Issue 022—Climb Onto The Nearest Star—Staff Picks: NASA Fandom, Top Five Sci-Fi Movies, Ten Reasons Rock & Rule Is Here To Slay; Features: Fantastic Planet/La Planète Sauvage, Marooned a.k.a. Space Travelers, Alien 2: On Earth, Mockbusters, Tarantula/Piranha/Inseminoid, Zardoz, Hanna, Demon Seed, The Films Of H.P. Lovecraft, Black Sci-Fi Music, Ziggy Stardust, Doctor Who‘s Elisabeth Sladen, Lost, BSG‘s Starbuck, Sci-Fi Romance, and The Silver Metal Lover.
It’s mid-2011, and NASA’s 30-year-old Space Shuttle program is coming to a close. There is no permanent shuttle replacement scheduled at this time to send astronauts into orbit; the flagging United States’ economy has impacted the space program, along with many other governmental programs, immensely. The mood along Florida’s Space Coast—the Eastern coast of Florida—is one of sadness and resignation. Many Florida residents like myself sort of took the activities at the Cape for granted; somehow we didn’t really believe the shuttle program would ever come to an end. Why couldn’t 30 years last forever?
By Emily Carney
The 30-year-old Space Shuttle program is winding down to its end, scheduled for a last launch of the shuttle Atlantis in June. Sadly, NASA currently has few plans to extend space travel after the shuttle is phased out.
Given this bleak situation, a few loyal “space hipsters” on Blogger and Tumblr have put together some rather unique, often completely hilarious tributes which hearken back to the Good Old Days of Space Flight, specifically from 1961—beginning with the first Mercury missions—through the early days of the shuttle program.
Internet memes which originally were created about cats have now been carried over to legendary astronauts such as Gus Grissom, Alan Shepard, and John Young. Without further ado, here are five things you should probably familiarize yourself with if you’d like to acquaint yourself with the new fandom, the NASA Fandom.
By Ann Clarke
I’ll be honest; I’m not that crazy about most science-fiction films. If I like them at all, it’s when they have an underlying theme about some sort of society based in the future, but with a skewed slant that isn’t even typical of a sci-fi film! I’m not into Star Wars, if that gives you any idea of what you wont be seeing in my list.
Back in the ’80s, USA’s Night Flight, a late-night “variety” show, played a mix of weird videos and cult movies on weekends, essential viewing for kids who thrived on that kind of stuff. It was Night Flight that first introduced me to the wonders of Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage), Smithereens, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Fabulous Stains, Urgh! A Music War, and Rock & Rule, an animated, epic sci-fi musical.
I’ve been watching it for more than 20 years now and Rock & Rule is still one of my all-time favorite movies. Here are ten reasons why.
Like Rock & Rule , Fantastic Planet (1973) was an outstanding animated film introduced to me by USA’s Night Flight. For those who do not recognize this film by its English or French name (La Planète Sauvage), certainly you have seen images from it over the years; they aren’t ones you can easily forget.
By Emily Carney
“Before this decade is out . . . we will make a boring movie called Space Travelers.”
—Crow T. Robot, Mystery Science Theater 3000
You know you’re in for something special as soon as the NBC Nightly News circa-1980s opening credits run, boasting music which sounds like it was stolen from the time Les Oraliens degenerated into wholly panoramic 1970s porn.
By Ann Clarke
Midnight Legacy films, for some fucked-up reason only known to them, felt the need to re-release the Italian film known as Alien 2 Sulla Terra. That translates to Alien 2: On Earth. After wasting 84.25 minutes of my life watching this . . . I have to wonder why they even went through the trouble.
By Eric Weber
“No, Mom. Gremlins. It’s about these creatures that take over a town. It’s really good.”
“Yes. There should be this sort of . . . lizard monster on the front of the box.”
“Ok. Well, I’ll see if they have it.”
It was my thirteenth birthday and I was planning on having some friends over to watch one of my favorite movies. However, when Mom came back from the store and dropped the craggy, sun-bleached box on the dining room table, I thought I was going to cry.
This article originally appeared in The So Bad It’s Good Movies Fanzine, Issue #2.
Godzilla (1954) is perhaps the first horror movie to depict the dire consequences of tinkering around with nature, and it inspired decades of thematic impersonators. Although it warned of the dangers inherent in the H-bomb, as environmental and sociopolitical concerns transformed, so did the types of movies which addressed these issues.
American films from the 1950s, such as Them! (giant killer ants), Beginning of the End (giant killer grasshoppers), and The Creature From The Black Lagoon (killer fish/man/beast) all point out how “tampering in God’s domain” (to paraphrase MST3K) can really screw things up.
But what about the womenfolk? How do they fit into this? From Tarantula to Piranha to Inseminoid, let’s look at what happens when we try to fool Mother Nature.