Midnight Movie Massacre (1988)

Directed by Mark Stock

Run Time: 85 minutes

Other Titles: ATTACK FROM MARS

PRODUCTION CREDITS: A.K.A. The Perp Walk

Screenplay by: Roger Branit, John Chadwell, David Houston, Wade Williams

Produced by: Wade Williams

Directed by: Mark Stock

CAST:

Robert Clarke

Ann Robinson

And a sorry group of amateurs I won’t shame by printing their names.

A guest review by Sean Ledden

PRELUDE (TO MADNESS)

One day, not too long ago, I innocently came across something called “Attack From Mars” in the Netflix DVD collection. The write up didn’t sound very promising, but it was made in 1988, and had Ann Robinson from the 1954 “War of the Worlds,” and Robert Clarke, from such cheesy goodies as 1959’s “The Hideous Sun Demon.” How nice to give them work! Why not give this camp satire of 1950’s science fiction a try? Why indeed? Why not play golf in a lightning storm or stick your hand down into the garbage disposal?

I wasn’t looking for something so ineptly amateurish, so crudely, cruelly stupid, and so sexually loathsome that it could win a spot in The Monster Shack’s Hall of Infamy, but I had stumbled across it none-the-less. Read, if you dare, about my dark journey of awful discovery, and the terrible price I paid for it. Go oh, read it – I dare you! (Sound of maniacal laughter – with reverb added.)

THE PLOT

The movie opens on a promising note with portentous 1950’s style narration first celebrating man’s exploration of space, than warning us of Mar’s menacing civilization. All accompanied by soothingly familiar images of military installations, V2 rocket tests in the New Mexico desert, and plastic spaceships zooming towards earth. But than the credits start, and some really cheap Casio keyboard theme music, both too cute and annoyingly repetitious, catapults us out of the 50’s and into the horrible future that was the 1980’s.* (Why didn’t they just use some cheap library music from the 50’s to keep the mood?) And now we learn that the movie’s title isn’t “Attack From Mars,” it is:

After the grating noise of the opening theme finally ends, we learn we are about to see a Midnight Movie at the “Granada Theater, 1956.” A radio broadcast gives some helpful foreshadowing when it reports a local UFO sighting coupled with a report of a strange “tuna scented monster” eating a pet poodle. Listening to this report with a sinking heart, I realized this was supposed to be a joke. “Tuna scented” – snicker, snicker! (Something smells here, but it’s not fish.) And fasten your seatbelts everybody, because that’s just the beginning. As a terrible faux-50’s rockabilly number called “Saturday Night” blares over the soundtrack, the hilarity kicks into high gear as a skeevy, middle-aged perv in glasses keeps his hand plastered to the fanny of his buxom date as they walk into the theater. (NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: That’s his wife! Nice to see the Sanctity of Marriage preserved for all on celluloid.) And it’s here, 4 minutes and 50 seconds into the movie that I…

•  Wanted to walk out into heavy traffic.

•  Knew I had hit Monster Shack gold!

In quick succession we meet the other delightful characters that will attend the Midnight Movie. They include:

•  A weird nervous young dork.

•  His date, a Jayne Mansfield parody with freakishly huge fake breasts. Hilarious! (FYI, she’s “Miss. Super Boobs” for the rest of the review.)

•  A Skeevy drunk in a large woolen scarf. (???)

•  Hopeless Dork number 1. He wears glasses, has an overbite, and is fat.

•  Hopeless Dork number 2. He wears glasses, has an overbite, and is skinny. Neither of these guys, I feel it’s safe to assume, have managed to lose their cherry. Rim shot!

•  The careless slob of a projectionist. Who sets the film on fire with his cigar!

•  Lest you think it’s a total freak show, there’s also a cute Bobby Soxer.

•  And her good looking date; complete with tight jeans, T-shirt, and cowboy hat.

Hopeless Dorks, 1 & 2, drool over a poster announcing that a “Sweater Girl From Mars” will be at the showing up in person. Nerd #1 is so excited he breaks out in an extreme sweat and exclaims, “I can’t go in there, I have a boner!” In a rare example of discretion, the movie does not show us said boner.

The repulsive face of sexual desperation.

Much merriment is also made of the humungus amount of popcorn and candy ordered by the skeevy perv’s wife. Greedy pigs are funny! The industrial size carton that holds it all is so big the poor little shrimp can barely carry it! And oh look, more customers. Including an utterly bizarre young couple meant to be, I think, Special Needs versions of Raggedy Ann and Andy. I freely admit to being baffled by their presence.

