Science Fiction Archives

Solent Green released May 9, 1973

Soylent Green

Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer. Starring Charlton Heston, the film overlays the police procedural and science fiction genres as it depicts the investigation into the brutal murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution, overpopulation, depleted resources, poverty, dying oceans and a hot climate due to the greenhouse effect. Much of the population survives on processed food rations, including the eponymous “soylent green”.

The film, which is loosely based upon the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison, won the Nebula Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film in 1973.

Trivia:

The technical consultant for the film was Frank R. Bowerman, who was president of the American Academy for Environmental Protection at the time.


The scene where Thorn and Roth share a meal of fresh food was not originally in the script, but was ad-libbed by Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson at director Richard Fleischer’s request.

 


The videogame in Simonson’s apartment, “Computer Space”, was one of the first coin-operated videogames, manufactured by Nutting Associates in 1971 and designed by Nolan Bushnell, who later founded Atari and designed “Pong”. The videogame was painted white for the movie but the original color was either yellow, red or blue.

 


One set of scenes in the original release, where a second family is housed with Thorn and Roth, was deleted from later copies of the film.

 


The original title of Harry Harrison’s book, “Make Room! Make Room!” was changed by the producers, who feared that audiences would confuse it with the ‘Danny Thomas’ TV series “Make Room for Daddy” (1953).

 


Edward G. Robinson was almost totally deaf when he made this movie, and only able to hear anyone if they spoke directly into his ear. Because of this, scenes with him talking to other people had to be shot several times before he got the rhythm of the dialogue and was able to respond to people as if he could really hear them. And because he was unable to hear director Richard Fleischer yell “cut” when a scene went wrong, Robinson would often continue acting out the scene, unaware that shooting had stopped seconds earlier.

 


The word soylent is supposed to suggest soy + lentil.

 


All of the dialogue for actor Mike Henry (“Sgt. Kulozik”) was dubbed. The actor’s slight Southern drawl did not fit in with the New York cop character he was playing.

 


Among the buildings in the matte “skyline” in the background of the early scene where Gilbert crosses the drainage ditch, one can see the Marina City towers (Chicago) and the Transamerica Pyramid (San Francisco).

 


Edward G. Robinson’s final film performance.

 


The last film shot at MGM studios.

 


Deleted scene: When Tab Fielding (Chuck Connors) goes shopping with Shirl, he is mugged, and wins the fight. This scene was filmed, but deleted.

 


By the start of filming, Edward G. Robinson knew it would likely be his last film because he was dying of cancer.

 

Star Trek released May 8, 2009

Star Trek 2009

Star Trek is a 2009 science fiction film directed by J. J. Abrams, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the eleventh film based on the Star Trek franchise and features the main characters of the original Star Trek television series, who are portrayed by a new cast. The film follows James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) before they unite aboard the USS Enterprise to combat Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan from their future who threatens the United Federation of Planets. The story establishes an alternate reality through time-travel by both Nero and the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy), freeing the film and the franchise from established continuity constraints.

Development of the film began in 2005. Filming took place from November 2007 to March 2008 under intense secrecy. Midway through the shoot, Paramount chose to delay the release date from December 25, 2008 to May 2009, believing the film could reach a wider audience.

Star Trek has earned high critical praise, gaining a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is the thirteenth-highest-grossing film of 2009—seventh-highest within North America—and has become the highest-grossing film in the Star Trek series and is credited by the media as a reboot of the series.It was nominated for four Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards and won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, making it the first Star Trek film to win an Oscar.

Congratulations to Barney Burman and crew for the incredible effects they created for this film!!  See his interview with GoreMaster here!

Trivia:

In a UK interview with Edith Bowman on BBC Radio 1, Matt Damon mentioned that he called J.J. Abrams when he heard rumors that he was being considered for the role of Captain Kirk. The response from Abrams was a very polite “no”. He explained that Damon was “too old” for the role.


Sydney Tamiia Poitier auditioned for the role of Uhura.

