Space Mutiny (1988)

This one was made by A.I.P.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: American Independent Pictures, the same company that churned out hundreds of low budget films by Roger Corman, Bert I. Gordon, Edward L. Cahn, Larry Buchanan and others like them.  And you would be wrong.

Instead, we are talking about Action Independent Pictures, which made a lot of direct to video films back in the Eighties, the kind of films that could be advertised with a bare chested guy holding a machine gun on the poster.

Obviously, they could have called themselves “Independent Action Pictures” or “Action Pictures Independent” or even “Action Pictures,” which suggests they wanted people to mistake them for the real A.I.P.

Which is just wrong.

Space Mutiny also ended up as one of the most popular episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 for very obvious reasons.  Very obvious.

However, you do have to give it credit as its effects sequences are remarkably good.  I mean John Dykstra good.  Heck, they were actually made by John Dykstra.

The only problem is that they were made for Battlestar Galactica.

You know a film is in trouble when it borrows something instantly recognizable from a series this well known.  All I can think of is the bizarre Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam, aka Turkish Star Wars,” which stole footage from Star Wars and a lot of other films.  But at least that was a case of massive copyright violation, and they didn’t actually pay for those effects!

This one was made in South Africa and a huge chunk of it takes place in what is obviously a factory.  Apparently, they tinted the film red to suggest the sunlight coming through the windows was a glow from the engine room, but unfortunately, the guy making the final prints color corrected those scenes!

The director, David Winters (who also wrote this thing — and was the head of A.I.P.) refused to finish it, his replacement wouldn’t put his name on it, and, when the film proved to be too short, a third director actually shot all the scenes with the mysterious Bellarians, a group of women dressed for Aerobics but with huge veils covering their leotards, who spend their time dancing and making mystical passes at their collection of plasma balls.  Need I mention that he didn’t want his name on this turkey either?

The costumes here are so bad that they deserve a mention.  It isn’t just the spandex and silver cloth:  it simply isn’t possible to believe that a starship would put its female officers in uniforms that would require them to get a Bikini Wax.  However, it all makes sense once you see the scene set in the space disco:  Everyone on this ship is dressed for a night at the local club scene.

But, at least they do take a moment to reveal the erotic nature of…the hula hoop.

At any rate, we have Reb Brown as a hero so wooden he makes Flash Gordon‘s Sam J. Jones look like Olivier, John Phillip Law as an over-the-top villain, and former cowboy star, Cameron Mitchell, as the wise and bearded commander of the generation starship carrying a load of colonists on a multi-generation trip to settle another star system, and Cameron’s daughter as the leading lady.  Heck, his son is in there, as well. Which, come to think of it, also was true of Warp Speed.

Moviemaking.  Fun for the whole family.

There’s a lot of running around and fighting  masked goons, complete with laser guns and mini-bazookas, we suffer through what has to be the worst written “they don’t like each other but they do” romantic scene ever committed to cellulose, and there are not one but two lengthy chase scenes with armored golf carts.

If you’re looking for a bad movie to mock, this one will definitely fill the bill:  in fact, it offers an embarrassment of riches for the bad movie connoisseur.

I’m just not sure it’s good for much of anything else.

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The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!

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