Back in the lobby the two hopeless Dorks are buying candy when “Mr. Boner” sees the Sweater Girl From Mars on the stairs leading up to the balcony. She silently vamps a come hither pose while he sweats some more and exclaims – “ I bet she has nipples as big as flapjacks!” Before she mysteriously disappears.

I think we should stop for a moment here to confront the grim truth about the men who made this movie. There apparently were….

•  Cases of arrested development.

•  Stoned on pot when they wrote the script.

In the theater the general atmosphere of freakish horror continues as the Cowboy secretly slips some booze into the Bobby Soxer’s soda pop, and then asks her for some “sugar.” We then get the closet thing to characterization, and dignity, this part of this film has to offer when she brushes him off and calls him, contemptuously, a “college man.” Good for her – but why is she going out with a guy she can’t stand? Oh never mind. The hopeless Dorks are walking to their seats, and Dork #1 is sporting a big, fat boner! So much for discretion, and oh, my aching sides!

Did I really have to show this? Yes – because watching this movie makes me hate the human race!

In the auditorium a “Warning To Vandals And Hoodlums!” begins to play on the screen as 3 of The Fonze’s** cousins strut inside. “ Oh boy, this should be good! ” I think with something that feels like despair. Special Needs “Raggedy Ann” suffers facial spasms as the plea for good behavior scrolls across the screen. (Why? Why??) While in the back row our 3 adorable hoods start squabbling and ripping up the seats. POINTLESS EXISTENTIAL QUESTION: If the CIA had kidnapped Fellini, and forced him to live in a southern California suburb, is this what he would dream at night; sweat pouring from his forehead, mouth twisted into a silent scream?

And the movie hasn’t even started yet!

On to “Prevues of Coming Attractions” courtesy of some charming period animation, and a trailer for “Cat-Women of the Moon.” It’s all great fun, yet “Attack From Mars” makes it seem dirty and stupid by intercutting it with shots of Miss Super Boobs, the 3 sex-crazed hoodlums oogling said Boobs, and the food-crazed “Fat” wife stuffing her face. Can I admit to you that I already hate this movie?

Oh well, we’re onto an old fashioned serial – “Space Patrol: Guardians of the Universe.” Chapter 2 – “Back From The Future.” Our portentous 1950’s narrator is back, and he introduces a very large cast of characters, including Colonel Carlyle (Robert Clarke), Dr. Syliva Van Buren (Ann Robinson, sporting the same name she had in War of the Worlds!), “womanizer” Commander Cory, and Carol, the winner of the Miss Guided Missile Pageant and shown holding a banana. (Oh God – that’s hilarious!) OK, OK, Miss Guided Missile Pageant. That pretty good. Another rare flash of wit comes when introducing the villain, Dr. Bacarratti. He’s “ A brilliant, greedy, time-warped inventor, former child star and slum-lord .”

But its quickly back to business as usual as – get ready! – “ Probing devices were penetrating Uranus to crack its dark and hidden interior .”

And now a moment of silence………….because if you stick with this movie (and this review, I guess) you’ll have to bend over and take a lot more of this treatment. And you’ll have to take it like a man! – Rim shot! (And no, there’s no dignity to be had anywhere in this review. Just like the movie.)

Before Space Patrol begins in earnest, I’ll comment on one of the worst sins of this movie – which is that it constantly cuts to agonizingly long takes of the spastic, regressive, sex crazed and/or gluttonous audience members sneezing, eating, kissing, drinking, farting, fondling one another, or simply making faces at the screen. This makes it impossible to get into the Space Patrol story, which is a shame, because Space Patrol, horrible as it is, is the better half. During this review I have no intention of faithfully following “Attack From Mars’s” lead by mentioning every idiotic interruption. I’ll just mention the most egregious examples, like 20 cut-a-ways to a prissy young lady in pigtails sneeze, and sneeze, and sneeze, and sneeze.

Finally she lets go a really big one, and we see a big string of snot trailing from her nose. In-cre-da-ble!

Did I really have to show this? Yes – because watching this movie makes me hate the human race!

OK – Space Patrol. Chapter Two. Back From The Future! We are aboard a large space liner when the evil Dr. Bacarratti kills an innocent sentry to gain access some sort of forbidden area. He steals a living brain inside a plastic globe and then leaves the space liner by hijacking a flying saucer.

The giant Spermo-Space-Liner. Why is it shaped like a giant sperm? No reason! (May the Gods of Comedy nail the assholes that couldn’t “come” up with a potent punch line, thereby handing us a limp and useless joke! – Here, you take it, I need to wash my hands.)

