Ah, the vastness of space! We’ve looked to the stars with a sense of wonder and adventure since human beings have had eyes, pondering what lies beyond our own world. For a while, we even went out there sometimes! In celebration of this giant question mark, we present ten viewing options featuring Earthlings encountering the world beyond Earth — even if it doesn’t always work out too well for the Earthlings.
Casper Van Dien, Erika Eleniak and Coolio walk into a spaceship. Casper Van Dien says, “Hey, is that Tiny Lister and Udo Kier?” Erika Eleniak nods. Coolio asks, “Hey, is that Dracula?” Universe explodes. Brain melts. DRACULA 3000.
One of many ALIEN rip-offs of the ’80s, william Malone’s tale of an exploration team on a moon of Saturn that encounters an alien critter benefits from a solid cast, including Lyman Ward, Wendy Schaal and the ever-welcome Klaus Kinski.
John Agar in space! The United Nations sends a crew to Uranus and find a very different environment than they were expecting in a film that would have a much bigger reputation if it was called JOURNEY TO URANUS.
A rare example of “found footage” done right, this international space exploration flick about a crew who comes to one of Jupiter’s moons in order to find life works due to its adherance to realistic characters and a solid idea of the actual science behind the concept rather than just plotting yet another ALIEN rip-off.
It’s like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, but with a space prostitute.
One of the most entertaining, and goriest, of the ALIEN rip-offs is the Corman-produced flick about a spaceship that encounters an ridiculously vindictive presence, with the likes of Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston, Robert Englund, Sid Haig, Zalman King and Grace Zabriskie finding their inside parts on the outside.
Joan Baez songs aside, Douglas Trumball’s environmentalist film about a botanist (Bruce Dern) attempting to save a spaceship housing the last remaining trees from Earth is a fantastic, inventive and heartwrenching pic, featuring a great performance by Dern and fine supporting performances by Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint and Cliff Potts.
Joe Dante’s tale of three friends who build their own spaceship isn’t often mentioned among his best, and it does get kind of silly, but Joe Dante does wide-eyed enthusiasm unlike anyone else, and it’s the sort of film that will always ellicit at least a smile from even the most cycnical viewer. With Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix and Jason Presson.
A man and some robots in space watch a movie about people going to space. Best when watched in space.
Y’know, you could actually LEARN something about space travel instead of just assuming that everything out there looks like an H.R. Giger invension. Neil deGrasse Tyson can help, with his optimistically soothing tones.
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