Peter’s Retro Reviews: The Dark Side of the Moon (1990)

October 3, 2014

TDSOTM movie posterby Peter Nielsen

So, Ladies and Gentlemen… we’ve reached that time of the year again; when the nights are slowly beginning to feel colder. The mornings too, of course, but I’m primarily a night-person, so I tend to notice it more during that time. The days are getting shorter too, which means that the darkness is creeping in sooner in the evening and that’s not necessarily a bad thing… Well, at least not in my world it isn’t, because I like the dark… always have!

Yes, my friends, fall is here… and that means we’re closing in on my favorite holiday, namely Halloween. It’s time for all manners of ghosts, goblins, ghouls and other scary creatures to rise and lurk around in the shadows right outside your windows. Or maybe they’re already inside? Did you check the front door? The back door? How about the windows? Are you sure they’re all safely locked? Oh, wait…

what was that sound? It wasn’t a growl, was it? And there… in the corner of your eye? Was that a shadow? Oh, no… you better hide! Hurry, hurry! Ah, never mind… it’s too late now… “They’re heeeeere..!”

Giles and Flynn on the bridge of the ship.

Giles and Flynn on the bridge of the ship.

And with that, I bid you all welcome to the fourth annual October Spooky Flix Fest…For the next couple of weeks we’ll try our damndest to keep you entertained, and spooked perhaps, all the way up to Halloween. And this year we have a lot to share with you, so let’s not stall any longer. This year I thought I’d start up in space, so without further ado, let’s take a trip to the dark side of the moon, shall we?

“The year, 2022. The maintenance ship, Spacecore 1, is on a routine “refab” mission. The refabs are fixers. Their purpose is to repair nuclear-armed satellites orbiting high above the Earth. Due to the atomic capabilities of these satellites, refabbing is considered dangerous… very dangerous!”

Drifting in space!

Drifting in space!

We’re only a couple of minutes into the movie when the ship starts to experience some strange electrical systems failure. The two crewmembers, Giles and Flynn, ask the ship’s computer, Lesli, to do a systems check-up, but according to that, everything is fine. This is, of course, not the case and soon the ship has a complete power failure and is now slowly drifting towards the dark side of the moon.

Auxiliary power is still working though, but the ship is quickly getting colder and the crew is running out of air, so the situation is a bit precarious to say the least. All of a sudden the crew notices a ship outside, floating towards them. It looks like an old space-shuttle and they decide to board it, in the hopes of finding something that might help them repair their own ship. What they do find, however, is a dead body wearing an “old” uniform from NASA. The crew of the Spacecore 1 finds this odd, as NASA has been shut down for many years! They bring the body back with them to examine it and maybe find out what has happened.

Refabs in space!

Refabs in space!

And this is the point where I’m sure many of you will go: “Whoa there… is that really such a good idea?” And you will, of course, be right in asking that question, because in this type of movie, it never is! A good idea, I mean!

Giles, played by Will Bledsoe (Up the Creek), goes to inquire the ship’s computer about the strange shuttle and finds out that it actually crashed on Earth many years ago. It splashed down at sea, in the Bermuda Triangle to be exact, and that might explain the saltwater and seaweed they found onboard it, but how the hell did the shuttle end up back in space… on the dark side of the moon? To make matters worse, it turns out that the dead body they found isn’t actually dead at all! Well, it is, but it has been taken over by some evil being and is now killing off the crewmembers one by one!

I first watched this little sci-fi/horror movie back in 1990, and I think I watched it together with my dad, if memory serves me right. I’ve only watched it a few times since then and prior to watching it for this review I hadn’t seen it in a very long time. I remember liking it at the time and you know what… it actually still holds up pretty well. Sure, it’s a low budget, direct-to-video release, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. The story is interesting, the sets look good and not all of the actors are bad. There are actually some fairly recognizable faces among them… Robert Sampson (Robot Jox, Re-Animator), Joe Turkel (Blade Runner, The Shining) and John Diehl (Pearl Harbor, Miami Vice) for instance.

Not the kind of guy you want to meet on board a cramped space-ship!

Not the kind of guy you want to meet on board a cramped space-ship!

Camilla More (Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter) plays Lesli, Spacecore 1’s computer, and it’s not just the voice, nope… she’s all there, in humanoid form. I have no idea why that is, but maybe it’s to make the computer seem more accessible and appealing for the crew.

D.J. Webster made his directorial debut with The Dark Side of the Moon, and this was to be his only feature length movie because apart from this, he only made a couple of music videos.

It has never been released on DVD, as far as I know; I’ve only ever seen it on VHS! You can find tapes to buy online, of course, but trust me… they’re not cheap! And that’s a damn shame, really, because, as I mentioned before, it’s not a bad movie. I especially like the references made to the Bible and the mysterious Bermuda Triangle! I mean, how often do you see that in a movie set in space? Not often, I’ll bet! There’s also a cool little twist as to who, or what, the being that possesses the dead astronaut’s body, really is, but I’m not going to tell you…

So, my friends… thus ends my first entry in the 2014 Spooky Flix Fest, and if any of you have either seen or heard of the movie I chose this week, please let me know in the comments section below; I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time…

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