As this is happening Colonel Carlyle and Dr. Van Buren are at a table having dinner with their shipmates, making small talk about how everything is possible in their far future age. While the dialogue is bland, I’m very glad to see Ann Robinson looking fabulous, 30 years after her “War Of The Worlds” appearance, and having a blast in front of the cameras. As for Robert Clarke, he does a very decent imitation of Lorne Greene, ala “Battle Star Galactica,” as he introduces the main plot point – namely, a new invention that will allow them “to go beyond the time barrier.” (GEEK NOTE: “Beyond the Time Barrier” is the title of a 1960 movie Robert produced and starred in.)

The lovely Ann Robinson is having a blast!

But Robert Clarke’s air of secret sadness implies he knows what kind of movie he’s appearing in.

Dr. Van Buren explains that historical UFO sightings are indications the new time travel project will succeed. But even as she proposes a toast to Dr. Bacarrati, “the man who conquered time,” word of the nefarious doctor’s evil deed reaches their table in the form of Commander Cody, who takes the Colonel aside to tell him about the highjack, and that the TD1 has returned, but with no one on board.

Perhaps, Colonel Carlyle speculates, the Evil Doctor wants to tamper with history. (If so, he already did it – oh, never mind.) Worried, and who wouldn’t be – he assigns Commander Cody to head a rescue mission. Accompanied by Miss Guided Missile herself. ( Rim shot! ) Commander Cody, appalled at her stupidity, protests. But he’s over-ruled, and I’m going to make a wild guess that her fabulous breasts will win him over in the end. The men who made this movie like women’s breasts. They like them very, very much. (Just saying.)

OK – hold your nose, because we’re going to go back to the Granada Theater where the cowboy pulls this line on his now unknowingly drunk date, “Oh darling, my old one-eyed muff torpedo wants to go to tuna land tonight.” ….. Wow. What woman could resist such a delicious invitation? After the sweaty boner and the string of snot, I thought we’d hit bottom, but no. Far from being a comedy, this movie is a chamber of horrors.

Speaking of which, the other main story thread finally takes off, or lands, with the arrival of the Martian space ship behind the theater. We get some “Monster-View-Cam” shots as a hostile beggar is quickly murdered off screen. Then the hapless woman at the box office is brutally murdered. This time we see lots of fake blood spattering all over the ticket booth. The hilarity continues with a quick cut to the 3 hoods feeling up the super boobs of Miss. Super Boobs, while her oblivious date watches the movie. What a dork! This movie has contempt for everybody!

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Exactly, she’s over-dressed for a Midnight Movie Massacre!

Back on the Spermo-Space Liner, the Colonel and Dr. Van Buren are briefing the rescue mission crew: Commander Cory, Cadet “Happy” and Carol. Seems they’ve discovered that while Dr. B was back in 1947 he married an “exotic interpretive” dancer named Tanga and started his own mining business. (Mining business?)

On board the TD1 the three attractive mannequins who play our rescue crew meet the same bubble brain we saw earlier. It now becomes clear that this brain is what pilots the ship. As the crew politely introduce themselves, we can’t help but notice that the robotic biomechanical brain has more personality than all three of them combined. (“They call me Happy,” says “Happy” in a lifeless monotone.) The TD1 blasts off, and while the two male crewmembers grimace at the high G forces that rip through their bodies, Carol seems to be heading towards an orgasm. “ Who needs men? They smell bad, watch too much television, and expect you to cook for them.” She could be thinking. Which makes space travel a form of Women’s Liberation. But what about the guys? Don’t we get to “get off” when we take off?

To “cut” the “sexual” “tension” of that scene, we get some sophisticated fart humor (ha ha) as the skeevy drunk lets one rip right behind Raggedy Ann & Andy. And oh God – here’s another huge bugger from the prim young lady with a cold. The entire world comes to a stop as the camera sits there and watches her give it a long, close examination before daintily tossing it down to the floor. – Do you, dear reader, have a mortal enemy? Someone you long to see suffer? Suffer to the point of madness? Force them to watch this movie and your deepest, darkest, most troubling wishes will be granted.

Back to the Space Rangers – where now, in 1947, yet another teen couple are necking in a car while a skeevy old man (sigh) in a pith helmet (?) watches them with binoculars. (Sigh.) It’s supposed to be 1947, but a cheap rip-off of the late 50’s hit, “A Summer Place” plays on the soundtrack. Just as in the movie theater, we get another charmingly nostalgic scene where the boy tries to get the girl drunk so he can screw her. Let’s listen in:

Her: “Hey, stop silly.”

Him: “What did you bring me up here for?”

Her: “To look at the stars.”

Him: “Stars! I can see stars in my backyard. Want a beer?”

Her: “Alcohol lowers one’s resistance in certain situations. Besides, I hardly know you.”

Him: “Come on baby, we’re wasting time. Why don’t you take off that sweater?”

