The Day Time Ended (1980)

Title The Day Time Ended

Directed by John "Bud" Cardos (Yes, John "Outlaw of Gor" Carlos…)

Run Time: 79 minutes


Grant: "Steve, you know what this is don’t you?…It’s a Time Space Warp!"

Steve: "I’m not sure I know exactly what that is."

Grant: "I don’t suppose anybody really does."



That is the question that arises time and time again while watching this film; this poor-man’s "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". This…this…puzzling, enigmatic strip of celluloid that I just can’t figure out.

Why, oh why, was this movie ever made?

As glib as it sounds to dismiss a film by saying "things happen, people say things", that’s exactly what happens in this film: Things happen. People say things. Nobody shows any common sense nor initiative; the characters seem to stand around waiting for the next plot event to happen to them.

Oh sure. There is a veneer of a "plot": a triple supernova takes place (took place?) 200 years ago and the cosmic waves or something have finally reached Earth causing earthquakes, flying Vacuum Cleaners from Hell, and brawling monsters that appear or disappear as the film’s budget allows.

Oh, maybe I’m being overly nitpicky. Maybe I’m asking for too much from what amounts to a weekend project for some special effects guys, then again, maybe not.

You can judge for yourself.

this movie? She’s spends half her time trapped in another dimension. Oh, whatever.”);

filmcastrow(“”, “Christopher Mitchum”, “Richard (Christopher Mitchum)”, “Yes, Christopher Mitchum, son to Robert Michum seems to have lucked out in this movie because he spends half the time ‘at work’ and the other half wandering around in the desert with a horse. Christopher has appeared in numerous TV and direct-to-DVD movies over the years, so he certainly appears to be right at home here.”);

filmcastrow(“”, “Scott Kolden”, “Steve (Scott Kolden)”, “Steve, the supposed son of Grant, even though he appears to be about 75 years younger, goes through the motions along with everybody else in order to get through each scene and just plain get it over with. I did note that Scott Kolden appeared in 13 episodes of the incredibly campy (and one of my favorite) 1970’s TV shows, ‘Sigmund and the Sea Monster’, so, dude, kudos for that.”);

filmcastrow(“”, “Natasha Ryan”, “Jenny (Natasha Ryan)”, “Natasha Ryan has appeared in a slew of soaps and made-for-TV movies over the years, and to be honest, she’s a pretty decent actress in this movie. Furthermore, she played the daughter in ‘The Amityville Horror (1979) which is a movie that TOTALLY SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!”);


Open with, surprise!, narration played over stock-footage outer space shots in order to establish the fact that "spacey" things are about to happen. Anyway, as shots of Mars and Jupiter fly by, neither of which plays any role in the film whatsoever, the viewer is treated to a series of rambling comments about the non-sequential nature of time. (And man, I really hate it when they talk about our home planet as the planet "known as Earth"…oh brother…Beer break.)

OK, back from the trip to the fridge just in time to see 3 floating balls of light (UFO’s?) explode into a bunch of sparklers. Yes, this is going to be fun, but wait!, cut to a house in the middle of the desert where a bunch of green cartoony lights are circling around and around the roof. (Why?) I suppose this sort of flying-light display is typical for a triple supernova explosion that took place 200 years ago.

Fake House

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. Just the normal after effects of a super nova.

We next see our aging hero, Grant (Jim Davis) and his son, Richard (Christopher Mitchum) driving to the airport to pick up the rest of the family who are returning from vacation. The car ride naturally provides another opportunity for gobs of exposition, this time in the form of an excited radio announcer who reports on the recent "trinary supernova" that has occurred. (Well, recent as in 200 years ago, but you get the idea.)

After picking up Richard’s wife, Beth, their daughter Jenny, and Steve, Grant’s young son (really, he looks like he’s about 50 years his father’s junior.), from the airport, everybody returns to Grant’s stately manner located in the middle of freakin’ nowhere, i.e., a vacant lot where the film crew was able to throw together a plywood "house" for minimal cost.

Matte job

Château de Grant.

Impressed, aint ya?

Anyway, Beth and Steve are dutifully impressed at the site of Grant’s new house. ("…and it’s all solar powered!" he crows, in a line which you would think was a clumsy plot point, but actually plays no role in the plot at all.).

"Wait ’til you see the present I got for ya," Grant beams as he takes everybody around the back of the plywood house to the plywood stables.

Happy times

Beth and Richard: It’s 1980! And everything is great! hee hee. Do you want to punch him in the face or should I do it?

