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Posts tagged “NASA

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:


Mars Need Women (1967) – And Actors

Mars needs women – they have a Y chromosome deficiency on the planet making the deficit of women to men at a 100 to 1 level (like any lan party or comic convention), and they’ve come to Earth to replenish their supply of babes.

A quirky, super low budget film that was made for television, this is kind of fun. Good? Oh, Hell no – but fun. A lot of actors in this are also found in Curse of the Swamp Creature and Zontar – The Thing From Venus (both reviewed on this blog), as I believe they share writers/directors. I guess there was a stable of actors for use in these crappy films.. I doubt that the film made much of a splash at the time, as it is hard to find a copy of it now. I did find a copy on Youtube (that I watched to write this), but most links reference the Rob Zombie song of the same name.

Here is the plot summary from Wikipedia:

The premise is that a military decoding station has intercepted a message, only three words, “Mars Needs Women”. As the plot unfolds it’s revealed that Martians have a genetic deficiency that produces only male babies. They launch a mission to Earth consisting of five Martians who recruit volunteer women to come to Mars. They meet strong resistance on the part of the Earth authorities. 

Oh, and a Martian falls in love with a hot female DNA expert.
 

Should you watch it? Oh, probably not, but if you decide that you want to check it out on youtube.

Here’s a clip:

And here is the whole thing (no,  i’t not in Russian – there’s just Russian subtitles available if you need them):


Deep Space (1988) – Better than I Expected – Though I Didn’t Expect Much

I just finished watching the 1988 horror/Science Fiction film, Deep Space and was pleasantly surprised: I expected this to be really bad -it turned out to be mildly o.k. actually.

A secret military experiment has created a bug like living weapon in space – and that experiment has fallen to Earth. The reason the experiment was done in space was due to how dangerous the creature would be if it got loose (plus, to keep it secret, probably). Well, now that’s crashed to Earth, it is now killing everything it comes in contact with – and reproducing. Dectective Ian McLemore (played by consummate ”that guy” actor, Charles Napier) and his partner, Detective Jerry Merris (played by Barney Miller alumni, Ron Glass)  investigate the gruesome killing of a young couple and find some interesting, things at the scene of the crime… thing apparently not of this Earth. Of course they were killed by the creature, released when it crashed to Earth. More people get killed, a hot police woman gets mixed up with McLemore and his unofficial investigation (he gets put on suspension early) and the gonernment/Military try to keep it all under wraps. Oh: and throw in a psychic (played by the always awesome Julie Newmar) and you have this movie.

I initially thought that this film, in some ways reminded me of the film, Biohazard – then I read that the maker of that film made this film too! The creature’s design is definitely inspired by the creatures from the Alien movies (including the young that look so much like the Face Huggers from the Alien movies that I’m surprised the makers of this film weren’t sued over it). The film isn’t great, but I actually expected it to be much worse. Would I recommend it? Well, why the hell not? I mean, I’ve recommended much worse films!

Check out the trailer here:


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