Her: “Ach, you’re so horny. You just don’t stop.”

Him: “Hey, what’s wrong with me??”

What’s wrong with you sir, is that you are not her dumb, violent steady, Ralph. She goes on to explain that he’s currently competing in the state Judo championships. Oh, and even though she’s “happy” you asked her out, she has no intention of putting out on the first date.

The men in this movie are all so crude, sleazy, stupid and sex-crazed I’m beginning to believe this is a radical feminist manifesto camouflaged as a “regular guy” comedy. On the other hand, it could also be an angry male complaint that all those “nice girls” are actually sadistic cock-teases who only pretend to be stupid. Either way, the heterosexual dating lifestyle never looked so bleakly hopeless – outside of a Jean Luc Goddard movie, that is. (“ Breathless” anyone? How about some “ Contempt” ?)

Alas, this current Battle of the Sexes is interrupted by the arrival of the TD1 – which has just come BACK FROM THE FUTURE! At the same time the noisy spacecraft disturbs the sleep of a young boy who is, thankfully, in bed, and not spying on the necking couple like the skeevy pith helmet perv. Once on the ground the Brain Pilot Thing warns the 3 attractive mannequins that there are several “intruders” in the perimeter. Thinking quickly, our geniuses from the future don freaky face-covering helmets and go out to meet the freaked out citizens of 1947. Let’s listen in!

Freaky Foil Covered Space Man: “We come in peace and friendship.”

Freaked Out Human Male: “Where do you come from?”

Freaky Foil Covered Space Man: “Where do you think? Outer space!”

Way to put the locals at ease, Freaky Foil Covered Space Man!

Stupid white people, both past and future, enact a Mexican Standoff.

Perhaps our nitwits from the future must keep their time-traveling identities a secret? Well, if so, the script didn’t bother to mention it. If it originally did, perhaps it ended up on the cutting room floor, axed in favor of more fart, snot, and date-rape humor. At least I don’t think it was mentioned in the script… And here I have a guilty secret to confess. I’m not watching this movie in one sitting. It’s so radioactively bad I’m watching it in small stages in order to limit the brain damage. In between viewings I’m giving myself several days of rest so that my tissues can better absorb and process the deadly toxins that this movie perversely calls “jokes.” Even worse, despite these precautions I think I slipped in and out of consciousness during some of my viewing sessions. What I’m trying to say is, I can’t be 100% sure they didn’t mention some desperate need to pretend to be aliens.

What’s that you said? I could rewind and see if they mentioned the need to hide their identity from the idiotic primitives of 1947? – Ha ha ha. Haaa Ha Haa Ha . HA HAA HAA HAAA HAAAA HAAAA!!!!

(Three Days Later.)

Sorry about that. I’m better now. Really. Now where were we? Let’s see, I’m checking my video player to find the Mexican Standoff – ah, here it is. OK, so that means we are… ONLY HALFWAY THROUGH THE MOVIE?!?!?!?!?!?

Me, when I find that we are only halfway through Attack From Mars. (With a tip of my propeller beanie to James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, and David Cronenberg.)

(One Month Later.)

Hey everyone, I’m back. Again! And again, sorry for the delay. But before I return to the movie I’d just like to thank the fine folks at the Sunnyside Park Rest Home for the Mentally Disturbed, as well as New York State’s quasi-European style of semi-socialized medicine. Not only did it give me a chance to get back on my feet, it gave me a renewed appreciation for Olivia de Havilland’s performance in “The Snake Pit”. (She nailed it!) And here’s a special shout out to my own “miracle worker,” Dr. Alan Murgatroyd. He’s the one who convinced me I should finish this review because I needed to “face my demons.” Perhaps he expressed it best when, one day during art therapy class where I was working on a finger paint rendition of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, he said, “You know Sean, the only way around it, is through it.”

OK, so Mexican Stand Off here I come! OK. Found it. I’m pushing the play button – aaaaand – the freaky foil covered space people are demanding that the “earthlings” take off their clothes – the girl first. Snicker, snicker . As she frets this will ruin her reputation the cowboy in the audience slips more booze into his date’s drink and asks, “How about a little stink on the dink darling?”

(One Week Later)

I’m OK everyone, so no need to worry. I just took a little break to try and scrub the imagery of that last joke from my brain. At the same time, knowing how important it is to finish the recap of a Monster Shack review I cast about for some alternative solutions. Inspiration came and I contacted the NIH to see if any of the research chimps that were recently freed from the laboratories would be available to finish this review. The initial interest of the NIH came to an abrupt halt when I sent them a sample clip from Attack From Mars. (Why didn’t I send something from “Bedtime For Bonzo,” why?) At any rate, I won’t repeat the names they called me after they saw the clip, and upon reflection I realize I deserve every one of them. Surely, those research chimps have already suffered enough.

