The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Space Chase (1990)

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One of our readers, Sutekh, sent this to me all the way from Australia. After seeing the trailer on YouTube, I was excited give it a whirl. It's been a while since I sunk my teeth into something so bad, yet so good.

Space Chase takes place in 2097, and has a bounty hunter that owes a lot of gambling debts, so he agrees to rescue this scientist that's been captured by the evil Dr. Croam and his drones. This dad scientist has uncovered the secret to unlimited energy, which would be the perfect marriage with a drone army to make it unstoppable. So his daughters get the bounty hunter to save him, and he does.

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If you're looking for a bad movie night film, look no further. Maybe not as great as Space Mutiny, but very close. The hero looked and sounded like a guy who sells motorized lifts for stairwells or reverse mortgages in advertisements during Game Show Network and RTV TV shows-- dressed like Han Solo, of course. The drones looked like a cross between Darth Vader and the Long Haired John Saxon guy from Cave Dwellers. I could go on, from the blue guy (a Chameleoid, meaning he turned other colors later), to the toy models set in terrariums that were supposed to be docked space ships. This was 50s style cheese made in the late 80s/early 90s.

This is definitely the kind of film I got into this for. You can sometimes find these gems on DVD in those 50 packs or something, but they're getting rarer. There are just too many bad movies being made in the theaters that can be sold in three or four packs with established names associated with them. The same goes for channels like USA and TNT that used to play them late at night. Why put one of these on, when Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd just made another sack of asscrack based on a best-selling mystery novel? Mel Gibson's Ransom alone has accounted for myriad broadcast slots that a Space Chase would've been allotted back in the early 90s.

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I have to feel like George Lucas watched movies like these, ripping off Star Wars, and must've seen the special effects and thought "mine aren't much better." I personally wouldn't say that, but if it was my movie people were ripping off, I might be a little more self-critical. The problem is, the backlash created by him trying to make what he did before better, or not as much like a Space Chase, killed the rest of the movie. It wasn't the special effects that made Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi so great, it was how exciting the stories were, how much Darth Vader was the ultimate baddie, or how cool Harrison Ford was a Han Solo. Space Chase wasn't just bad for it's special effects, it was bad for the horrible acting, the script where lines felt like non sequiturs, and the fact that it was a bad rip off of Star Wars. Somehow Lucas lost sight of that, and replaced the awesomeness of those earlier films with a whining kid as a young Darth Vader, more computer generated content than quality story, and nothing anywhere as cool or iconic as the elements we grew up with that were such a huge part of our popular culture.

Watching a film like this makes me wonder how hard it would be to make. Like, could you do it for under $100,000? Paying actors would cost the most. You'd have to round up all the rejects from the local community theaters. I imagine in New York or LA you'd find willing participants easier, and maybe cheaper. Could you raid a costume shop for the wardrobes? Maybe see what people are selling on eBay. It's looking like it may run more than $100,000, huh? Then you gotta throw in the time spent spraying cardboard boxes Flat Black and adding white dots; and don't forget scratching trademarked logos off toys bought at yard sales. Still, I bet it would be a fun time. For an 82 minute movie, I could whip together a script in less than a week-- maybe even less than that depending on how derivative I wanted to be. The hero's name is Han Trio...?

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I didn't recognize anyone in this except for one girl, whose name is Julie Nine. Where did I recognize her from? A movie called Kill, Kill Overkill that I saw on USA Up All Night back in the mid nineties. In it, she and her two friends are staying in a remote cabin, are attacked by a crazy guy and his brother, and held hostage. She definitely got more screen time in that one than Space Chase, but she spent most of that screen time bound and gagged with duct tape, so I don't know which one was better for her. Those are Julie Nine's only two imdb credits, so who knows what happened to her. Probably married a rich investment broker out in Van Nuys, lives in a gated community with three kids, and keeps her boots and gold lamé dress she wore in this movie in her closet for whenever she needs a Halloween costume on short notice.

I want to thank Sutekh again for giving us this gem. If you can find it anywhere, it's well worth your time, especially for a bad movie night. This is late 80s/early 90s bad sci-fi Star Wars rip-off cheese at it's very best.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0294931/

8 comments:

  1. Glad you enjoyed it! I had never heard of it until I saw the trailer on a VHS for another gem "Look Who's Toxic" which led me to track down the movie. I've never seen it again and it definitely hasn't made its way on to any official DVD.

    For those interested here is the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxB0EmdckaU

    One of the actors in the film commented on the trailer on YouTube a couple of weeks ago.

    "The Director's name was Nick Kimaz he also produced it. It was shot in 1989. I plated Tane in the film, it was my first film. All the space scenes were done with models. The interior of the spacecraft was the old Battlestar Gallactia set. If I'm remembering correctly, I think June Nine (blonde actress) had done Playboy right before she did the film."

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  2. Hey, how about you review a Gary Daniels film on Thursday, either Deadly Target or Hawk's Vengeance-two of Daniels best films IMO, both of which are availible on Netflix just so you know.

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  3. Julie Nine was in Playboy, good to know. They didn't mention whether she married the investment broker from Van Nuys or not though. People must be able to get that Battlestar Galactica set easily, because I've seen it in other films.

    I'll make a deal with you Michael. If neither Black Dynamite or Wrong Side of Town are available from Netflix, I'll do one of those Daniels films Thursday. Otherwise I'll do one for you on Saturday.

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  4. Thanks alot man, i'm sure you'll definitely enjoy both films!

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  5. Hey Matt, low budget sic-fi movies like this one can sometimes be a tough watch cause they are never what they aim to be. Their stories would require a big budget, so they are left short handed and make do with whatever toy model they got laying around.

    I had a torturous movie watching experience a while back when I submitted myself to watching the ultra low budget straight to video sic-fi called Star Crystal. Oh my god was that one bad. Boring, terrible effects, it almost felt like a DIY film, but without imagination or creativity.

    Id like to recommend a straight to video review: did you ever see a monster movie called Munchies? It was a stv effort that was ripping off Gremlins. Haven't seen that one in ages!

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  6. I hope one of the services the DTVC provides is a warning system for unsuspecting movie watchers, making the murky waters of low-budget sci-fi a little easier to navigate, and keeping the boring separate from the fun. Space Chase was definitely more fun than boring, so it's worth seeing.

    Munchies is no longer available on Netflix, and the sellers on Amazon want a lot for it, but I'll keep my eye out for it. Star Crystal, on the other hand, is good to go right now, but you're saying we should steer clear?

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  7. LOL! I was in this film was I was 20 years old. It was shot in 1988 in Irwindale, CA. The sets were from Battlestar Galactica other then that it was ULTRA low budget.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by! That's so awesome and must've been such an interesting experience haha

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