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01 August, 2009

Junkyard Films Moldy Oldie Movie of the Month: WAR OF THE SATELLITES




The fledgling US space program has irritated some "unknown force" from another planet and, in an attempt to stop this "infection" of humans, it has surrounded Earth with an invisible and impenetrable force field. Dr. Pol VanPonder (Richard Devon), head of the space program, is a determined scientist who shoots satellite after satellite into this force field...all resulting in the destruction of the satellites and its crews. Frustrated, he fights with the UN in an attempt to get funding for yet another assault on the force field.

Meanwhile, two horny teens, which appeared to be in their late 20's, are making out when a capsule falls from the skies. This capsule is delivered to the space program's headquarters where the message, written in Latin, is deciphered by the lovely love-interest Sybil (Susan Cabot). It warns Earth people that they must stop all future space exploration or face certain doom. This warning serves only to aggravate the space program and they immediately begin to build three more space probes.

Dr. VanPonder is driving home when his car is taken control of by some "unknown force" and the Caddy he's driving goes over a cliff, turns into a Studebaker, crashes and burns. Word of this reaches astronaut Dave Boyer (Dick Miller) who informs the UN. Just then, Dr. VanPonder strolls into the UN chambers. But, is it really the Doctor? Or has some "unknown force" replicated him? He sets out to deep-six further space probes. But, an impassioned speech by Dave sets the UN straight and they give their approval.

Dr. VanPonder's strange behavior soon has space central buzzing with questions. He, while examining some transformers, burns his hand badly without noticing which is observed and reported by another scientist (Jay Sayer). However, when the doctor comes to examine VanPonder, then his hand is fine. In another scene, we see Dr. VanPonder asexually reproduce to form his own twin, causing Dave to wonder how he can be in two places at the same time.

Still, the work goes on and, finally, the manned space probes are ready for take off. Dr. VanPonder decides it's best to allow the probes to take off and allow them to be destroyed by the force field. With this in mind, he chooses as his crew Sybil, Dave and Jay. Inside the extremely roomy space probe, tensions grow between the Doctor and Jay until the Doctor, using mind power or something, stops Jay's heart. Dave, suspecting murder, approaches the ship's doctor with evidence that VanPonder is an alien being and asks the doctor to examine him, making sure to check for a heartbeat. However, VanPonder, suspecting the doctor of snooping, somehow manages to fake a heartbeat. However, now that he has a heart, he notices the lovely Sybil and, menacingly approaches her. She rebuffs his advances, causing him to lose it and have Dave arrested. Meanwhile, the Doctor chases Sybil into the solar room and makes sexual advances on her while Dave fights off the guards sent to arrest him. The Doctor has ordered the space probe to fly into the force field, which will result in certain death for the entire crew. Dave starts fighting the evil twin of the Doctor while Sybil struggles to keep the other Doctor twin off her. She, in true 50's sci-fi fashion, faints. Dave shoots and kills the evil twin Doctor, which causes the other twin Doctor to die and disappear, too.

Dave informs the deck to ignore the Doctor's previous orders and turn the space probe around while he runs up and down the numerous corridors of the space probe searching for Sybil. Alas, it's too late! The satellite is shot into the force field! Dave finds Sybil and carries her to the command center. All Earth holds it breath! Will the satellite have its desired effects, destroy the force field, and allow for further space exploration? It's the 50's...you figure it out!

In October 1957, the Soviets shot into space the first satellite, named "Sputnik,” causing great panic in America. This world's first made headlines daily for weeks. Roger Corman knew he could get funding for a movie that had the hot-topic word "satellite" in the title. Calling together his trusty stable of low-budget actors and actresses, he shot this space adventure in a record four days, a bare eight weeks after the launch of Sputnik! If you ignore the junk science, cheap props and the cheaper special effects, this movie is well-acted and taut and, at a little over an hour's running time, it's a great popcorn epic! Watch the trailer:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x31y2g_film-trailer-war-of-the-satellites_shortfilms

MSTjunkie

Enjoy! Or not!


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