OK – it’s back to the movie for me! Ready to “face my demons!” And so, with trembling hands and sweaty fingers I press “play.” We see a cute little boy sucking on a lolly-pop as he sits between mom & dad. Hey, that’s not so bad! Then the sweater girl from Mars is back. (My cheek starts to twitch.) “My dick is harder than Chinese arithmetic,” gushes Sweaty Dork Number 1. Oddly, this joke is so pathetic it helps steady my otherwise shredded nerves. It also helps that we cut immediately to another horrible, bloody, gruesome and senseless murder by the Martian. When did I start to feel grateful for these interludes? Oh, and this time it’s the theater manager that gets slaughtered. FYI.

We see that cute little boy again, and he wonders away from his stupid parents as up on the screen the 3 idiots from the future now appear dressed in 1947 clothing. They then demand that the half-dressed locals tell them how to get into town. So – I guess all that nonsense with the weird helmets was as pointless as the rest of the movie. Surprise! And in another surprise, the ice queen who spent the last scene fighting off her horny date, now tries to turn a driving lesson for Commander Corey into an opportunity for seduction. She looks like she’d like to boink him right there in the front seat, with the others watching, as she tosses out this come-on, “How about one little kiss? Something I could tell my grandkids about?” What? What?!?

She gives him a big smooch, but it’s hard to say if he likes it because Commander Corey is a total zero played by an actor on Thorazine. (They probably had to shoot him up so he wouldn’t escape from the set.) At any rate, our schizo-girl apparently loves blank faced zombie-men, and as our idiots drive off into town she tries one more time with this – “ If you find the town a little dull, just remember my phone number. Butterfield 8 – 4409.” And with this reference to the hooker famously played by Elizabeth Taylor, we get another peak into the dark sexual issues of our moviemakers.

But enough comedy, let’s have some twisted psycho-drama! For bango – our little lolly-pop boy is wandering down a hallway to the theater manager’s office. (Why? Why?!?!?) Is he murdered too? No. Amazingly, the filmmakers chose not to go there. But what follows is in some ways even worse. And worse in a pointlessly bizarre way.

Lolly-pop boy (we don’t know his name, or anything about him) goes into the manager’s office and sees his bloody, dismembered corpse. As a plangent love ballad (that does NOT sound like anything from 1956) plays on the radio, lolly-pop boy puts his candy down into the mess of human guts and Martian drool that covers the manager’s desk, so that HE CAN BETTER PICK UP THE MAN’S GOUGED OUT EYEBALL. As he calmly examines this interesting item we see Shirley Temple’s photo up on the blood spattered wall. Back to lolly-pop boy, who PUTS THE BLOOD AND GOO COVERED LOLLY-POP BACK IN HIS MOUTH. Then he calmly walks out and meets his parents. The happy family leaves the theater with some snarky remarks about how terrible the “Space Rangers” is.

What the Hell is wrong with the people who made this movie?

And what the fucking hell is going on here?!? (Please excuse my French, and sorry for all of the exclamation marks, but really, what else is there to do?!?!?!?!) The sad but sexy love ballad on the radio makes me think “Attack From Mars” is attempting to say something deep. But what? The only interpretation that makes sense to me is that this is the birth of a future serial killer. (Here’s a memo for the girls – DON’T go out on a date with this guy and then refuse to put out. In fact, don’t have anything to do with him at all. And that goes for the boys as well. And midgets. And carny workers. And gerbils.)

“Attack From Mars’” touching tribute to the lost innocence of childhood.

Back in the theater the “fat lady” buries her head in the popcorn barrel while we hear pig sounds. I’d be outraged at this latest offense, except I’m still dumbfounded by the weird horror of the previous scene. In fact, I barely notice when we get still more sneezing from little Miss Priss.

Oink, oink, oink! Yuk, yuk, yuk!

Let’s get back to the Space Rangers movie where our 3 idiots have entered an old-timey Burlesque House. As the showgirls prance about on-stage Carol And Commander Corey are easily knocked out by a shadowy figure (it’s Dr. B, of course) who then puts them into the trunk of his car.

A little date rape humor for Carol!

And some (more?) brain damage for Commander Cory!

Meanwhile, Happy sneaks into the dressing room of Tonga, the “star” of the Burlesque review, and we are treated to another scene where a sex-starved female tries to seduce a tranquilized man.

Tonga (in a nails on chalkboard “Brooklyn” accent):

I’m like Marilyn Monroe. Didn’t ya see “Niagara?” (Pronouced “nyi-AAAG-ga-ra”)

Happy (in a dead monotone):

“No, I’m a scientist. I don’t see movies.”

