Thursday, 1 May 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 review – 087 Laserblast

A movie that had people restraining my arms to prevent me from clawing my eyes out, Laserblast was kind of a test. I won't lie... this whole project almost came to a premature end right then and there. Please, if you dare, read the review of...

This is one of the opening scenes. Read the following review at your own risk!

Laserblast (1978)

Over the course of the past 4 months or so, I've witnessed some pretty serious attempts to ruin the lives of movie goers everywhere. Some of these films are relatively new and, thus, not released upon an unsuspecting cinema going crowd, but rather tossed straight to DVD and even then straight to the bargain bin. However, when movies start to move past the 1990 mark in production year, I suspect the general public weren't quite so lucky. Laserblast came out in 1978, a time ripe with exploitation movies and various other types of low budget stuff that was churned out for a marginal profit. I can't even imagine shelling out hard earned dough at a theater, only to sit through 85 grueling minutes of this cacapoopoo. Imagine bringing a date too? You'd be going home alone that night for sure. Unless, by some amazing miracle, you managed to convince said date, that you honestly had no clue this movie would suck something fierce. Whatever the case may have been, you wasted your money and time.

Eddie Deezen in the pink shirt. We're supposed to believe that anybody with that hair and those glasses could ever bully anyone. Billy must really be a pussy if these two are his tormentors. 

What can we learn from this movie that may be at all interesting? Well, it's made by a one time director, which may go a little way in explaining what the fuck was going on. Still, I've seen quite a few movies by first time directors that weren't bad at all (I rather enjoyed Gone Baby Gone, but I suppose I was biased, since I enjoyed the book as well). Laserblast was the feature debut of Eddie Deezen. Eddie Deezen, huh... Just who in the sam hill is that even? Well, my ignorant little friend, Eddie Deezen is none other than the dude who plays the geeky Eugene in Grease, a movie amusingly enough also from 1978. In Laserblast, similarly amusingly, Eddie Deezen plays a bully, albeit very unconvincingly. Which may be the reason he was offered the role in Grease. His role as a geeky moron seemed to fit his bill quite a lot better. And that's about it for interesting Laserblast tidbits. It says a lot, I guess, that those two things are the most interesting things I could, and possibly would, find for you lot. I'm 13 films into this 100 film extravaganza, and my will to live is slowly draining. Actually, and I suppose I might as well come clean about this, some of these movies were watched, by me, up to almost a full year before sitting down and writing these reviews. I suppose, if I really wanted to bare my soul completely, I should watch a movie a week, and then write the review right after, so as to keep all the amazing action fresh and ripe in my mind. But I just really really don't want to, you know. And it's not really as if these movies are hard to remember. Sure, I may lose a detail or two along the way, but I gotta leave a little to the imagination, right? And also, my brain needs to let some of this go. It just can't handle all these movies' details stored. It's not healthy.

I found it hard to take a screenshot from the movie, without Billy having this obscenely goofy look on his features. 

The story in Laserblast is ludicrous at best, even for an alien invasion movie. Which leads me to a quick point: this isn't even really an alien invasion movie. It's just aliens muck about on earth, and a local fuckwit picks up a weapon, transforming him into, what can only be described as, a stupid looking fuckwit with an alien weapon that also happens to act like he's insane. That's really it in a nutshell. Along the way, Billy, as he is called, gets into all kinds of loco shenanigans, involving local scientists, the police force, government agents and a girl he's sorta kinda dating and aforementioned Eddie Deezen of course. Billy finds this here weapon, and it urges him to go on a murderous rampage across the Californian desert, and the adjacent towns. There is an amulet too, that Billy wastes no time in adorning. This amulet burns a weird and disgusting looking hole in his chest, that doctors are reluctant to take seriously. So is Billy himself. It looks pretty fucking serious, but what do I know? I'm no medical professional. We late learn, that the amulet is sort of trying to become part of the wearers body, just as the weapon itself becomes an extension of the wearers arm. Things take a turn for the worse, when Alternate Billy starts blowing up police cars. We are treated to an absolutely astounding scene, in which a running Billy is shot at with a sniper rifle from a moving fucking Cessna airplane! Somebody thought that would be super awesome to do, despite actually hitting anything from a moving airplane is well beyond the realm of possibilities. But so is Billy's facial expressions, so I digress. Anything is possible here. 

If that doesn't look disconcerting, I don't know what the fuck would. 

