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Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

Laserblast (1978)

by  |  May 25th, 2011  |  Sci Fi

There is something truly special about Science Fiction Films from the 1950s up to the 1990s.  Now of course that is not to say that the buck stops there, there were a ton of great Science Fiction movies that were made in the 1990s and 2000s, there are some pretty awesome ones that are even being made today!

With that said though, there is something that to me makes these earlier Science Fiction films, just a little bit more special… Of course part of it has to do with the fact that I grew up watching these types of movies, I mean some of my fondest family moments with my Dad, are when he and I, or my Dad, my sister and myself are watching such movies as, Alien (1979) or Aliens (1986) or heck, even the first 2 Terminator movies!

The other part of it, is a couple of things:

1. The story lines in a lot of ways seem to me to be more fleshed out.

2. Now I personally have nothing against CGI, I actually think that CGI could ultimately be an extremely valid and valuable tool… With that said, I do believe that in this day and age, that movies (especially Science Fiction Films) tend to rely to heavily on CGI, and because of that over time there seems to me to be something lost in the Science Fiction Movies of today… Besides that there is something almost nostalgic about watching a movie that still relies on Animatronics and Claymation figures.

3. The other thing that I wanted to mention is the acting, I mean the acting was nothing more then sheer brilliance, literally, I am surprised that some of these actors like Bradley Gregg from Class Of 1999, or Kim Milford from this movie didn't go on to be Hollywood A listers!

And there are so many more reason why the 1950s – 1980s was such a great run for the Science Fiction genre! And Laserblast is no different!

Written by: Franne Schacht (Fairy Tales) and Frank Ray Perilli (Steal Big Steal Little) and Directed by: Michael Rae (Sinner's Blood).  Starring: Kim Milford (Corvette Summer), Cheryl Smith (Independence Day) and Gianni Russo (Minkow), Eddie Deezen (War Games), Keenan Wynn (The Killer Inside Me) and Roddy McDowall (The Planet Of The Apes Series)

Billy Duncan (Kim Milford) is a kid from a no where town out in the middle of no where.  His mother is a financially well off woman, who it is hinted at may get her money by taking off to strange locales with people… His girl friend 'Cathy' (Smith) is a good natured girl that lives with her ailing ex-military grand father (who hates Billy), but she loves Billy entirely…

With all that in mind Billy still walks around with a chip on his shoulder…

Billy Duncan (Kim Milford) in 'Laserblast'

That is until the day when he found a very special out of this world item in the desert, and became the most wanted man in the Universe…

But we'll get to that…

The movie starts off with Billy waking up to discover that his mother is taking off to Acapulco with some one. After this Billy (who is in one of his bad moods decides to go for a drive to Cathy's house. When he gets there Cathy's grandfather (Played by the great Keenan Wynn) refuses to let Billy in to the house and all but threatens Billy to get him off his property!

After this Billy drives off toward a gas station to get a soda, when he gets there though and gets his soda Chuck (Played by: Mike Bobenko) and his friend, Froggy (Deezen) show up and persuade Billy to race them in a very one sided race (Billy drives a Cargo Van, and Chuck is driving what looked like to me like a Pontiac GTX.)  Regardless, Billy's van fails to start up, which ends that and makes Billy just that much more frustated…

With that said Billy decides to hang out in the desert for a while and drives out there…

When he gets there he gets out of his Van and notices that his soda is empty and decides to toss it on the ground, the soda bottle lands next to this Alien Weapon…

Now before I continue on here, let me say that earlier in the movie there was a truly awesome fight between an alien that looks like he could be the Incredible Hulk from the 1970s kid, and a group of Claymation Aliens that ended with the Hulk's kid being disintegrated but with his Alien weaponry left on Earth by the Aliens…

Now with that said Billy who came to the very spot where the Hulk style alien died long before notices that the Alien's gun is lying on the ground. Billy decides to pick it up and play like he is shooting people with it… This is until he finds the pendant that activates the weapon…

Billy doing target practice.

