It seems like the 80s were fascinated with the idea of genius kids getting mixed up with top-secret government projects, but maybe it was just the inevitable collision between teenaged geniuses and mistrust of the government that both have plenty of independent examples. This time it’s lasers and remote assassination plots.
I didn’t even know this was a Roger Corman movie when I selected it, but as a B-movie that looks a fair bit exploitative, it’s not terribly surprising. I’ve been drawn lately toward b-movies as it becomes harder to find suitable major releases through the channels I’m accustomed to.
It’s even confusing just what the threat is. The poster depicts an insectlike creature, the tagline refers to a human-alien hybrid, and the summary in front of me talks about “Subject 20” having been created with an eye toward preventing a food crisis. I’m not sure any of the promotional materials are all that concerned with the movie they’re promoting.
I’ve already covered the 1945 version of this story, but I knew that eventually I’d come to this one. This is the 7th movie adaptation of the 1902 novel just in English, and at this point it’s surprising that it hasn’t been tried again. The reputation this version has is tepid, and it’s the version people think of when the name comes up (the last version with the same title was made 40 years previous), but it’s clearly a story with staying power, and within the next ten years, every memorable movie from the 80s is going to get remade if it hasn’t already.
Mel Brooks, early Zuckers, and the Scream movies. Those are the successful genre parodies I can think of right now. This one, I think mainly lasts because it’s an accessory to the Friday the 13th legacy (or a remora on it).
Reviews I’ve seen are mixed and polar. The biggest name now isn’t the lead. I’m thinking maybe this will be a decent cult movie, but almost definitely no classic.
The Seven Samurai has been remade and recontextualized and homaged many, many times. Its best known remake is of course the Western The Magnificent Seven, but pretty much every “go put together a group of mercenaries to save the hometown” story is probably based on Seven Samurai. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie do it so blatantly that the tagline itself invokes Magnificent Seven. Apparently Roger Corman wanted to do something like Star Wars and decided to do a sci-fi interpretation of Seven Samurai. So he did.
Among “contrived reasons for two people who wouldn’t normally interact to be stuck together”, “I will pay you a thousand dollars to be my girlfriend” is a pretty contrived one. It looks like he’s not even lonely, he’s just trying to increase his social standing.
It looks like there’s a little inverse-Pygmalion happening, where he brings her into his life and she helps him fit in? That is probably not what happens, but if it is, that could be a pretty forward-thinking concept for late 80s Hollywood.