Tonga:

Oooh, I just love scientists! (Facial convulsions)

Happy: (In the same dead monotone)

Miss Tonga, science is what brought me here.

Um, OK. And by the way, is Happy really a first generation Cylon? No, I think not. Cylon’s have more personality. At any rate, we now get some gender-reversed date rape humor as Tonga starts slobbering all over Happy’s unresponsive face. You go girl!

Is this as good as it gets? In the dark universe of “Attack From Mars,” yes.

FYI – More sneezing from Little Miss Priss! Now I’m thinking the moviemakers weren’t smoking pot, they were sniffing glue.

While all the shenanigans are going on at the Burlesque House our intrepid, golly-gee whiz-bang boy hero “Sonny” drives himself to the deserted space ship and introduces himself to the Brain Pilot Thing. The Brain Pilot Thing promptly gives him a vague warning that somehow the 3 idiots are in danger. (When would 3 sedated idiots NOT be in danger?) Why didn’t the Brain Pilot Thing, who witnessed the original spaceship hijacking, tell this to the 3 idiots? And/or, how come the Brain Pilot Thing NOW understands that Dr. B is dangerous? Oh, never mind. Sonny enthusiastically drives off to find them. Being a clever boy he knows one should never ignore warnings from Brain Pilot Things, and he arrives at the Burlesque House in time to see Tonga drive off with Happy. She’s agreed to take him to meet Dr. B, and Sonny follows.

Back in the (sigh) theater, our dark comic night of the soul continues when Raggedy Anne, Raggedy Andy, and the skeevy drunk form a weird little three-some. The drunk is now sitting in the middle of the other two, who are too stupid to notice. This affords the opportunity of much “funny” kissing back and forth before everybody ends up on the floor. (BTW – EEEEEEEEK!)

“Ship of Fools” meets “Village of the Damned” meets “The Last Picture Show.”

And we have more Sneezing. More breast fondling. More piggish popcorn eating. Oh, here’s something new! The now plastered Bobby Soxer has just run out of Coke. What will she do?

“Attack From Mars” is brave enough to ask, “How far will an intoxicated Bobby Soxer go to slurp bottled booze with a stray?”

And we are back to more sneezing, more sneezing, more sneezing. Oh my God, another huge booger?!?!?!

Guess what that is dangling from the ceiling? Hint: Little Miss Priss is sitting up in the balcony.

Are you dying to know what happens? No? Well, I’ll tell you anyway. After ignoring Miss. Super Boobs all evening, her date notices the Drama of The Dangling Booger. Captivated, he goes over to little Miss. Priss and HELPS HER PULL THE SLIMY MONSTROSITY BACK UP TO THE BALCONY.

I…I….I…

(A tip of my dented propeller beanie to a certain aquatic member of the Spongiidae family!)

You’ll have to excuse me for a couple of minutes while I go throw up.

There, that’s better! Back to “Space Patrol.” (Sigh) After arriving at the caves, of Dr. B’s “mining business” I suppose, Tonga confronts Sonny. What does the little whipper-snapper do? Why, pull out a gun and declare – “Open the trunk or I’ll blast your tits off!” It’s nice to know that while Sonny is too young to date, he’s old enough to harbor a deep hostility towards female sexuality. Isn’t that cute?

The Battle of the Sexes, Part XIII. A.K.A. The Potty Mouth And The Floozie.

Poor stupid Happy, apparently unaware that his shipmates have disappeared, mumbles (in a dead monotone, of course) “Hey. What’s happening?” But before anything else further confuses the poor man Dr. B pops out of nowhere and knocks him out with more ether. This gives Tonga her chance to take out Sonny. – Year’s later, whenever Sonny beat his wife, he would remember this moment and think, “She’s got it coming. They all do!”

And – after a stupid false alarm we get another horrible murder back in the theater. It’s the concession stand girl, and there’s a lovely shot of her blood spurting over the white, buttery popcorn. Such artistry! Up in the balcony the 3 hoods start ripping off, and sniffing, Miss Super Boob’s under-things (yikes). Down in the orchestra the Cowboy reaches into the blouse of his date and discovers her horrible, terrible, shameful secret. She’s padded her bra! “ Well shit, if that don’t beat all!” And after he went to all the trouble of getting her drunk too!

Oh God, let’s got back to the movie. (Sigh.) Sonny regains consciousness, which means Tonga didn’t do a very good job of taking him out. – Years later, after Dr. B left her and she was forced to make do by running an orphanage, she would think back to when it first started to go all wrong. That’s when she started beating the children, thinking, “They deserve it – all of them!”

