SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE
1983, Sony Repertory, 90 min, USA/Canada, Dir: Lamont Johnson

Forced to land on the plague-ridden planet Terra XI, three women find themselves in the clutches of the evil dictator Overdog (Michael Ironside). Their only hope lies in the hands of the rogue scavenger Wolff (Peter Strauss) and his guide Niki (Molly Ringwald), who face a series of treacherous obstacles on the barren planet. With spectacular special effects and impressive 3-D imagery, this is one of the overlooked gems of the 1980s space opera craze.


METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN
1983, Universal, 84 min, USA, Dir: Charles Band

Produced and directed by B-movie maestro Charles Band, this highly enjoyable cult film takes place on the mysterious desert planet of Lemuria, where humans gather in small mining towns to scavenge for crystals imbued with mystical powers. Dressed suspiciously like Mel Gibson’s Max Rockatansky, space ranger Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) sets out to stop the murderous villain Jared-Syn, memorably played by THE ROAD WARRIOR’s Michael Preston. This MAD MAX knockoff is a surprisingly fun adventure that takes wasteland sci-fi to new, intergalactic places with some truly outstanding visuals.


BEAT THE DEVIL
1953, Sony Repertory, 89 min, UK/Italy/USA, Dir: John Huston

If screwball comedies were about criminal entanglements instead of romantic ones - and if they featured dialogue by Truman Capote - they would resemble this delightful adventure spoof. Jennifer Jones plays a compulsive liar traveling to Africa with her husband when she meets Humphrey Bogart, who’s been enlisted by a group of criminals (including Robert Morley and Peter Lorre) eager to acquire a uranium mine. Bogart lost a bundle of money and several teeth making the film, but it remains among the most distinctive and entertaining of his career. Costarring Gina Lollobrigida.


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