Monday, October 7, 2013

Laserblast (1978)

Subliminal Cinema

Horror and Sci-Fi Collide in 1978's
Take THAT, Star Wars!
Laserblast is a cheaply made and often boring movie.  It is full of long meandering shots that any normal movie would have edited out.  For instance, the movie will show you an establishing shot of a car driving down the road, then it will cut to the inside of the car where two people are having a conversation while driving.   So far so good.  then, after about two lines of dialogue, it cuts back to the establishing shot of the car driving down the road, holds there for about a minute, then returns back to the interior of the car of two more lines of dialogue.  Then it's back to the establishing shot again, and the process is repeated until the conversation is over.  A scene that would take less than a minute in any other movie, is drawn out to five minutes here.  The whole movie is edited this way, and it can be very frustrating to watch.  It seems like the filmmakers shot a 30 minute short subject, and then through the miracles of really bad editing, and pointlessly long takes, stretched it out to feature length.  

Billy Shows Off His Mutated Teeth
Once you get past the bad editing and long takes, there is a story of sorts.  The protagonist is Billy, a shirtless 1970s teen dude who finds an alien laser gun, and an alien necklace, in the desert.  Then at night the necklace takes over his mind and turns him into some kind of Jekyll and Hyde type, and he goes around blowing people and things up with the laser gun.

In the '70s it was considered bad manners to button up your shirt.
One thing Laserblast does not skimp on is explosions.  There is fireball after exploding fireball in this move, as cars, planes, buildings, pinball machines, phone booths, and whatever else Billy gets his sights on all go up in flames.  Throw in some town bullies, an inept police force,  a mysterious government agent hot on Billy's trail, a couple of stop-motion animated aliens, and a brief appearance by Roddy McDowall as the town doctor, and you've got yourself a movie.  A good movie?  No.  But definitely a movie of some sort.

Roddy McDowall Intently Examines the Alien Artifact He Removed From Billy's Chest
The acting is universally bad, but in that grade Z movie way, where the bad acting actually becomes kind of entertaining.  Roddy McDowall gives a good performance, I suppose, but he's only on the screen for about two minutes.  Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith  has a more substantial role as Billy's girlfriend.  The actress has a strong cult following from her appearance in "Caged Heat" and other exploitation films, but really doesn't make much of an impression here.

The Aliens Attack
The film does have some decent special effects.  The stop-motion animation aliens are pretty well done, and Billy's "Alien Mr. Hyde" makeup is goofy, but fun.  Overall, the film is fairly entertaining despite it's flaws, and is worth watching for fans of bad movies.

Billy Goofs Around With His New Toy

More screencaps after the jump...


I Hope You Like Looking at this Desert Landscape, Because the Camera is Going to Hold on it for, Like, Two Minutes While Someone Slowly Walks Across It

Spacecraft Over the Desert

Alien Enforcer

Fugitive Mutant

Billy Gets Out of Bed by Falling on the Floor

If You Like Watching a Van Slowly Drive Around Town, Then Boy, Do I Have a Movie for You

Crazy Grandpa

Doofus Cops

It's Illegal to Have Giant Footprints on Your Van, Son.  I'm Going to Have to Write You a Ticket

James Franco and Seth Rogan

The Town Bullies.  And No, I'm Not Joking.

Billy Finds a Space Laser on the Ground

Secret... AGENT MAN!

Inside the Alien Spacecraft

Billy Beats Off Two Rapists With a Tennis Racket

Billy Has a Weird Dream

The First of Many Exploding Cars

Billy's Space Pimple

Roddy McDowall Intently Examines the Large Piece of Metal Embedded in Billy's Chest

Roddy McDowall Intently Examines a Syringe

Roddy McDowall Intently Examines a Pair of Forceps

Fingering Billy's Mysterious Orifice

Time to Get Laserblasted!

Another Burning Car

Car on Fire

Aliens Watch Burning Car on Their Space TV

Green Billy

Mutant Billy

Billy Pulls the Trigger

Yet Another Burning Car

Still Burnin'

The Aliens Watch the Burning Car

The Uncredible Hulk

Victory Dance

Rainbeaux Smith Cries Over Billy's Body While Wearing a Girl Scout Uniform


  1. Hey, that shot of them blasting the Star Wars sign is worth it, I'm suprised George Lucas didnt sue em !!

    1. I'm not sure what the filmmakers had against Star Wars. There is another scene where one of the cops says, "Kid's nuts... (he's) seen Star Wars five times."

  2. Billy is resembling Iron Man for a little bit... thing in his chest, fighting aliens from outer-space.

  3. Very very belated, but that's actually a Boy Scout uniform shirt. The picture you have the actually shows a council patch from my county. Still just as baffled by it as the first time I saw this episode.