Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spaghetti Sci-Fi

You've probably heard of the "spaghetti western", that peculiar genre of movie in the 1960s in which Italian directors made westerns in Europe, albeit often with American stars. The Italian cinema also produced some bizarre science fiction movies, and two of those are coming up on TCM tomorrow, including War of the Planets at 12:45 PM ET.

The plot, such as it is, involves a futuristic earth where some of the human beings are taken over by green globs of glowing light that turn into hazy smoke-like substances when they envelop the earthlings' heads and invade their minds. These people are then taken to Mars for some nefarious purpose. It's a bit tough to figure out exactly what that purpose is, largely because the movie is screwed up in so many ways.

That having been said, it's the screwed-up nature of this movie that makes it so much fun. The plot is muddled. The acting is wooden at best. The effects almost make the original Star Trek TV series look grounbreaking. And the set design is vintage 1960s, with bad spacecraft and a "futuristic" earth that doesn't look anything like what we've really developed into. All of these problems make War of the Planets something that should be criticized as a terrible movie.

And yet, I'm here recommeding it. Yes, it's bad. But, it turns out to be one of those movies that's so horrible that it winds up being funny. And there's always a place for such movies.

1 comment:

dave said...

I'm pretty well versed in Italian trash cinema, from Westerns to Giallo to Politzie, but not only have I never heard of this, I can' think of ANY italian sci-fi movies! the closest I can think of is the 10th Victim, which is as much a sex comedy as sci-fi (and I HIGHLY recommend, if you haven't seen). i MUST check this movie out! EXCITING!

If you're into Spaghetti Westerns, you should check out my Spaghetti Western Concept Rap album, called "Showdown at the BK Corral." It's basically an epic Spaghetti Western over 9 tracks - very influenced by Morricone. I'd love to hear what you think of it! You can download it for free at