DVD Review

“War Between the Planets” & “Creation of the Humanoids”

By JHR

"War Between the Planets" & "Creation of the Humanoids"Since I am from England where progress was such that we invented complete buildings with roofs before the moving picture, the concept of the drive-in exists in the same way that pea-soup fog and city types in bowler hats pottering about London exists for you lot; a pleasant fictional nostalgia. Thus a DVD that alleges to duplicate the experience with period adverts, inserts and trailers for films that at once manage to look both far worse and far more interesting than the ones featured, is an interesting cultural artifact.

For particularly odd versions of interesting, anyway. As an experiment, I shall 'blog' the first film of the pair, for no other reason than convenience.

In the future, all cars will look like glass-domed MG Midgets with huge vertical fins and be driven by people with bad haircuts within a city that looks like the inside of a Wurlitzer jukebox. Tom Ellard from Severed Heads is employed in reading the news to white-coated scientists. You can tell the film was originally Italian by the Futurist Autogyro and school-of-Bonestall rocketry.

It's also nice to see Alvin Stardust still getting work, even if he does have to wear a corset and be short with the local equivalent of Diana Rigg. Were I her, the universe would be a strange place, but I'd roshambo the arrogant bugger with those splendid boots and then flounce off for a nice pint of gin.

Hm. In the future, all the people with really bad haircuts will be forced to wear a red triangle on their fascist-fetish uniforms to indicate the nature of their StyleCrime. Meanwhile, back in space, drainpipe-legged spacesuits are in this season, which really isn't a flattering look if you're a trifle broad in the beam like our Diana.

Hello, Alvin's overcome with horror at the state of someone's haircut and, corset or not, hands out a manly shoeing while half-clad in the shower. Unfortunately, Diana comes in before things can become properly homoerotic. Apparently, if she and Alvin don't sort their differences out, there'll be no priests for some inadequately explored reason. Perhaps they're all off driving finned bubble-cars.

It's becoming increasingly obvious that Alvin has all the charisma and leadership acumen of a management consultant, since he's gone off to do something stupid in expensive rockets for no particular good reason. Perhaps to escape the arrival of his fiancé with the particularly terrible haircut, perhaps because he's planning to set up end-to-end TQM processes.

Now they're playing Raymond Scott in the antigravity disco. It's not clear who's going to win. The man operating the Joe-90 machine, it would seem. However, it's now clear why Alvin's buggered off in a rocket - his alleged fiancé is a stroppy fat-faced cow. She's had a go at Diana who's gone off for another pint of gin. Oh, now she'd blagged a lift in a rocket to the planet of the fart-controlled asteroids. Good call. Show Alvin management-boy how it's done. God, but that man's an annoying oaf.

As the alleged tension mounts, Alvin becomes more and more pointy-haired. He sets up a cross-discipline team to report on the farting planet, instructing them on deliverables while playing carelessly with antimatter. As is traditional, if you've got a shiny red helmet, you're completely fucked.

For reasons unknown, they're now wandering round the insides of a sentient discotheque to the sound of Heart and cat-torturing. A vast sponge wearing a boob-tube seems to be menacing them, which is too much for the gin-soaked Diana who lobs away some vital component in frustration over the nonsensical plot and grimly Hoxtonite loungecore soundtrack.

Blast. An opportunity to allow Alvin to kill himself has been avoided. This is most unsatisfactory. And Lord alone knows why Diana's dragging the bugger to safety. No, I'm sorry. This is making even less sense.

Oh, hello. They've found all the priests again. Jolly good. The earth is now safe for rubbish haircuts.

The second film of the set, Creation of the Humanoids, begins as a nuclear test educational piece, but unfortunately isn't. Then there's some stuff about early golf computers that are turned into the aliens from 'Earth vs. Flying Saucers', but that doesn't seem to go anywhere either. Shame. Instead, it appears that after a nuclear war, instead of pissing about with the accompanying nuclear winter and mass mutation into fridges and sitting rooms, the surviving populace build a school-of-Le Corbusier's-dog city and people it with robots that look like the badly re-animated corpses of Michael Stipe, Uncle Fester and Matt Lucas before settling down to… Speak… Very… Slowly… And… Over… Emphasize… THE… Wrong… Words. Highjinks ensue!

A vat-grown Tom Waits plays a hillbilly scientist who keeps a severed robot arm on his desk, presumably so he can scratch his arse with both hands full. Meanwhile, one robot seems to spend every other scene droning on about taking no offence at any robotist comments. It's obviously going to crazy apeshit bugfuck with an axe at some point.

The highest profile anti-robot types are some flavour of militia dressed up like confederate soldiers. Even an English oaf can spot the heavy-handed symbolism there... It gets worse. Under the light of a silvery disco ball, we learn that the chief crypto-confederate bigot's wee sister is a paid-up member of the robot-shagging club. Drama!

This goes down about as well as you'd expect, and before you can say 'Crow Robot', there's a howling mob outside wearing pointy hats and waving burning spanners. Or indeed not. They probably couldn't afford the extras. How d'you lynch a robot anyway? God, what a society of fuckwits. I'm now hoping that the robots rise up and boot out the humans because they're inbred cracker trailerpark scum.

Oh, for heaven's sake. Some Perfect Aryan Female Stereotype has just turned up. She and bigot-boy are clearly taken with each other (in a very badly acted manner). It'll be jolly group hikes and roasting foreigners over campfires before you can say 'strength through joy'... And now they're off to stroke each other's jackboots...

... No they're not. In a brilliant stroke, telegraphed from a long way away, bigot-boy and Aryan-woman are robots but don't know it. In a better film (or a far worse one) this would be interesting, but it's just silly. Oh, and because they're nice robots the woman gets to be thin and is pleased by this turn of events. Jayzus.

Actually, I'd rather be reading Wyndham's Compassion Circuit which covers the same concept in a non-annoying manner. Perhaps I'm missing the point, but if you're going to watch a bad film, it's best if it's MST3K material, rather than something that makes you want to heave the telly out of the window.

Contact Information:
Dark Sky Films
Post: MPI Media Group, 16101 S 108th Ave., Orland Park, IL, 60467, USA
Phone: (708) 460-0555
E-Mail: chris.hester@mpimedia.com
Web: www.mpimedia.com

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