But let’s return to 1947, where Sonny threatens to interrupt Dr. B’s plan to remove the brains of our 3 nitwits. (They have brains?) He must be stopped! And so Dr. B calls on his small army of “automatrons” and orders them to tear him apart!

The Automatrons, the only really fun things in the movie. According to the credits, they are played by “The North Kansas City Marching Band!”

The dread army of giant tin cans plods after Sonny. Fortunately for him they are just as stupid and incompetent as everyone else in the movie, so he manages to escape and even to free Commander Corey before running off again. The Tin Cans’ response is to turn on a car radio and start to dance. – Sounds reasonable to me!

But while the desperate battle between Sonny and the Tin Cans plays out on screen, the gentlemen behind “Attack From Mars” want us to know they’d never take anything as stupid and childish as “Space Rangers” seriously. So they show us a bunch of audience members yawning during the big action climax. And so, having trashed their own satire and insulted a charming genre, the gentlemen behind “Attack From Mars” return to the things they do take seriously, like the next bloody Martian murder. This time it’s the projectionist. We also have the return of the sweaty dork’s masturbatory dream girl. This time she’s totally neked! “Awww – my mammoth mammaried love monkey. You have returned!” he sighs, before leaving his seat and disappearing with her into a strange pink glow.

Some cheesecake for cheesecake lovers! She’s not neked because this is a PG-13 web site. (Don’t blame me!)

The psycho-sexual horror continues when we return to the Cowboy – Bobby Soxer date. You may remember he just discovered she’s flat chested. (You just can’t trust women!) But he’s more broad-minded than I gave him credit for because he’s still willing to get her “stink” on his “dink.” What a guy! – Uh oh. Now she tells him she’s experiencing “ the curse, my period .” So no playing house tonight, I guess. This is too much for our good man, and he lets loose with “You’ve got the curse? The curse is on me! You’ve got more periods than a stock of dime store novels. Jesus Christ, you bleed more than a hemophiliac in a briar patch!” Wait, isn’t this is first date? Oh, never mind. I guess women are all the same, so it doesn’t matter which one you insult. Yuk yuk . This movie is turning into a promotional video for lesbianism.

Men, would YOU date this guy? Neither would I. And I like cowboy hats.

The Cowboy stomps off in disgust, and I would think that’s a good thing, but the Boxer Soxer breaks out into tears. I guess because ( SOB ) now she’ll never ( SOB ) get her ( SOB ) stink on his ( SOB ) dink. Oh wait, that wasn’t going to happen because of “the curse.” I guess she’s crying because ( SOB ) now she doesn’t ( SOB ) have a horny ( SOB ) asshole ( SOB ) trying to ( SOB ) get into her ( SOB ) skirt anymore.

Outside the cowboy reaches his car when he is in turn murdered by the Martian. This leads me to the reluctant conclusion that maybe, just maybe, the gentlemen behind “Attack From Mars” know he’s been acting like a cad the whole evening.

Back to (sigh) “Space Rangers.” Sonny has managed to make it into town, but Dr. B, Tonga, and the Tin Cans catch up to him outside of yet another movie theater. Wait, here come the 3 Nitwits: Commander Corey, Carol, and Happy. Sonny is saved! No, he’s not! The 3 Nitwits, with the look of hypnotized zombies (?), join Tonga and Dr. B as they all pull out machetes and advance toward Sonny, intent on chopping him into little pieces. And – “The End” of tonight’s episode. Hurray for cliffhangers! Make sure to come back for next week’s episode “Up To Uranus.” (Boooooo!)

With “Space Rangers” over for the night, the sad, strange collection of freaks and losers left alive inside the theater start pairing up in weird ways and making for the exits. Raggedy Ann goes off with the Skeevy Drunk (!?!), Miss Super Boob’s date desserts her for the snot girl (!?!?!?), and of course sweaty Dork Number 1 has already left with his masturbation fantasy, I mean dream girl. (I’d find Dork Number 1 tragic if he wasn’t so repulsive.)

A happy ending for Dork #1. Or, could he be trapped – like a bug in amber – in the instant before he actually touches her? Forever, and ever, and ever, and ever…?

The Bobby Soxer, drunk, sad, and abandoned, takes a little too long to leave, and you’ll never guess who drops down behind her……..

Hey everyone, it’s Marvin The Meaninglessly Murderous Martian Maniac!

She manages to fend the fiend off in a poorly edited sequence, but then the Martian gets the upper hand. Only to be foiled by the “Fat” Lady who, being an insanely compulsive glutton, lunges at it and eats it!

