Got tired of the dysfunctional Flixter Facebook app. Grading movies A-F. Only movies that I find interesting, but not necessarily high quality. Some blockbusters, some interesting rarities and oddities, and occasionally some turkeys.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Doomsday Machine or Escape from planet Earth och Death in Space (1972)

I watched the movie because the plot sounded like an adaptation of a great mid-1960s comic book I own. Both includes space stations, colonization of the Moon, and exploration of the outer Solar System. The movie also included Mike Farrell (best known for Captain B.J. Hunnicutt in M*A*S*H) and Casey Kasem (the original voice of "Shaggy" in Scooby-Doo).

Alas, I was wrong. Originally begun shooting in 1967 under the title "Armageddon 1975", this movie was never completed. Why is unclear, but I read about budget overruns, mismanagement and threats of lawsuits.

Apparently the movie was rediscovered a decade later and re-edited it into a complete film, with some added footage taken from old Japanese Godzilla and Rodan movies, and some stock NASA film.

The plot: the evil communist Chinese develops the ultimate planet destruction weapon. Meanwhile a peace-loving US space mission to Venus is being prepared. The Chinese plans are detected and half of the US crew is replaced with women. A bit unclear why. A rocket, with a psychedelically lit command bridge, is launched because the peace-loving US realize the world is doomed and they plan to repopulate on Venus. (Sex for everyone. What else?)

Shortly afterwards the evil communist Chinese destroys Earth. Our seven heroes in the rocket are shocked by this evil mastermind plan, which eventually leads to an existential crisis amongst the astronauts, hilariously bad dialog, and more psychedelic lighting. Luckily on Venus there are aliens. The movie ends.

This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The base idea is ludicrous, the effects are ridiculous, the acting is really bad, and the script is awful. It's so bizarre it's actually compelling viewing. The female head actress is walking around the shuttle in a scantly pink bath robe, exposing herself to the male crew until they become sex-crazed maniacs and talk about "vibrations". After all this flick was made post flower power, free sex and all...

Grade: F-

Advisory: Doomsday Machine is a painfully bad movie. Fortunately, it's so bad that watching it becomes an exercise in self-amusement. Watch at your own risk. An indispensable epic.

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