This one is rather odd.
Even for Robert Emenegger.
Now I’ve talked about Robert Emenegger before: within about two years in the early Eighties, he produced an impressive collection of super cheap science fiction films which, despite their obvious cheapness, all have something odd and quirky about them that makes them far more watchable than they should be.
And you can certainly say that about Time Warp: Captain Mark Devore, an eccentric but happily married astronaut, returns from a long mission in space, to study a black hole that wasn’t there when he arrived. He doesn’t realize that his commanding officer, Colonel Westin (played with a lot of scenery chewing vigor and excessive displays of runaway lust by Adam West), has sabotaged Mark’s return to Earth so he can take his wife away. This sends him through a strange disturbance that pushes him a year into the future in what is probably a parallel world. Unfortunately, no one can see him — except, that is, for animals.
Somehow, he has to fix his damaged ship, return to the time warp near Jupiter and go back through it — and stop his wife from marrying Westin while he’s at it.
I’ll admit that I was mildly surprised when I learned that Time Warp was a comedy. It’s true that Emenegger made several comedies as part of his sudden burst of films, but the majority are more serious, and they include several horror films. Ironically, this film is one of his few that was released to home video, but only in a two-movie set with the haunted spaceship film, Warp Speed.
If you’ve seen a few of his films, you will probably recognize the storage pods in the spaceship, which served as beds in other films. They even have the mylar cover that they had in Lifepod but not in The Killings at Outpost Zeta. However, even though he re-used his spaceship models repeatedly in his films, I do not recall seeing this shuttle in any of them. As far as I can tell, its design is unique to this film.
But there are a few left that I haven’t seen.
Time Warp was one of his lesser films, although it is lighthearted and amusing. It is moderately funny, and the basic idea has a sort of goofy charm. However, it feels more like an extended TV sci fi sitcom than a movie.
Admittedly, IMDB lists it as a TV movie, as it does some of his other films, but I’ve never found any information on how they were actually released. I suspect they might have been sold to syndication as part of a late-night movie package, or perhaps to a cable channel, as I remember seeing Warp Speed back in the Eighties at some odd hour — perhaps Saturday afternoon.
Still, it’s watchable, and has a moment or two, even if you can’t take it seriously for a moment and it might not hold your attention. I’ll admit that I like the central conceit of the man who can’t be seen by anyone around him after he goes through a time warp, but I suspect that I would have preferred to see a more serious take on the subject (which would, now that I think about it, have been a little like the Gerry Anderson film Doppleganger/Journey to the Far Side of the Sun).
So it might be worth a look, if you can keep your expectations low enough, particularly if you share my affection for Robert’s films.
But you will probably need a lot of popcorn to go with it…