Cult Cinema: Moontrap

For fourteen thousand years, we waited for this review.

Pure unadulterated no-budget cheese that’s better swallowed with a brewsky in hand, former Evil Dead II visual effects supervisor turned director Robert Dyke’s Moontrap is a hoot!  While the Alien knockoff Galaxy of Terror boasts vast technical superiority over the Troy, Michigan shot direct-to-video flick, it’s basically cut from the same cloth and doesn’t aim higher than giving fans of schlock cinema some cheap entertainment.  First of all, seeing Walter Koenig not playing Chekov for a change and carrying the lead role is fun for die-hard Trekkies.  And then there’s the notion of seeing Bruce Campbell, being his usual self, in a spacesuit.  

Those looking for over the top camp run the risk of boredom with the film’s modest pacing and lengthy scenes of astronauts walking the moon’s landscape only to occasionally battle evil space robots, but overall for fans of the Evil Dead movies, Moontrap can be a pretty fun B- movie.  Equally cheesy besides the film’s general reliance on obvious conceptual drawings of spaceships and landscapes in the finished product is Evil Dead composer Joseph LoDuca’s Casio keyboard synth score.  It sounds so cheaply rendered that it calls attention to itself, adding to the camp value Moontrap offers.

"I am so much cooler than any other
low budget robot!"
Cult interest in the film via sales of Olive Films’ Blu-Ray release prompted the long-in-gestation sequel’s recent production (though Bruce Campbell won’t be back unfortunately).  Blu-Ray owners will no doubt be hugely disappointed by the film’s lousy image quality, which isn’t entirely difficult to understand given both the budgetary limitations which were likely sourced from either a VHS or laserdisc master.  Since the film was released straight to video originally, this is the first time the film has been reformatted to widescreen for intended theatrical exhibition, and Olive Films managed to garner interviews from both Campbell and Koenig regarding their involvement with the flick. 

Objectively speaking, Moontrap is not technically what many would refer to as a “good” movie.  But as a hunk of low budget sci-fi trash, it’s got some fun to be had under the influence and provides both actors a chance to step outside their usual boundaries and do something in the tradition of drive-in creature features dating back to the 1950s.  I had a damn good time with it myself!

-Andrew Kotwicki