Laserblast MST3K Style

Laserblast (1978, dir. Michael Rae) holds a special place in my heart.  I watched it with my father at the now demolished Parthenon Auditorium Theater, in Hammond, Indiana.  It’s best remembered now for David Allen’s personable reptilian aliens which are the heros of the show. (Actually, animator Randy Cook did most of the hands on animation). The film is a bit scarce, but I came across a copy on the Shout Factory’s 20th Anniversary MST 3000 Edition Boxed DVD Set (with First Spaceship on Venus, Werewolf and Future War).  For me, a little bit of Tom Servo goes a long way, but they have fun (as I did) watching Laserblast.

The film opens with a mysterious live-action humanoid being pursued across a desert terrain by two animated lizard men brandishing a laser gun and odd surveillance gear. Their weapons are reminiscent of steam-punk gear found in a George Pal film.

The humanoid carries an arm-fitted laser cannon and takes aim at the reptiles.  They laserblast the guy into dust (Tom Servo: “Good shootin’ Zanthar…”) and take flight in their spacecraft.  (The spacecraft is a shuttlecraft design and well-modeled, being fabricated by Greg Jein who worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind). While in flight, a commanding lizard man reprimands the two —they left the laser weapon on earth.  They have to go back for it.  However, loner loser Billy Duncan (Kim Milford) finds the weapon and a mysterious necklace amulet…

Timid Billy takes note of the powerful weapon and goes through a Jekyll-Hyde transformation. Plenty of action follows as Billy takes no prisoners. He blasts everyone and everything in his way.  Man would I love to have one of them gadgets…

Tom Servo: “He insists on bringin his leaf blower everywhere…”

Laserblast stars several familiar faces, including Roddy McDowall as a sympathetic doctor (his name is misspelled in the credits) and Keenan Wynn, in brief appearances, character actor Ron Masak as the Sheriff, and two idiot potsmoking red-neck cops played by Barry Cutler and Dennis Burkley. We’ve seen these guys in several films. Laserblast also features uber-geek Eddie Deezen (seen also in Grease and Wargames). He’s the dude with the obnoxious laugh.

And my favorite gag from the film? Billy takes notice of a Star Wars billboard…

“Sean Cassidy in walking tall…”

I won’t spoil the ending.

Laserblast received 2.5 stars out of 10 on IMdB.  So be it.  I like the film even with the MST3K treatment.  The real attraction are the lizard men, which appear in 39 cuts in 5 short sequences.  They make the film for me.  I find them far more memorable than the 4-armed green martian people (see —I don’t even know what they are called) in “John Carter”.  Yes, check out the MST3K Version of Laserblast.

Suggested Reading:

N. Pettigrew, 1999. The Stop-Motion Filmography, A Critical Guide to 297 Features using Puppet Animation, Vol 2., McFarland & Co.

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