The Day Time Ended (1979)

The Day Time Ended_US One Sheet

Alpha Home Entertainment offers this low-budget indie from director John “Bud” Cardos (Kingdom of the Spiders, 1977).  I have never heard of it and missed it growing up in the late 70’s or early 80’s.  I’m not sure if it was theatrically released, but the one-sheet poster suggests that it was.

Perhaps it was released to a local market or later on VHS?  The film seems to have been fabricated to cash in on the UFO film craze subsequent to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

The Day Time Ended (1979) reminds me a bit of Laserblast (1978), with western landscapes and stop-motion creatures, although the stories have nothing in common.  Both films feature stop-motion animation shot at David Allen’s studio.

Day Time Ended_Supernova

Whirling beacons of light or a Trinary Supernova can only mean one thing —aliens are landing at this ranch.  Here, a strange green pulsating obelisk appears.  Naturally after the thing shrinks little Jenny decides to put it in her pocket…

Day Time Ended_Obelisk

Day Time Ended_Little Obelisk

The Day Time Ended features Dorothy Malone (The Big Sleep, 1946) and western film veteran Jim Davis (Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, 1966; bit uncredited part in The Magnificent Seven, 1960) as ranchers who encounter visitors from space and are pulled into a time warp. Both are capable actors when handed a decent script.  This was Jim Davis’ final film. Chris Mitchum (Robert’s son) also appears as a one of the sons.  He’s not a bad actor and has appeared in several genre films over the years.

Day Time Ended_Dorothy Malone and Jim Davis

The donut-design and construction of the alien spacecraft presumably built by Greg Jein is refreshing.  Certain aspects of this film will hold your interest, but it is mainly worth seeing for the stop-motion animation and Jim Danforth’s striking matte paintings.  The story appears to have been built quickly around the premise of a technical crew that is capable of rendering decent special effects. My guess is the producers said let’s create some cool monsters and write a script around them.

The film has a similar feel to Kingdom of the Spiders, with low-key matter-of-fact direction by  Bud Cardos.  It’s not camp.  Cardos just makes a film with the attitude “Ok, we are making a movie about spiders taking over a ranch community.. Let’s get started”.  He does the same here.

Day Time Ended_Spaceships

A total of four animated puppets appear in the film:

  • A cone-headed sprite-like “gremlin” in the spirit of the gray aliens in CE3K,
  • A clumsy, whiskered gorilla-walrus hybrid called the “Troll Lady”,
  • A reptilian “Wolf Lizard”, and
  • An animated alien space probe/floating laser cannon.

Here, the gremlin appears before Dorothy Malone, possibly alerting her to danger…

Day Time Ended_Gremlin

According to Neil Pettigrew (1999), the gremlin was animated by Randy Cook.  The animation is fluid and the character is whimsical.  Unfortunately the script doesn’t really explain why the character appears in the story.

Day Time Ended_Sprite

The spacecraft models were constructed by Greg Jein (CE3K, 1977; *batteries not included, 1987; ST: Deep Space Nine, 1993).  At the time, Greg Jein was one of the premier model builders in hollywood.  The three monster puppets were designed by Lyle Conway, with the armatures fabricated by Tom St. Armand (Pettigrew, 1999).  There’s a cool animated fight sequence between the main monsters that will tickle most animation fans.

Day Time Ended_Troll Lady

The “Wolf Lizard” is a bipedal reptilian creature, with a stubby tail, tapered waist and elongated claws.  It reminds me a tiny bit of Harryhausen’s Ymir, with scaley features and swept back shoulders.  The incredibly detailed creature was designed by Lyle Conway  (The Dark Crystal, 1982; The Blob, 1988; Where the Wild Things Are, 2009).

Wolf Lizard_Head

Ah… The old pitchfork in the body of a reptilian beast maneuver… Hat’s off to Mr. Harryhausen.

Wolf Lizard_Pitch Fork

Nice Matte painting of “The City of Light” by Jim Danforth…

The Day Time Ended_Matte Danforth

The Day Time Ended is worth a look. Here’s the film on YouTube!


Neil Pettigrew, 1999. The Stop-Motion Filmography: A Critical Guide to 297 Features Using Puppet Animation, Vol. 1. McFarland Publish.

2 Responses to “The Day Time Ended (1979)”

  1. The gremlin was animated by Dave Allen and the other two monsters by Randy Cook.

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