 


The film’s teaser trailer (welders working on the half-built Enterprise starship, amidst narration from U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock) was personally directed by J.J. Abrams. Real welders were brought in to film the trailer. The words of Spock and Kennedy were taken from the 1960s (the decade where “Star Trek” (1966) began) and thus linked past and present, enhancing the film (as well as hinting at the time-travel). According to Roberto Orci, Kennedy’s words were also chosen as he was the one who started the “space race,” and so would be appropriate for a space film: “If we’re going to have a Federation, it makes sense for Kennedy and his words to be in there.”

 


The first teaser trailer and posters for this film showed its original release date, December 25, 2008. On February 13, 2008 Paramount Pictures pushed the film to May 8, 2009 so it would have less competition and be a summer blockbuster contender. The teaser trailer was then amended to show Summer 2009.

 


Randy Pausch, a Carnegie-Mellon Computer Science professor (and “Star Trek” fan) who gained widespread fame as the author of a “Last Lecture” in which he discussed living the life of his dreams in the face of terminal pancreatic cancer, was invited by J.J. Abrams to appear as an extra in this film (he is the Kelvin officer who says “Captain, we have visual”). Pausch wrote in his blog about the experience, “I got a custom-made Star Trek uniform and my own station on the bridge, where I had lots of buttons and controls. I even got a LINE!!!!” Pausch died on July 25, 2008; his paycheck of $217.06 from working on the film was donated to charity.

 


This is Leonard Nimoy’s first live-action film role since Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).

 


While most Trekkies will have known this detail for decades, this is the first time that Uhura has been given a first name on screen: Nyota. Gene Roddenberry never came up with a first name for her, so many thought this meant she did not have one, although in literature, Uhura is often referred to as Nyota by her comrades, and she is also referred to as Nyota Uhura in the DC Comics publication “Who’s Who in Star Trek”. There are several nods to this history in the movie: first, when Kirk first meets (and hits on) Uhura in a bar and tells her, “if you don’t tell me your name, I’m gonna have to make one up,” and then when she refuses to tell Kirk her first name throughout the film.

 


J.J. Abrams’ only two choices for Nero were Russell Crowe and Eric Bana.

 


Josh Lucas was considered for the role of Christopher Pike.

 


Simon Pegg filmed his role in 5 weeks.

 

critters two

Critters 2: The Main Course is a 1988 sci-fi comedy horror film starring Terrence Mann, Don Keith Opper, and Scott Grimes. It was directed by Mick Garris and written by David Twohy and Mick Garris. It is part of the Critters series.

Critters

The Man From Planet X


The Man From Planet X is a 1951 science fiction film.

It was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer who had directed the Bela Lugosi/Boris Karloff  teamup picture The Black Cat in 1934.

Trivia:

To stretch his meager budget, director Edgar G. Ulmer was able to use sets from the big-budget epic Joan of Arc (1948).

Filmed in six days.

The Creature Walks Among Us

The Creature Walks Among Us is the final installment of The Creature from the Black Lagoon horror film series from Universal Pictures. It was released April 26, 1956, in the United States.

Trivia:

Sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and Revenge of the Creature (1955), and the only one of the three not made in 3-D.

Mystery Science Theater The Movie


Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996, produced by Best Brains, Inc., distributed by Gramercy Pictures) is a theatrical adaptation of the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. The date of the movie’s production, between seasons 6 and 7 of MST3K, explains the absence of both TV’s Frank (Frank Conniff), who left the series in the finale of Season 6, and Pearl Forrester (Mary Jo Pehl), who arrived in the premiere of Season 7 (the final Comedy Central season), The Film is rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

MST3K: The Movie was filmed away from the Best Brains corporate headquarters and studio in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, at Energy Park Studios in St. Paul. Like the TV series, it starred Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy, and Jim Mallon.

Trivia:

The “hard copy of the status report” that Mike is reading at the beginning of the film is actually a copy of “Satellite News” the official newsletter of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 information club.


The control panel for the robotic arms that Mike uses to grab the Hubble is marked “Manos.” Manos, along with being Spanish for “hands”, is also a reference to the movie Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) which is generally agreed to be the worst movie ever shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

 


A sculpture of the head of TV’s Frank appears on door #2 of the “theater tunnel.” TV’s Frank was a popular character played by Frank Conniff, who left the show after the sixth season.

 


The TV show’s usual density of gags was reduced for theatrical audiences, so that a larger number of people laughing wouldn’t cause too much dialogue to be missed.

