It’s the Polonia brothers, one more time!
This one, oddly enough, is amazingly close to being halfway decent. Yeah, I know how unlikely that sounds, particularly when we are talking about a production which is as relentlessly cheap as anything they’ve made (who knew that astronauts would wear dust masks with an added button and a set of shop goggles as survival gear on an alien planet?)
But the end result is fairly close to those Spaghetti SF films of the sixties, albeit with some very shiny CGI instead of the toy-like models Antonio Margheriti used in films like Wild, Wild Planet. The plot could be a mash-up of bits and pieces of Planet of Vampires, War of the Planets and War between the Planets, with astronauts going off to explore a newly discovered planetoid in orbit around Mars and various mysterious goings on.
We get to see some of Brett Piper‘s creature work (with a reprise of old one-eye from Preylien), yet another spaceship with ordinary tables and chairs, a big role for John Polonia, and Polonia favorite Jon McBride as the Captain (he also co-directs).
Let’s face it, we’re talking about a film put together by a couple of twin brothers from Western Pennsylvania on a nothing budget. What makes their work stand out is not that they’ve overcome the limitations of their amateur cast and minimal resources – which they haven’t, particularly – nor is it that they managed to make a movie at all, and not just “a” movie but over 30 which have been released to video; but their dedication to their art. They believe in what they are doing, even if no one else does, and aren’t going to let the fact that their films are mostly terrible stop them. They seem to be shouting at us, “let’s see you do any better”.
And the last time I checked I certainly haven’t.
So if you expect a glossy, Hollywood, “new car” of a movie with great sets, effects and acting, don’t go anywhere near this one. But if you can accept its limitations, this is actually quite a good terrible film, and enjoyable, in its own modest way.