We made it to another Thursday, and with it, another Thursday Movie Picks. This week our host, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, has chosen the topic of science fiction horror. Let's keep it real. Isn't all science fiction at least a little bit horrifying? Think about Star Trek for a moment. Perhaps the most famous piece of equipment on the show, and in the movies, is the transporter. It comes into play every time someone says "Beam me up, Scotty." Think about what we're told it does. It "dematerializes" you, or transforms your entire being into an "energy pattern" then beams it to a target destination where you are reconfigured. When something goes wrong with the transporter, well, it's far more likely than not no one will ever see you again. I barely trust my cell phone to transmit my voice from one place to another. You think I'd be willing to get in that thing? No thanks, I'll pass. What if you couldn't help it, but found yourself dealing with some terrifying new technology, or something created by technology, or something from another planet. That's what happens in science fiction horror. For instance...
(1982)In the fine tradition of many a horror flick, we open with a guy who has gone full-blown psycho and murders his family. After he's been handcuffed and thrown into the back of a squad car, he literally breaks the cuffs and manages to get a gun off one of the cops. Other cops then fill him full of lead. Our nutjob shows up to the hospital near death. A not too ethical doctor decides that not only should he save this dude's life, but he uses the formula he's been working on to do so. Basically, it's the equivalent of Captain America's Super Soldier Serum. Needless to say, the dude gets up feeling all spry and homicidal, and sets out to do some more murderizing. In a movie like this, we normally get one hard-working cop trying desperately to crack the case and stop the killer. We get that here, as well. The difference between this and other movies is that our cop is Chuck Norris. Yay! Roundhouse kicks for everybody!
C. H. U. D.
(1984)Growing up in New York in the 70s and 80s, I saw lots and lots of homeless people. Apparently, some of them took up residence in the city's sewer system. What if being down there started to, you know, affect them. In C. H. U. D., short for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller...okay, pause. I was going to make that a complete sentence, but every time I think about or type the full meaning of that acronym and I have to smile at the ridiculousness of it all, so that's what I'm doing now. Okay, we can continue. Anyhoo, these, um, CHUDs, are people who have been mutated by chemical and toxic waste. And they're hungry. Yes, this one is sheer 80s delight, an unabashed allegory, and so bad it's awesome! If you decide to take the plunge, be on the lookout for an early appearance by John Goodman.
(1985)One day, some dudes find some alien...um...stuff...bubbling up out of the ground. When they find its sweet and has zero calories. Of course, it hits the market under the name of...The Stuff...and does serious damage to the ice cream industry. I mean, threatening the existence of ice cream is terrifying enough, but this slice of B-movie madness takes things a step, or twelve further. The Stuff turns out to be living, parasitic, and taking over the brains of the people who eat it...and eating those people from the inside out. Nice. By the end of the movie, the...stuff...is everywhere and we get lots of similarities to The Blob. It's another one of those movies that so bad it's awesome! The added bonus is that it has a downright spectacular cast in a movie they'd probably like to forget being in. It includes Michael Moriarty, Paul Sorvino, Danny Aiello, and Garrett Morris. It also has both Patrick Dempsey and Mira Sorvino in uncredited early roles.