Here is a list of five cult sci-fi flicks from the 1970’s that you should watch at least once. Most hardcore cult film fans have probably seen these already. Have you seen them all?
Turkish Star Trek AKA Turist Omer Uzay Yolu’nda 1973
This is a Turkish produced film that is considered Turksploitation, which were unauthorized Turkish film adaptations often using American copyrighted characters, movies, and television series. These films would often use soundtracks from the original films, and various clips from the films.
What’s great about the Turkish Star Trek is that they didn’t even try to change anything; they lifted everything from the original Star Trek television series including the set design, monsters, costumes, and characters. The Turkish film is a recreation of the episode entitled “The Man Trap” except for the addition of a Turkish character called Omer the tramp, who was a well known comedic character in the country. The Omer character creates a fish out of water scenario and is able to add some comedic elements that wouldn’t have been part of that episode. In order to make it a feature length film, they added some additional scenes from other classic episodes including the fight between Spock and Kirk.
This Turkish rip off isn’t as action packed and entertaining as Turkish Star Wars, 3 Dev Adam, and some of the other rip off films. This one would interest true Star Trek fans the most in order to see how another country handled the original source material.
“I have seen the future and it doesn't work” . In the year 2293, the world has been divided into two groups, the civilized immortal Eternals and the barely civilized mortal Brutals. A group of Brutal Exterminators maintain control and kill the other Brutals, at the orders of a huge flying head called Zardoz. In exchange for food that is collected, Zardoz exchanges weapons for the Brutal Exterminator. One Exterminator named Zed (Sean Connery), hides on Zardoz to discover what is on the other side. There he discovers the true origin and nature of the god called Zardoz.
This one will probably cause a divide in opinion among sci-fi fans, you’re either going to love it or hate it. It has some amazing imagery, especially the large Zardoz head and the look of the Brutals. The overall cinematography is great; it is a pretty mesmerizing movie. There is some humor, plus you’ll either love or laugh at the way Sean Connery looks in this. The downside is that the plot can get confusing and slow at times, plus the big reveal moment may not be as exciting as people had hoped for.
This was written, produced, and directed by John Boorman, who had previous success with Point Blank, Hell in the Pacific, and most notably Deliverance. It was his commercial success with Deliverance that gave him free reign on this. In his career, he has been noted for being a bit pretentious and for going on ego-trips . He should be commended for trying to push the boundaries in the hopes of making something that was on the level of the Stanley Kubrick directed sci-fi classic 2001. The movie did not do very well at the box office, but has a cult following among sci-fi fans, “playing at revival houses, on college campuses, and on the midnight movie circuit for several years”.
Phase IV 1974
“Adapt or die”! . A pair of scientists is sent in to a desert town to research ants that have shown a strong collective intelligence and have been getting violent towards the local residents. Along with a stray girl they rescued, they must try to communicate with the ants or destroy these creatures that have shown that they are constantly learning and adapting at a very fast rate.
This has to be most realistic bug horror film that has been made, up until the trippy ending. It is thoroughly engaging, gripping, suspenseful, beautiful, and haunting with a unique story, good acting, and some absolutely amazing insect sequences. There are so many great close up shots of the ants and things that they do throughout the picture; such as birthing, attacking and disintegrating various opponents, and so forth.
It contains a powerful statement about how man may not be the most powerful force on this planet, a line in the movie said that ants are “so defenseless in the individual, but so powerful in masses.” If you’re scared of ants or bugs, then you have to watch this.
“They Look Like Rocks...Possess A High Intelligence...Have No Eyes...And Eat Ashes...They Travel In Your Car Exhaust...They Make Fire...They Kill” . Based on the Thomas Page novel called "The Hephaestus Plague," an earthquake releases a group of prehistoric bugs resembling cockroaches that create fires in order to feed off of the carbon ashes. A science professor played by Bradford Dillman tries to figure out how to destroy them, leading to even weirder events.
This movie is strange, creepy, and is somewhat confusing. If you are scared of bugs, then this will creep the living shit out of you; with the big cockroaches going around and doing things that would freak out bug haters, along with tons of close up bug shots. The high pitched tonal music and the noises that the bugs make to communicate add to the overall creepiness of the picture. The confusing part of the movie is the motivation for the scientist, who ends up doing things that he should have realized were probably going to be a bad idea.
The direction is well done, with some very good scenes; including several disaster sequences, and close ups panning towards Dillman’s face showing him break down. This film is as much about bugs as it is the scientist’s descent into madness, with Dillman having a good performance as essentially the only important character in this production.
A Boy and His Dog 1975
“The year is 2024... a future you'll probably live to see”! . Based on a series of short stories turned into a novella by author Harlan Ellison, it is a post apocalyptic tale of a teenage boy (Don Johnson) and his telepathic dog working together in order to survive. It’s pretty much as if Mad Max and Clockwork Orange screwed each other, had a baby and popped this sucker out. The film is basically a buddy comedy, mixed with rape and ultra violence as the boy finds food for the dog and the dog sniffs out women for him to rape. In between, they have some comedic banter and run into all sorts of weird groups.
The movie is all sorts of crazy and that’s what makes it great. Its lack of financial success has made it grow as a cult film and has also inspired other films and media. It is obvious that this is an inspiration for the Mad Max trilogy; there are several scenes from this that were clearly recreated in The Road Warrior. Max also has a dog as a companion in the second picture, even though it doesn’t talk to him. This was also an inspiration for the popular video game series Fallout .
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