Now Billy decides to start using some of the desert brush for target practice and having a great time of it.  Later on Billy heads over to a meeting p

lace that he and Cathy have set up for themselves…

When Cathy arrives, everything is setup for the two of them to lie down and for a candle light dinner, but no Billy! Billy ultimately jumps out of the van scaring her.  After this the two of them lie down and this is when Cathy first notices a discoloration on Billy's chest (where the pendant was) and orders him to go to the Doctor the next day, and persuades him that the two of them are going to be going to a party at Cathy's friend Frannie's house.  So they eventually take off for her house.

Billy and Cathy

While at the party Billy is lying down on a patio chair and is sunning himself while Cathy is being social with everyone.  This is of course till Cathy decides to go and change.  After awhile, though Billy decides that he wants to leave and decides to go ahead and look for Cathy who hasn't come back yet from changing.

Billy looks all over the place till he discovers in a down stairs room in the house that Cathy is in the downstairs room with both Chuck and Froggy, and that Chuck and Froggy are trying to rape Cathy!  Well this of course puts Billy in to a rage and he does the right thing by tackling Chuck and fighting both him and Froggy! At one point Cathy and Billy are able to split, but as they are leaving, Chuck over powers Billy and fights him to the ground till Cathy uses a tennis racket and attacks Chuck with it, which of course frees Billy from his predicament.

After this is done, both Billy and Cathy leave….

Now while all of this is going down an Agent from an un stated Government Agency that investigates Alien related phenomena, by the name of Tony Craig drives in to town and basically takes over the place, he takes control of the Sheriff's Office, and cuts off any news story going in or out of town.  His mission is to find the weapon and the person who has the weapon…

Little does he know that, the evening before he arrives in to town Billy begins to transform in to the new Hulk looking monster and heads back to Frannie's house and while on a hill over looking Frannie's house uses the weapon to destroy Chuck's car! (Chuck and Froggy were leaving the party.)

Now with Billy turning in to the murderous monster, it is up to Tony and the local Sheriff's department to stop Billy from the damage he is causing before Billy can do to much more damage…

The Billy Monster as he is about to kill Dr. Mellon

With that said, what I think makes this an incredibly fun film is the following:

1. Obviously the stuff I mentioned above applies.  With that said I still wanted to make a special mention about the special effects, I mean the laser blasts are classic, but the Aliens were brilliantly done in how they were Claymation characters.  I also mentioned above that the monster that Billy was turning in to looked a lot like the Incredible Hulk from the 1970s kid.  Because of that fact I wanted to mention Ve Neil (The Hunger Games) and Steven Neil (Spontaneous Combustion) for doing such a good job with the makeup effects!

2. The next thing that I wanted to comment on is the acting in the film. I know that I say that a lot but it is true, considering what these people had to work with for the time that this movie was made, they made up for it greatly with having some fantastic acting chops!

3.  And speaking of acting, I am a huge fan of Roddy McDowell, I mean I loved his work in the Planet of The Apes series as well as playing Peter Vincent in the Fright Night series! and Laserblast is no different! His work as Doctor Mellon in this film was just wonderful!

4. The next 2 people that I thought deserved special mention is Keenan Wynn and Eddie Deezen… Since the first movie I saw with Mr. Wynn in it was The Killer Inside Me (1976) and ever since then I haven't seen much of his work but the stuff I have seen I have loved him in and his some times un necessary bravado is completely awesome!  As for Eddie Deezen (which by the way, this is Eddie Deezen's debut film.) I have seen him in a few things now, and even though he plays a bit of a bully in this movie, I love how he could be said to be one of the original nerds, and I am certain is the inspiration for future nerds in film!

4. The last thing that I wanted to say about this film is that I am a huge fan of movies that are based in the desert or in small desert towns, such films as From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) etc… So I gotta say that I really liked the setting for this film!

There is an interesting piece of trivia that I thought that I would mention for this film, in that while I was researching this film, I came to discover that there has been periodic legends about a sequel being made, scrapped etc… But that there may possibly be a sequel floating out there in the ether!

With that said folks, if your looking for a fun cheesy good time, then I highly recommend checking out Laserblast, I loved it, and you just might as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRaXI8O1IKM

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Nathan Strack

About

I am a huge Horror/B-Movie/Grindhouse movie fan! Rather it be Writing/Acting/Directing or just watching one I love it all!

Retrograde (2004)
Post Impact (2004)
Damnation Alley (1977)

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