 


At ninety minutes, each episode of the television series is actually longer than the movie runs (73 minutes).

 


The original DVD release had no special features and was withdrawn from circulation in 2000. However in 2003 on the 7th anniversary of the movie’s premiere (19 April 1996) an unknown Internet fan released a Special Edition DVD. This two disc set has the widescreen version of the film, the theatrical trailer, TV spots, a review from E!, a slideshow presentation from the 1996 MST3K convention and the cut host segment & alternate ending.

 


When Mike Nelson uses the manipulator arms to free the Hubble, not only does the panel say Manos (see above), but when he clicks the button we hear a subtle reworking of Torgo’s theme. Torgo was the central character of Manos, The Hands Of Fate and Mike Nelson would often make cameos spoofing Torgo throughout the shows’ existence prior to his taking over from Joel Hodgson (the show’s creator and star for 4 and a half seasons).

 


At one point, Crow quips, “Oh, PLEASE, let us get the Sci-Fi Channel, oh please, oh please, oh please!” At the time, the production company Best Brains was negotiating a deal to air on the Sci-Fi Channel.

 


Most of the puppeteering for Gypsy was actually done by Patrick Brantseg (who would later take over both the puppeteering and voice in the TV series) and the voice was dubbed in later by Jim Mallon. This was so Mallon could focus on directing the scene rather than operating the puppet.

 


When Universal originally released the movie, they thought that a limited release in a select group of “college towns” (where they believed MST3K was most appreciated) over a longer period of time would lead to a box office bonanza and keep it from having to compete with the early summer blockbusters like Twister (1996) and Mission: Impossible (1996). Instead, very few fans of the show were even aware that the movie had been released and the film languished in relative obscurity throughout the spring and early summer. This was the first (and last) time that Universal attempted such a plan.

 


The German version of MST3K was translated by the German TV comedian Oliver Kalkofe. Many jokes were changed to jokes about German tv shows and stars. Kalkofe even added some new jokes.

 


By many accounts, making the movie was not a happy experience for the filmmakers, due to frequent studio interference. Years later, at a cast reunion appearance in New York City, Trace Beaulieu was asked what the worst movie featured on MST3K was. His reply was, “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie”.

 


The makers of MST3K were so annoyed by their experiences having to work within a major studio on this film that they later parodied the experience on the TV series. In episode 704: “The Incredible Melting Man” the host segments are about Crow’s screenplay being purchased by a studio then ruined by the executives (Dr. Forrester and Mother Forrester) as they vainly try to shoot it and screen it for audiences. Series writer and star Mary Jo Pehl would later call the episode an “exercise in healing” after the ordeal of MST3K: The Movie.

 

Critters released April 11, 1986

Critters


Critters is a 1986 action sci-fi comedy horror film starring Dee Wallace-Stone, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush and Scott Grimes. It was directed by Stephen Herek and written by Don Keith Opper and Stephen Herek. It is part of the Critters series.

Trivia:

Terrence Mann actually perform the song “Power of the Night” as Johnny Steele, especially for this movie.

Body count: 2.

There are a total of five (5) poison spikes shot from the Critters.

There are only 2 deaths on-screen, all other characters are simply just ‘harmed’.

The Thing From Another World

The Thing from Another World (often referred to as The Thing before its 1982 remake), is a 1951 science fiction film that tells the story of an Air Force crew and scientists at a remote Arctic research outpost who fight a malevolent plant-based alien being. It stars Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, Robert Cornthwaite and Douglas Spencer. James Arness appeared as The Thing, difficult to recognize in costume and makeup. No players are named during the opening credits; the only cast credit is at the movie’s end.

