A dude finds an alien laser gun, shoots a bunch of people and blows a
lot of things up. That about sums up this utterly ridiculous early
effort by producer Charles Band.
Nowadays this 1978 film is probably best known as the
subject of one of the more popular episodes of MST3K. It was among the
first features of schlockmeister Charles Band, who was clearly aping
STAR WARS--specifically that film’s laser guns and lead actor Mark
Hamill, who closely resembles LASERBLAST’S headliner Kim Milford. As for
director Michael Rae, this is his only directorial credit, which based
on the quality of the film is entirely understandable.
Look also for uber-nerd Eddie Deezen (GREASE, MIDNIGHT
MADNESS, 1941, etc) in his film debut (playing a bully!), cameos by the
old pros Keenan Wynn and Roddy McDowall, and extensive stop motion
effects by the late David Allen. It was Allen’s work on this film (which
is said to have been largely executed by an uncredited Jon Berg) that
allegedly convinced Band to give him a shot at directing the legendary
never-released science fiction epic THE PRIMEVALS.
A weird green-faced guy comes staggering out of the
desert with an large laser gun strapped to his arm. A spaceship lands
nearby and a bunch of aliens step out; the guy fires a laser at them but
they shoot back and kill him off.
Billy Fenton is a young jock living in the area. He’s
got problems: his mom is running off to Acapulco for the weekend, his
girlfriend’s assholish grandfather won’t let Billy near her, he’s
ticketed by a pair of goofball cops and, most humiliating of all, he’s
bullied by Eddie Deezen! Billy is quite agitated, then, when he stumbles
upon the laser gun seen earlier. He takes it back to his house and finds
it infecting his mind; in no time he’s become a green-faced freak very
much like the guy from the early scenes. In this state he blows up the
car belonging to the guys who bullied him with the laser gun.
The following morning Billy visits a local doctor who
examines a strange lesion on Billy’s chest. Later Billy lasers the
doctor in his car and then takes out the cops who harassed him.
Things come to a head the next day, when Billy’s
girlfriend holds a metal object too close to his chest wound. He
immediately chases her off, lasers a plane out of the sky and blows up a
car driven by those pesky bullies (didn’t he already do that?). From
there he’s picked up on the road by a hippie cowboy, who doesn’t appear
at all put off by the giant gun Billy has strapped to his arm. After
blowing up a billboard for STAR WARS Billy sends the cowboy on his way,
and then takes out a phone booth, a mailbox, a newsstand and several
cars…until the aliens who put everything into motion turn back up and
neutralize Billy for good!
Michael Rae’s direction isn’t as laughably horrible as
you might expect…which is about the best I can say for it. The largely
amateur performances range from bad to inexcusable, the visuals are
frequently underlit and lacking in energy (the camera rarely ever
moves), and the low budget special effects (outside the endearingly Ray
Harryhausen-esque stop motion aliens who turn up at the beginning and
end) are sub-par. Rae and his collaborators also over-rely on slow
motion explosions that get old extremely quickly.
As for the script, it’s perilously underdeveloped and
misconceived: an entire movie pivoting on a single laser gun simply
isn’t a good idea! Further distraction is provided by the most annoying
pair of dumb-assed cops this side of
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and a wholly
gratuitous FBI guy who turns up periodically but has no direct bearing
on the narrative. It seems Rae and his screenwriters were aware of the
thinness of their story and so did their best to pad it out. It’s all
for naught, however, as LASERBLAST sucks pure and simple.
Director: Michael Rae
Producer: Charles Band
Screenplay: Franne Schacht, Frank Ray Perilli
Cinematography: Terry Bowen
Editing: Jodie Copelan
Cast: Kim Milford, Cheryl Smith, Gianni Russo, Ron Masak, Dennis Burkley,
Barry Cutler, Mike Bobenko, Eddie Deezen, Keenan Waynn, Roddy McDowall,