A Tribute to a Truly Best of Worst

It isn't easy to find a science fiction b-movie that is satisfyingly bad. For someone who loves Mystery Science Theater 3000 quality movies, Space Mutiny, is a gem. In fact, that is where I first came into contact with this spectacular flop. I was entranced by its silliness, and had to watch it un-MSTed. As it turns out, it is funny and ridiculously entertaining without Mike and the Bots adding to the humor.

This 1988 film, directed by David Winters, could almost be used in film school to illustrate how not to make an A-list movie. But that is what makes it so good, if you are like me and take great pleasure in low budget movies. The cast is lovable, and their poor, often melodramatic, acting works in such harmony with the lousy script it's hard not to be entertained.

This movie has been treated harshly in reviews, and although I can't lie and say it was really a good movie, I still wish to give it a tribute. I honestly love watching this movie, because even though it is a crappy movie, it's bad in all the right ways that brighten my mood. I have never experienced this kind of satisfaction from any other low budget film. Only a few others even come close.

The plot synopsis on IMDB states, "A pilot is the only hope to stop the mutiny of a spacecraft by its security crew, who plot to sell the crew of the ship into slavery." But this doesn't do Space Mutiny justice.

I would say,

"A rogue pilot and his love interest are the only hope when the security commander of a generation spaceship insights a mutiny, plotting to sell the entire colony into slavery."

It sounds like a pretty good plot, doesn't it? With a proper budget, a well-written script,  a-list actors, and a more compelling title, Space Mutiny might have been as good as Star Wars. Okay, maybe not. But it might have been as good as a Star Trek.

High expectations will ruin your enjoyment of the film. Throw all expectations in the trash and just enjoy it for what it is.

"What people do not seem to understand is that the movie was meant to be a spoof on sci-fi films." — Cisse Cameron, "Dr. Lea Jansen"

And indeed it does, in a way, come across as a spoof of not just good sci-fi, but also bad sci-fi. From the cliche lame´ and spandex uniforms (a doctor's uniform that is a revealing leotard with giant silver epaulettes?!) to the special effects adopted from Battlestar Galactica, indeed this film comes across as a parody. Just about every mistake seems to portray science fiction clichés.

But it's not just the Commodor 64s on the bridge of a futuristic generation ship, or the silly sidewalk sweeper-esque security transportation vehicles that would be more believable as equipment belonging to the janitorial department. The campy parody doesn't stop there.

Everybody on board is white, the movie having been filmed in South Africa is the simplest reason. There is only one exception; in the cryogenics freezer is one frozen black man. Where did he come from?

And speaking of stand-outs, where did the people with the American southern and British dialects come from? The people seen in the movie are supposed to be the descendents of those who began this mission to colonize a new world because their old one had been so overcrowded. Is it a fad of the future to affect a fake accent?

The main laser fights take place in the depths of the bowels of the ship which look more like an old factory with sunlight shining through the windows. A cryogenic freezer with bodies hanging in plain sight and the scantily dressed hero and heroine not producing so much as a shiver.

Glaring continuity errors add to the spoofy comedy as props appear like magic. Even a member of the crew, murdered by the villain, somehow resurrects and reappears at her post a few scenes later. Didn't they realize that Jesus had come again as a female lieutenant on their ship, The Southern Sun?

Speaking of murders... with so many murders by the command of Commander Kalgan, head of the Enforcers security team, wouldn't somebody have noticed? How could so many disappearances occur in a family-oriented colony ship? Don't they have role call? Traditional plot hole, perhaps?

The danceclub scene is an utter delight. After having offended the hero, David Ryder, the heroine, Dr. Lea Jansen, attempts to seduce him as a way to make up with him. She performs a silly sexy dance, wearing a revealing ensemble of spandex and lame´ and using a hula hoop as a prop. It seems that the hula hoop is all the rage in the future, as is cheesy 80s style disco-synth music.

What science fiction film isn't complete without sexy space priestesses? Enter: The Bellerians, an order of high priestesses, non-planet based practitioners of magic. These sexy, telepathic witches perform their magic through gyrating dances around plasma balls. They manipulate the events in the shadows, seducing members of the security staff through erotic dreams and encounters.

Aside from the cheap, nonsensical sets, anf toy guns painted silver to become laser guns, the action adds to the spoofy delights. Railing kills and explosions abound. "High speed" floor sweeper chases raise the excitement level. The action is nearly non-stop!

The heroine, played by actress Cisse Cameron has been picked on in the past. But I would like to say I think she is rather lovely. Her lush figure is not diminished by the unflattering futuristic space garb. Her portrayal of Dr. Lea Jansen was amusing and entertaining, despite the awkward and cliché  script.

(Continued on page 2)