Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Astro-Zombies

Tonight's crappy movie is The Astro-Zombies, a 1968 creature flick with John Carradine as the Mad Scientist, Wendell Corey as a CIA investigator, and Tura Satana as, well, Satana. The plot seems simple enough: Mad scientist creates ridiculous-looking creature. Creature goes on a berzerk killing spree, as creatures often do. Unlike most creatures, this one uses a machete, thus providing a bit of very unconvincing late-60s gore. The creature is also solar powered via some sort of crystal thingy on its forehead. At one point it's getting dark and the creature's running low on juice, so it grabs a flashlight, holds it to its forehead, and makes a run for the secret lab.

Meanwhile, a team of boring good guys in suits and Ms. Satana's team of international baddies go looking for the creature. Wendell Corey's character heads up the good guys, and whenever he speaks you can tell he's extremely drunk. This would be hilarious, except that Corey died of cirrhosis of the liver shortly after this film was completed. Actually it's still hilarious, it's just that laughing about it isn't very nice. A further odd detail is that Corey, a conservative Republican, was also on the Santa Monica, California, city council at the time he starred in The Astro-Zombies. Ahh-nold, eat your heart out.

There are basically four independent sorta-storylines going on in the movie: The Feds, the international baddies, the MS & assistant, and the creature at large. You never see John Carradine outside the lab, and nobody meets up until the very end of the film, which must have really simplified shooting the thing. It also makes for a distinct lack of drama; you can fast forward through the Carradine bits without missing anything at all, as he spends the whole film mumbling technobabble at his assistant and doing precisely bupkus. The Fed bits aren't overly thrilling either, and you can fast forward through them without missing a lot of essential plot twists. In fact it's fair to say, generally, that the less of the movie you actually watch, the less confused you'll be. You may as well stick to the creature parts, because the creature is a hoot, and the parts with Tura Satana slinking around being cruel to various people, which you don't want to miss, because, duh. Oh, and be sure to watch the title sequence & credits, which involve wind-up toy robots for some reason.

Anyway, after various semi-thrilling adventures, various characters arrive at the secret Carradine lab, and both he and the international baddies get theirs, and justice prevails. Believe me, this is as comprehensible a plot summary as you're going to get anywhere on the Interwebs. A review at Bad Movie Report goes into way more detail, and confesses to being utterly mystified by the movie. And that's coming from someone who's seen way more crappy movies than I have. If the pros can't make head or tail of the thing, what hope do the rest of us have?

No comments :