Martian greens make the perfect compliment to popcorn, Pepsie, Milk Duds, Jujubes, Milky Ways, Jaw Breakers, Butterfingers, tootsie rolls…

Well, it’s been quite a night for our Bobby Soxer, and though she’s alive, she’s still alone, with no man of her own. Which as all we know, is worse than getting raped on a first date. (Hey look, at least he finds you attractive!) But wait, here comes Dork Number 2! Picking her up off the floor he symbolically becomes attractive when she throws away his wretched glasses. Well, it’s not the most bizarre pairing of the evening, so good luck to you kids! And off he carries her into the Heavenly light of the blood-spattered lobby. Hopefully never to be heard from again.

Yes, go into the light. Please. GO INTO THE LIGHT!

And so, having endured almost 90 minutes of brutal horror (I’m talking about the jokes, not the murders) it is with a sense of triumphant relief that I hear the final words from our narrator: “Thus our world was saved. Not by atomic warfare, but by the appetite of a 300 pound suburban housewife. The Martians, realizing that cannibalism is rampant on Earth, are looking at other worlds in which to conquer. Mankind is safe! At least for the present.”

Hmmm. Since when has atomic warfare ever been mankind’s savior? And I’d also like to point out that if an Earthling eats a Martian, IT’S NOT CANNIBALISM!!! Sheesh. Couldn’t the Boozos who wrote this get anything right?

Answer: No.

Sean Ledden (August 2013)

Afterthoughts

While technically a satire and homage to 1950’s science fiction matinees, Attack From Mars is saturated with the brutal vulgarity of late 80’s pop culture trash. Take one part “Porky’s,” one part “Friday The 13 th Part V,” put into a blender, puree with healthy doses of incompetence and contempt for the audience, and voila! At least this movie did nothing to insult Robert Clarke and Ann Robinson. And I have to admit it didn’t insult gay people either, which kind of surprises me. Foil covered time-travelers, 300 pound women, sweaty sex-crazed dorks, date rapists, cock-teases, murderously psychotic Martians, horny Burlesque queens, perky can-do boy scouts, future serial killers, slightly effeminate mad scientists, and busty masturbation fantasies, on the other hand, all have just cause to be deeply offended.

In short, this is not just another terrible movie, this is a crime against humanity. A gross, sweaty, stupid, sex-crazed and violent humanity, but humanity never-the-less. Roger Branit, John Chadwell, David Houston, Wade Williams, and Mark Stock should be denounced on the floor of the United Nations, and put on trial at The Hague. I’ll be approaching Amnesty International soon to help me start a campaign to bring these miscreants to justice – so please be ready to sign our petition!

Don’t worry, the doctors expect a full recovery – in addition to therapy and medication, they’ve put me on a strict diet of movies by Sturges, Hawk, Honda, Pal, Hitchcock, Lucas, Miyazaki, etc. (Oh, and Mike “Working Girl” Nichols, of course.) ***

* For all of you fans of the 1980’s, let me hasten to add that I’m exaggerating for comic effect. – Juuuuuust a little.

** Please research the mid-Paleolithic era TV show “Happy Days.”

*** A special thanks to the wonderful photo blog, Bad Postcards.

Read more about Midnight Movie Massacre at

IMDB

7 comments to Midnight Movie Massacre (1988)

  • Guts3d

    FYI – More sneezing from Little Miss Priss! Now I’m thinking the moviemakers weren’t smoking pot, they were sniffing glue.

    Or perhaps smoking bath salts?

    Niiiice review, Sean! You really seem to suffer for your art. It sounds as though you really need some heavy duty painkillers yourself! Just a thought, after “Battlefield Earth” I
    briefly thought about the whole hand down the garbage disposal escape via pain, but don’t do it, or everyone will call you “Lefty”!

  • Sean

    Actually, they’d call me “Righty!” And I’m glad you weren’t defeated by “Battlefield Earth.” Guilty confession here – I have yet to see it. I’m saving it for a special occasion. Like the arrival of the Borg Collection here on earth. (Could “Battlefield Earth” and “Midnight Movie Massacre” be weapons against a Borg takeover???)

  • Guts3d

    Hmmmm… I wonder if you might have a point there, in H.G. Well’s “War of the Worlds” the Martians were defeated by Earthly microbes that they had no defenses against, could bad movies be our second line of defense? Remember in MST3K, Dr. Forrester planned to use bad movies to weaken the humans and take over the world as well!

  • Sean

    Exactly!!!

  • Charity Case / Mark Coleman

    I am that “fat lady” and while not a good movie, I had a ball…

  • Guts3d

    How did the Martian taste?

  • Sean

    Dear Fat Lady – Glad to hear it! Have you sung yet? (FYI – Reference to old joke.) As per Guts3d, recipes for Martians appreciated.

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