In the end, of course, spoiler spoiler, Billy meets an all too early demise, by the hands of the very aliens who granted him this weapon to begin with. That's what you get, when you start handling ultimate power. You just don't do it!

Billy finds the weapon, and immediately starts waving it around, the power surging through his veins!

The movie leaves everything to be desired. I mentioned Grease earlier, and I'd like to bring it back up for another comparison. The image quality of Grease vs. Laserblast is astounding. Of course equipment lacked quality back then when compared to today. But sometimes you'll see a movie from that era, like Grease, and you'll think 'yeah ok, it looks slightly aged, but still not terrible or anything'. Then you watch Laserblast, out in the same year, and you just can't believe your own comprehension ability. How is this possible? It's a question that will bamboozle scientists for decades to come. The effects in Laserblast are probably the only slightly positive thing. They aren't at all good or impressive, but the stop motion, while very stop motiony, had a certain familiarity to them. Kind of like the King Kong vs. T-Rexfight in the 1930s version. Pretty awesome in 1933. Not quite as awesome in 1978. But if Laserblast was a movie made by a bunch of late high schoolers, I'd be pretty impressed. It's not, however, so.. I'm not. Whatever the case may be, it's kind of wacky in a this looks a little ok but then again not really kind of way. Weirdly, that's also the way this movie rocks.

Billy done goofed!

Oh I don't even know who I'm kidding here. I fucking hate this flick. I don't even feel like saying anything positive about it, because I'd just be egging curious people on. Like Richard Dawkins and debating creationists. If he does it, he lends them credibility, when really their theory is well past lizard people of the underworld and alligators in the sewers conspiracies in terms of sheer wackiness. The default movie to compare shitty movies to, in my book, is Troll 2 obviously. Laserblast doesn't beat Troll 2. Nothing really can. But it's definitely Top 3, right behind It's Pat. On a scale to “I would like to end my life now” to “If I go down, I'm taking the world with me!” all three movies clock in right around “If I ever see anybody responsible for these movies in real life, I'm gonna open a can of whoopass”. Pacifistic as I may be, I might just have to suspend my ideologies for a few minutes.

Billy hitches a ride, and immediately starts threatening innocents. That's just Billy being Billy. 


So somewhere I read a somewhat interesting theory about this movie, that I guess I might as well end this drug out review with. Somebody (satanicus6 of imdb reviewer fame) put forth the theory, that this movie is a cinematic masterpiece of bad movie making. I'd say he was one for two on that statement, but let's hear him out anyway. He basically claims, and forgive me for paraphrasing a little here, that Billy Duncans decline into insanity because he finds a weapon of ultimate power is really an analogy on despondent youths in our society, and their need to belong. Billy is kind of estranged from society. The Deezer dude is bullying him, and his girlfriend is almost raped at a party kind of. His mother seemed kind of distant (I honestly don't even remember, but the opening scene featured her, so for the sake of my point being valid, let's pretend she is distant (which she might very well be)) and he becomes disgruntled with the world and what it has offered him. A weapon of ultimate power is an easy way out of the mundane everyday Billy calls his life. Of course power corrupts, as we've seen time and time again in the realer of our lives (the one in which you are currently reading words telling you you are currently reading words telli... anyway), and Billy, despite being in a not that much realer world, is no exception to this magnificent rule. In Billy's case, power doesn't just corrupt, it turns him into an actual frenzied massmurderer. That's satanicus6's theory mixed with sentences I made up to fill this review with some much needed drama. Of course, my theory is a slight variation of the above. My humble theory is, that Billy is just a shitkicker, and whoever decided this movie was a wise career move for anybody, should have his license to work in the industry revoked indefinitely. That's what I think. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it!

I love this scene a lot, I gotta hand that to Laserblast. Screencapping for this review reminded me of the only positive part. Just look at that fight!
I guess an honorably last second mention goes to the scene immediately previous to these two screenshots, in which the two bullies, who, as I may have hinted at, look like just about the biggest and dorkiest losers in the world, try to rape the blond girl on the couch. That's right. Fucking rape! It's just shrugged off. The 70s, man... those were crazier times. Thankfully for her, Billy is a deranged alien weirdo murderer with a heart of gold, and he takes the time out of his busy deranged alien weirdo murderer schedule, to get medieval on these two goofballs asses.

Billy finds his footing, and threatens the bullies (who are wearing the lamest clothes in the world) with a kid's tennis racket. 

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