Here is a list of five sci-fi cop flicks that you should watch at least once. Most hardcore cult or sci-fi film fans have probably seen these already. Have you seen them all?
Soylent Green 1973
“What is the secret of Soylent Green?”
(1). Set in 2022, the
world has gone through a severe pollution problem and overpopulation that has
exhausted virtually all of the natural resources. A company named Soylent
Industries manufactures the main source of food, made out of plankton from the
oceans. When a member of the board of Soylent Industries is murdered, detective
Thorn (Charlton Heston) investigates and it takes him down a path of discovering
the true ingredients of Soylent Green.
A mix of science fiction and police procedural picture, this dystopian set story is loosely based upon the 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison. Heston once again stars in another dystopian style picture, also appearing in Planet of the Apes and Omega Man. There are appearances from Edward G. Robinson (Little Caesar), Chuck Connors (The Rifleman), and Dick Van Patten (Eight is Enough). It contains several really memorable scenes and a twist ending that has been satirized on various comedy shows and movies. Heston is great as always and Robinson has an ominous death scene in his final on screen performance, he would die from bladder cancer twelve days after the film wrapped up production.
God Told Me To 1976
“IT WILL GIVE YOU NIGHTMARES FOREVER”
(2). New York police detective
Peter Nicholas (Tony LoBianco) is investigating a series of mass killings by
New York residents; a sniper shoots random people from a water tower, a cop
kills people during the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and a father shoots his
entire family. The only consistency between them is that they all say that the
reason they did it, was because “god told me to.” His investigations lead into
a series of unusual revelations.
This was essentially a precursor to the X-files series, with many of the same elements that would appear in the show such as alien abductions, religion, the cop that believes and won’t let go of a case, the superiors who don’t believe him, powerful elements, unexpected and bizarre twists.
It was written and directed by Larry Cohen, who is known for several other cult films including Bone, Black Caesar, Hell Up in Harlem, It’s Alive, and The Stuff. Cohen has been able to create a rich and complex world consisting of vivid characters, realistic dialogue and situations, a weird story, all in vibrant New York City locations. All of the actors are great and very believable, even ones with minor parts which is not typical for most low budget movies. LoBianco stands out in his lead performance. There are many interesting shots with rapid editing. The score is incredibly done and is reminiscent of old Hitchcock movies, most notably Psycho. Bernard Hermann was supposed to score the picture. He had done most of Hitchcock’s films, but died before production was finished. Frank Cordell completed the score with some help from the notes that Hermann had left behind.
Andy Kaufman makes his first appearance in this as a cop that goes on a shooting rampage.
If you like the X-Files, or the horror genre, then you may enjoy this.
“His name is Deth. He hunts Trancers. Even in the 20th Century”
(3). A wonderful
combination of Blade Runner, Terminator,
and zombies wrapped up in some warm 1980’s goodness. Character actor Tim
Thomerson plays Jack Deth, a cop/bounty hunter from the year 2247. Deth looks
just like Harrison Ford’s character Dekkard from Blade Runner. He is sent back to the year 1985, in the body of one
of his relatives to hunt down an evil criminal named Whistler. Whistler
inhabits one of his relatives who happens to be a detective. Oh and there’s
these things called Trancers. They are kind of like zombies that Whistler can
take over; people who have weak minds are the ones that are susceptible.
The film was produced by Empire Pictures, which eventually folded and was reformed as Full Moon Features. If you are familiar at all with the VHS era or these production companies, then you know that they were one of the kings of great low budget films. This includes the Trancers series, Re-Animator, Eliminators, Terror Vision, From Beyond, Ghoulies, Troll, Dolls, the Puppet Master series, and many others. Thomerson also starred as another character for Full Moon features called Dollman, a twelve inch tall detective. Known for his distinctive looks, Thomerson has appeared in tons of movies and television series.
Look, if you love the 80’s or any of the above production companies then you will absolutely love this. There were five Trancer sequels made, along with a half hour sequel that takes place between the first two films.
The Hidden 1987
“A new breed of criminal”
This is an unusual take on the buddy cop film genre, mixing it with the sci-fi and horror genres. There is a good combination of action, violence, special effects, fun dialogue, and great acting. There are a lot of action and gun fights in this, most notably an extended car chase scene. The Special effects are excellent from Kevin Yagher and a crew that also included Robert Kurtzman, who is now widely known for working on The Walking Dead. Yagher had done effects on the Freddy Krueger and Child’s Play movies. The script was well written with a lot of nice banter between Nouri and MacLachlan’s characters. Both actors play there parts well. MacLachlan playing the unusual and weird alien pretending to be human, who is seeking revenge for the death of his partner and family. The character fits well for his transition to Agent Dale Cooper on the television series Twin Peaks. Nouri plays the veteran cop, showing his emotion and frustration over the unusual events that are taking place.
The film was a minor hit earning $9,747,988 versus a budget of $5,000,000
(4). It has become a
cult film among sci-fi and horror fans. If you like those genres, buddy cop
films, 1980’s films, or any of the cast, then you should check this out. If you
enjoy this, you may also like Near Dark,
Scanners, Night of the Creeps, or The
Dead Heat 1988
“You can't keep a good cop dead”
(5). Its Lethal Weapon meets Dawn of the Dead in this buddy cop movie that blends horror,
comedy, and sci-fi. Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo play a pair of L.A. cops
investigating a robbery that was committed by a group of walking and talking
dead guys, who have previous autopsy scars. Vincent Price and Darren McGavin
have minor roles as the mad scientist type of characters.
There are plenty of special effects to please zombie fans, despite the fact that they had to cut scenes in order to avoid an X rating
(6). There are several
memorable special effects sequences, along with plenty of action scenes and comedic
banter between the two main characters. Your liking of it is mainly going to be
based on how you feel about Joe Piscopo’s comedic style and delivery. Piscopo
is mainly known for his time on Saturday
Night Live from 1980-1984 when he frequently performed with Eddie Murphy.
Treat Williams had a period from the late 1970’s through mid 1980’s where he
had some memorable roles in Hair, Prince
of the City, and Once Upon a Time in
The film cost New World Pictures $5,000,000 to make and it was a box office failure, this was one of the last big failures for “soon-to-be-defunct distributor”
(6). Despite the
failure, it has grown to be a cult classic among zombie and buddy cop film
fans. So if you enjoy either of those or 1980’s VHS rentals then check this one
out, it’s a fun movie. If you liked this film, you may also enjoy Night of the Creeps, Waxwork, Night of the
Demons, Lifeforce, and Nightbreed.
1. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 8 24, 2016. [Cited: 8 24, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/?ref_=nv_sr_1.
2. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 2 24, 2016. [Cited: 2 24, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075930/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1.
3. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 2 13, 2016. [Cited: 2 13, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090192/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2.
4. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 2 24, 2016. [Cited: 2 24, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093185/?ref_=nv_sr_3.
5. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 2 21, 2016. [Cited: 2 21, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094961/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2.
6. Kay, Glenn. Zombie movies.
7. IMDb. [Online] IMDB, 2 22, 2016. [Cited: 2 22, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117609/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1.