(director: Charles Band; screenwriters: Alan J. Adler, Frank Levering, Michael Shoob; cinematographer: Mac Ahlberg; editor: Brad Arensman; music: Richard Band; cast: Robert Glandini (Dr. Paul Dean), Demi Moore (Patricia Welles), Lucas Bercovici (Ricus), James Davidson (Wolf, government agent working for the Merchant), Al Fann (Collins), James Cavan (Buddy), Cherie Currie (Dana), Tom Villard (Zeke), Vivien Blaine (Miss Daley), Cheryl Smith (Captive girl); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Charles Band; Embassy Pictures; 1982-3-D)
“A dreadful sci-fi film, that plays to the largely gross-out visuals that were seen in 3-D for its theater release.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A dreadful sci-fi film, that plays to the largely gross-out visuals that were seen in 3-D for its theater release. Director Charles Band (“Blood Dolls “/”Crash”) and writers Alan J. Adler, Frank Levering, and Michael Shoob can’t help the lousy acting or the lousy story, as the narrative flounders in a mindless thriller mode, set-piece fights and grotesque visuals. It’s a bad film (an exploitation type of bad film) but did a good box-office. The first 3-D film for the monster movie crowd must have made an impression on them, but apparently not enough to revive the 3-D fad.
It’s the second starring film for the 20-year-old Demi Moore, a film she’d probably like to forget.
The futuristic sci-fi film is set in the post-apocalyptic period of 1992, where gas prices have skyrocketed, dollars are useless and food is hard to come by. Dr. Paul Dean (Robert Glaudini, a better playwright than actor) worked as a research scientist on a secret government project for a corrupt government agent, Wolf (James Davidson), who works for the venal Merchants. Dean creates two deadly parasites that cling to people and propagate before bursting free to cling to others. The scientist decides to leave the program when he disapproves of the aims of the project (which were not passed on to the viewers).
In a lab accident, one large parasite (which to me looks like an ugly shark) gets embedded in Dean’s stomach and is growing there, while the other he stores in a thermos. Since he has only a few days to kill the one growing too large in his stomach before it kills him, the scientist leaves Los Angeles in a van with all his science equipment and the parasites. He then lands in the remote but unfriendly desert town of Joshua, with a population of 64, which is a revolting place where almost all the citizens are either crazed, hostile, sex degenerates or violent redneck mutant punks (like the ones led by a bully named Ricus-Lucas Bercovici, who used to work for the corporate Merchants).
Dean takes a room in the nosy and vain old hag Miss Daley’s (Vivien Blaine) seedy rooming house and locks himself in his room to experiment. When dining on canned soup (there’s only canned food in town) at the makeshift bar of an elderly black NYC transplant named Collins (Al Fann), a gang of punks come in and rough the scientist up. Later they get their jollies off by giving the scientist a beating in the street and stealing his valued thermos. When a semi-retarded punk, Zeke (Tom Villard), looks in the thermos, the parasite attaches itself to his arm and leaves the bad dude dying, and when Zeke dies attaches itself to his ratty girlfriend (Cherie Currie).
The scientist is nursed back to health by nice girl Pat Welles (Demi Moore), who lives a quiet life outside of town and is known for her lemonade. She will help him find the cure, kill both parasites and deal with all the ugly people who are after him.
Meanwhile, the smoothie Wolf, a sociopath. who is well-dressed, has his hair immaculately coifed and is well-armed with a laser pistol, is driving a Lamborghini to follow the scientist. And, on company orders, plans to bring him and the parasites back alive or kill him.
The film’s grounded in the kind of schlock reflecting the boom in early eighties sci-fi. It goes fully into too many silly shocking 3-D moments, which is to its detriment.
REVIEWED ON 7/10/2020 GRADE: C