Lists: Five Somewhat Obscure Cult Sci-fi Films

cult films
Here is a list of five cult sci-fi flicks that you should watch at least once. Most hardcore cult film fans have probably seen these already. Have you seen them all?

Invasion of the Neptune Men 1961

This is one of those awesomely bad, cheesy, laugh out loud sci-fi films from Japan. Aliens from Neptune invade Japan and the only person that can save them is the astronomer turned superhero called Iron Sharp, or Space Chief in the English dubbed version. This one has everything that would please a fan of bad movies; it has a superhero with a cape and a helmet with a visor, which is kind of reminiscent of the 60’s Batman. Our superhero has a car that also turns into a rocket ship. The aliens have cone shaped heads that resemble Robby the Robot and can morph into humans that look like they are wearing KISS make up. Their space ship looks like it has a face on the front of it. The filmmakers reuse the same footage of a pair of flying saucers an obscene amount of times, plus other stock footage. On top of that, there is bad kung fu fighting, annoying young boys in shorts, and high pitched sound effects.

The one surprising thing about this motion picture is that the actor playing Space Chief is Sonny Chiba, who would go on to become an international superstar after his kung fu actioner Streetfighter was released. He is also prominently known for appearing as Hattori Hanzo in Kill Bill: Volume 1.It also made an appearance on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. If you love bad movies, then you’ll have to check this one out.

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster 1965

This is a great low budget sci-fi adventure that sees NASA creating a Frankenstein android named Frank that looks human, who ends up crash landing in Puerto Rico after a Mars spaceship shoots down the rocket that he’s in. Led by a Martian princess, they land on earth with the dastardly plan of stealing women in order to repopulate their dying world. She is joined by her sidekick who kind of resembles Uncle Fester from The Addams Family, and a hairy monster whose face resembles Skeletor from He-man.

This is just so much fun for fans of low budget films; it includes tons of NASA stock footage, cheap and far out costumes and makeup, kitschy 1960’s music, a robot Frankenstein, a Martian princess, a funky bald sidekick, and an epic showdown between Frankenstein and the Martian’s hairy monster. The special effects that were done on the Frankenstein character were pretty decent, with several scenes showcasing a mixture of his human and mechanical components. Considered by some to be on the worst movie list, this is truly a must see for fans of low budget sci-fi. 

The 10th Victim 1965

“It's the 21st century and they have a license to kill” (1). This is a campy Italian sci-fi production that can be viewed as a predecessor for movies like Battle Royale and the Hunger Games trilogy, as well as the whole reality television genre. Set in a futuristic society, war and the population are controlled by a regulated sport of killing. Each competitor must play in ten rounds, with rewards and sponsorships provided by companies. The winners are interviewed like athletes and asked about weird questions like what their favorite comic books are. Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress) is looking to score even more money, by getting her tenth kill on camera through a sponsorship deal with the Ming Tea Company. Problems arise when she becomes romantically involved with her victim (Marcello Mastroianni).

This is a wild and stylishly pop art type of film, everything in it just seems to ooze out the essence of being cool including the jazz score by Piero Piccioni. Andress is as hot as ever, including a very memorable scene with a mechanized bra that obviously inspired Sex Machine’s gun in From Dusk til Dawn. Make sure that you live dangerously, but within the law in this society as they do give out parking violations.

The Astro-Zombies 1968

“Dismembered Bodies, Transplanted Organs, Are Used To Create The...” (2). A sci-fi horror flick that was written, directed, and produced by Ted V. Mikels, who was one of the major kings of super low budget films. It is high up there on the list for one of the worst films ever made, which automatically makes it essential viewing for hardcore low budget fans.

Basically, poor John Carradine plays a mad scientist who creates a zombie like monster that pretty much runs on a car battery (they call them photocells) and is made up of criminal’s dead body parts. So naturally, his monster goes on a killing spree. The astro-zombie does have a pretty cool skull like helmet that makes him look like an alien. The movie has a really kick ass poster and the original trailer is pretty great also.

Flesh Gordon 1974

“An outrageous parody of yesterdays' super heroes!” (3). The opening tagline essentially says it all; as a trio of earthlings (Flesh Gordon, Dale Ardent, and Flexi Jerkoff) goes to the planet porno in order to stop the evil Emperor Wang and his powerful sex ray that makes everyone one on earth crazy sex fiends. With the help of the obviously gay Prince Precious, Gordon battles a vast collection of monsters that are all somehow sexual in their names and behaviors.

So much could be said about this film, it is a masterpiece of low budget comedic filmmaking that mixes satire, campiness, gratuitous nudity and sexual situations. It also has stop-motion animation effects, great low budget miniatures, a great opening comic style title scene, and a wonderful score that is able to combine both the classic hero sound with the whimsical. Yes there is a lot of nudity, but it’s a comedy not a porno. Depending on your tastes, this is a nonstop laugh riot with tons of great dialogue and comedic bits. Almost every line of dialogue could be listed, along with the character names and various moments that occur throughout this. The stop-motion animation and miniature effects are excellent and call back to the low budget sci-fi productions of the 1950’s, with a totally outrageous spaceship whose parts came from the Sears catalog.

This is just a hilarious movie that could be talked about forever. Some people may be put off by the large amount of nudity, but despite its exploitative nudity it is essentially a comedy.

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Works Cited

1. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 4 4, 2016. [Cited: 4 4, 2016.]
2. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 3 29, 2016. [Cited: 3 29, 2016.]
3. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 3 11, 2016. [Cited: 3 11, 2016.]