31 DAYS OF SPOOKY STUFF – Day 4 (Journal #68) – Zombies, Now with 100% More Astro!

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Day 4 of 31 Days of Spooky Stuff, forgive me if I write this while fighting insomnia. Today, we look at Ted V. Mikels’ film THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES, as well as the first of three sequels to that film, made 34 years later.

 

RATING SYSTEM

The Best – Reserved for the absolute cream of the crop.
Highly Recommended – Very good. Far better than your typical film and one that I will remember for some time.
Recommended – Just what it says. This is a good film and earns a recommendation. Don’t think that because it’s not one of the top two categories that these films aren’t worth your time. The “recommended” tag is a winner and nothing to sneer at.
Barely Recommended – The middle of the road. Those films where I didn’t feel it was a complete waste of time, but it didn’t set my world on fire either. Not bad, but leaves me feeling bored and/or apathetic.
Disappointing – Close but no cigar. Does a few things right but is ultimately a whole lot of wasted potential. Not recommended.
Awful – A bad movie. Pure and simple. Not worth your time.
The Worst – The Britta Perry of ratings, though not as entertaining. The bottom of the barrel.

CRITERIA

What was the film trying to accomplish and how well did it meet those goals?
In addition to (or sometimes despite) that, how does the film hold up on sheer entertainment value?

 

FILM GEEK JOURNAL – ENTRY 68

(31 DAYS OF SPOOKY STUFF – DAY 4 – OCT. 4, 2013)

 

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astro-zombies-movie-poster-1969-1020197226THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES (1968) – The Space Agency has been working on a way to keep people’s consciousness alive during long and difficult space missions. Dr. DeMarco (John Carradine) thinks he’s come up with just the idea by creating the Astro-man, an automaton that can have a human’s brain power transferred into its hulking body. The Space Agency however decided that DeMarco was out to lunch and so they canned him. This hasn’t stopped DeMarco from continuing his research and even successfully creating an Astro-man. Unfortunately, he used the brain of a psychopathic killer, which means the Astro-man is going around killing women – some of whom previously worked with DeMarco.

While DeMarco tries to build a better Astro-man for the purposes of retaining the knowledge of the world’s greatest minds long after their bodies decay, the CIA is hot on his trail. Also catching on is Satana (Tura Satana), who believes the Astro-man technology is just the thing to make the world bow before her.

Ted V. Mikels’ film is a hoot. It’s also the subject of the latest episode of my web series, MOVIOCRITY. Rather than just repeat what I thought of it, I’m enclosing the video below. Trust me, I have plenty to say about this awesome flick and even something to say about how I approach films in general.  Highly Recommended.

 

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markastroMARK OF THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES (2002) – 34 years after the original ASTRO-ZOMBIES, Ted V. Mikels launched this first of three sequels to the cult classic. The set-up is a little different this time out and a lot more confusing. This time, aliens are setting dozens of Astro-zombies loose to chop people to death. Malvira Satana (Tura Satana, back again) follows in her sister’s footsteps in trying to figure out what the astro-men are all about and how she can use them to her advantage. But she doesn’t realize that these creatures are far different from the ones created by Dr. DeMarco, whose attempts to live on as a preserved head are unsuccessful. Meanwhile, the CIA tries to figure out how to stop the continuing menace, finally getting help from some neighbors from the stars.

If the original ASTRO-ZOMBIES was quirky, this sequel is a laugh riot. Mikels has continued to create films independently, this time using open sets, paper mache props and costumes and a whole lot of moxie to create a film that is one of the kookiest follow-ups you’re likely to find. I would not have time to list all the crazy things that seem to happen in this film, or all the times the viewer is reduced to open-mouthed astonishment. Suffice to say that if you eat this kind of thing up like I do, MARK OF THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES is a real treat.  Highly Recommended.

 

 

Number of films covered in the Journal so far: 296

Miss any of the previous Journal entries? Check them out here!

And tune into my new web series, Moviocrity!



Categories: 31 Days of Spooky Stuff, Scott W. Davis, Scott's Film Geek Journal

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