Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Obscure sci-fi of my youth

Well, maybe not completely obscure. Some of these are known more than the others. There are obvious choices that are more known, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. And there are the obvious cult classics like Highlander and Flash Gordon. These were movies that showed up at one time or another on either HBO or Showtime, whichever movie channel we had at the time one of the times we had cable. I watched these over and over again on VHS after my dad recorded them. It’s taken me a while but I have managed to collect most of these on DVD. There are still a few out there that I have yet to find. And there are a few that I am probably forgetting right now.

Rock & Rule

I have written about this one before. An interesting story about the mutant decedents of dogs cats and rats that now populate the Earth after nuclear war destroyed humanity. Basically it’s a rock & role saves the world kind of tale. It sounds kind of cheesy, and it is. But it is great old school animation with one of the best soundtracks you will ever hear. Cheap Trick, Blondie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and Earth, Wind, and Fire contribute their music to this masterpiece of old school animation.

The Wraith

Possibly the most obscure film on this list is The Wraith. It is one of Charlie Sheen’s earliest roles and one of the least known. Fans of the Crow might find this interesting. It is a tale about a guy who is brutally murdered by a gang and come back as an avenging spirit who can find peace only after all of his murderers are killed. And the lease capable and comical member of this gang was named Skank. The difference in this film, other than it was made years before The Crow, was that the avenging spirit comes back with a futuristic car. This film also served as advertising for the Dodge Aries, Datona, and M4S concept.

Space Camp

There have been a lot of movies about kids stuck together in tough situation. This one involves the real NASA Space Camp and a group of campers who get launched into space by a well-meaning, yet na├»ve robot. It’s like many other youth ensemble cast, coming of age type story, just with NASA being the backdrop. It’s still a good film though. One I had to add to my collection.

Cloak & Dagger

To cope with the death of his mother, Davey becomes obsessed with an RPG spy game that is also an Atari video game. Davey constany fantasizes about being a spy to the point that he sees his favorite game character, Jack Flack, in real life. Jack Flack looks like his father, just more daring. Davey’s over active imagination causes him to stumble into the middle of real case of espionage with real spies.


A military experiment designed to make super soldiers creates a prototype, D.A.R.Y.L (Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform). Technically he is a cyborg. He is set free by a scientist trying to protect him and he ends up in the foster home of an unsuspecting couple. In one way it is a story about a kid who is different. In another way it is a story about where does the line between man and machine end. As one of the characters outs it. “… a machine becomes human… when you can’t tell the difference anymore.”

Enemy Mine

In a way, this is a story that could be adapted to any time period. It is essentially about two soldiers, from warring countries, who get stranded together on a desert island together and have to depend on each other to survive. Dennis Quaid plays a human and Louis Gossett Jr. is a Drak, a reptilian race. Both are fighter pilots in the future and crash land on an isolated planet after a dogfight. The enemies become close friends and learn about each other’s cultures after years in isolation. That is the very stripped down version of the story. It’s a good film that not too many have seen.

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