In 2001, the film was deemed “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry

Trivia:

  • It is generally believed that Howard Hawks took over direction during production, and it has always been acknowledged by director Christian Nyby that Hawks was the guiding hand. However, in an interview James Arness said that while Hawks spent a lot of time on the set, it was Nyby who actually directed the picture, not Hawks.
  • Partly filmed in Glacier National Park and at a Los Angeles ice storage plant.
  • This film was based on the short story “Who Goes There?” by Don A. Stuart. The credits on this film list the author by his real name, the science fiction editor/writer John W. Campbell Jr.
  • Midget actor Billy Curtis played the smaller version of “The Thing” during the creature’s final scene.
  • James Arness complained that his “Thing” costume made him look like a giant carrot.
thing from another world james arness

Thing from Another World with James Arness

 

  • Howard Hawks asked the US Air Force for assistance in making the film. He was refused because the top brass felt that such cooperation would compromise the U.S. government’s official stance that UFOs didn’t exist.
  • It is believed that Ben Hecht and William Faulkner, both good friends of producer Howard Hawks, contributed to the script. However, long-standing rumors that Orson Welles contributed to the dialog are believed to be untrue.
  • Two months prior to principal photography, James Arness was brought in during the design and development of the makeup.
  • Close-ups of “The Thing” were removed. It was felt that the make-up could not hold up to close scrutiny. However, the lack of close-ups gave the creature a more mysterious quality.
  • James Arness reportedly regarded his role as so embarrassing that he didn’t attend the premiere.
  • It took makeup artist Lee Greenway five months and 18 sculptures of the creature before he came up with a design that satisfied producer Howard Hawks.
  • When producer Howard Hawks attempted to get insurance for the creature, five insurance companies turned him down because “The Thing” was to be frozen in a block of ice, hacked by axes, attacked by dogs, lit on fire, and electrocuted.
  • The famous scene when the crew formed a ring around the flying saucer frozen in the ice, was actually filmed at the RKO Ranch in the San Fernando Valley in 100-degree weather.
  • This was the first of only two films made by Howard Hawks’ own production company, Winchester Pictures Corporation. Winchester was Hawks’ middle name.
  • The scene in which The Thing is doused with kerosene and set ablaze is believed to be the first full body burn accomplished by a stunt man.
  • Veteran stunt man Tom Steele replaced James Arness in the fire scene. Steele wore an asbestos suit with a special fiberglass helmet with an oxygen supply underneath. He use a 100% oxygen supply which was highly combustible. It was pure luck he didn’t burn his lungs whilst breathing in the mixture.
  • According to make up artist Lee Greenway, he took James Arness in his car to the home of producer Howard Hawks to show off the make up for the Thing. After months of frustration, Hawkes told Greenway to put a Frankenstein (1931) type of head piece on Arness.
  • Scotty mentions being at the execution of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray. This is a real case. The couple were tried for and convicted of the murder of Snyder’s husband in 1927 and were executed in New York by the electric chair.

Read more about “The Thing” Prequel Here!  coming soon!!

Slither released March 31, 2006

Slither

Slither is a 2006 comedy horror film produced by Gold Circle Films and Strike Entertainment, released by Universal, written and directed by James Gunn, and starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Tania Saulnier and Jenna Fischer, and was produced by Paul Brooks and Eric Newman. Slither was James Gunn’s directorial debut, and was influenced by B movies such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Shivers.

Trivia:

  • DIRECTOR CAMEO (James Gunn): as another teacher at Starla’s school
  • People, places and buildings, throughout the film, allude to various late-20th-century monster movies. See Movie Connections for specifics.
  • Jenna and Emily Strutemyer were named after Jenna Fischer, director James Gunn’s wife, and her sister.
  • Cameo: [Rob Zombie] voice of Dr. Grant, talking to Starla on the phone
  • Haig Sutherland was the first person to be cast. Elizabeth Banks was the second. Gregg Henry was the last actor to be seen for the part (out of more than 100 actors from Los Angeles and Vancouver) and nailed his audition. Nathan Fillion was the last actor to be cast, about a week before shooting began. Shooting lasted 47 days.
  • In the script, Jack tells Bill that Brenda is the niece of Randy Flagg. Randall Flagg is the bad guy in several Stephen King novels including “The Stand” (1994).

Morons from Outer Space

Morons from Outer Space is a 1985 comedy/science-fiction film directed by Mike Hodges. It was released in North America on September 20, 1985.

Trivia:

  • ‘Mike Hodges’ directed this movie on the condition that the production company Thorn EMI, would finance his script “Mid-Atlantic”, which didn’t get off the ground.
  • To receive a PG certificate the film was re-edited by the distributor and cut by around 15 secs by the BBFC to remove sexual and drug-related dialogue. In total 6 minutes 10 secs were edited from the film.
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