on them, destroying several squad cars and killing five officers in the process. Wade confronts the vehicle and is surprised to see that none of his bullets put a dent on the car’s windshield or tires. After trying to open the door, Wade is injured, and the car escapes.

The hunt for the car becomes a personal vendetta for Wade when the automobile stalks and eliminates Lauren by driving straight through her house, right when he is speaking to her over the phone. Wade’s deputy Luke (Ronny Cox) puts forward the theory that it acted in revenge for the insults hurled on it by Lauren and notes it cannot enter hallowed ground. Wade concocts a plan to stop the car by burying it beneath a controlled explosion in the canyons that lie outside of town. After discovering it waiting for him in his own garage, he is forced to carry out his plans post haste. He is pursued by the car into a mountainous canyon area where his fellow officers have set a trap for the machine, and a final confrontation settles the score with a demonic visage appearing in the smoke and fire of the explosion. shocking the police officers.

The final scenes show Wade refusing to believe what the group saw in the flames, despite Deputy Johnson’s insistence about what he saw. The film concludes, in some cuts, with the car prowling city streets, clearly having survived.

That is The Car. Watch it? If you want – you’re not missing much if you don’t.

Here is the trailer:


The Incredible Melting Man (1977)

Some more Sci-Fi fun with the 1977 film, The Incredible Melting Man. An astronaut, Steve West is exposed to radiation on a mission to Saturn that leaves him crazy and hungry for human flesh… And melting.. Did I mention that he’s melting? Oh, and apparently he’s incredible. Steve West is being pursued throughout the film by a scientist that wants to help him and a General that wants to capture him, all the while finding victims to chow down on. This is pretty bland acting with a weak plot and what’s probably not the best screen writing. Still, the the bad guy melting astronaut looks pretty gross and there’s enough funny cheeziness to make it worth watching. For most of the film, the melting astronaut is stalking victim for their flesh while the government hunts for him. With a little NASA stock footage thrown in every once in a while, the Melting astronaut seems to be having flashbacks of the mission that doomed him as when he is on screen, there is audio playback from sounds like mission control. I thought the film took itself too seriously until I read that it was originally supposed to be a parody of horror Movies, and but that most (or all) of the funny parts were removed, leaving a run of the mill, mostly crappy B-Movie in its wake. It has an almost “Made for TV” feeling, though I do vaguely remembering

seeing the movie poster as a kid in a theatre and thinking it looked cool. The poster left it’s mark I guess, because once I saw that the movie was on Netflix, I jumped at the chance to watch it. Sometimes you should let memories be. That being said, I should note that the effects are done quite well – he looks like he’s melting. This shouldn’t be a surprise though as the effects are done by special effects great, Rick Baker

This film was also featured on the always awesome Mystery Science 3000 TV show.

Suggested watching? Not really, but to be honest it wasn’t even close to being as bad as many of other movies I’ve watched over the last few weeks.

 Watch the Trailer here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc6pGJZ8Xd4

And you can find the movie on Mystery Science 3000 here (on Youtube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWALN1cRFWM