The aforementioned surprise turns out to be a horse and pony for Steve and Jenny, which isn’t much of a surprise since, after all, they are standing at the stables.

After this legendary Equestrian Gift Giving scene sputters to a close, little Jenny takes her pony around the corner (there’s a lot of "going around the corner" so things can happen without the other characters seeing.) to the horse corral that the film crew hastily set up with 2-by-4’s. To Jenny’s surprise, she discovers a 6-foot tall pyramid, glowing green and making lots of “TRON” noises. (As I mentioned above, the rest of the family has conveniently disappeared from the shot so that the alien artifact is a “secret” for Jenny only. This first contact supposedly establishes a ‘relationship’ between Jenny and the aliens that might have been an interesting plot device had the movie been better written.) In an apparent lack of FX funds, the pyramid magically-off-camera shrinks down to about one inch tall at which time Jenny picks it up and puts it in her pocket.

Alien pyramid Alien pyramid

For some reason, Jenny’s father Richard has to return to work and do some overtime. (Since Christopher Mitchum’s character, Richard, promptly disappears from the movie at this point and doesn’t return until nearly the very end indicates that he had a better agent than the rest of the cast and managed to get the hell out of the movie.) As Richard takes his leave (Lucky bastard!. Man, I envy him.), the rest of the family carries their suitcases inside the house only to discover that that the living room has been ransacked!

“Oh man!”, says Steve, “It looks like some bikers did it!”

Alien vandals

Boy, yeah that makes a lot of sense, bikers are always breaking into people’s homes, tilting pictures on the walls, and tossing pillows on the floor.

“Bikers?” says Gramps.

“Yeah, before we went on vacation I saw some hill climbers,” Steve explains.

Oh. Ok, Steve. Hill climbers. Bikers. I see the connection.

A quick look-see reveals that whoever rummaged the house limited their activities to the living room. (Damned bikers!). Since the movie’s budget allowed only the living room and 1 bedroom to be constructed, Grant simply opens doors to other “rooms”, pokes his head in and says “Whelp, it’s alright in there,” before moving to the next "room".

Brilliant! I love this stuff. It completely reminds me of the scene in Manos where the parents are looking for their missing daughter by simply opening a door and say, “Well, she’s not in here."

After cleaning up the living room, (which required putting pillows back on the sofa and straightening a lamp), Grant and Ana decide to do what anybody else would do after discovering their house ransacked by bikers: barbeque hamburgers. When Jenny goes upstairs to wash (or, as Gramps says:”..warsh”,) her hands, the bathroom light glows green.

HEY! That’s just like the pyramid! Creeeeepy!

Green bathroom light

This fascinating scene also sputters to an end as Jenny washes her hands and returns to the others to eat hamburgers. Will the excitement ever end?! (Man, Spielberg has nothing on this movie!)

Later that night, Grant and Ana go for a midnight stroll through the pitch black desert. Yeah, cozy. A strange glow lights the horizon and out of the darkness comes a pair of cheap CGI spaceships that whooooooooosh over their heads. (Followed by the sound of a thunderclap…huh?)

"Gawd, Ana, we just saw a UFO," Grant sputters with about as much enthusiasm as somebody reacting to an increase in light bulb prices.

After skidaddling back to the house, Grant decides to calm his nerves with a glass of milk while Ana retires to the bedroom. Seeing the oddly undamaged hallway mirror, Ana points out that the mirror is fixed.

"By gawd, you’re right," Grant says.

Wow. The tension of the Mysteriously Repaired Mirror scene. It’s unbearable.

Green kitchen light

Suddenly the kitchen is filled with a green light. (Scary music on the soundtrack tries to convince the viewer that this green light is somehow supposed to be scary.)

Grant looks around, flicks the switch, and the lights return to normal.

You can’t imagine how exciting that was.

"You see," Ana gasps with relief, "it was just that solar-power thing."

Later that night, little Jenny wakes up to go to the bathroom. (The mysterious green light turns on as she stumbles into bathroom, but really, it’s just not so scary anymore.) After returning to bed, dry ice fog snakes in under her door and a thumb-sized alien dude appears from the fog.

Goofy alien Goofy alien

Yep. It’s that bad.

With a whimsical musical number playing in the background, the alien whooooshes around the room, knocks some stuff over, and whooooshes back to Jenny’s bed, all in the wonderful spirit of "Trumpy, you can do STUPID things!" What mirth! What whimsy!

With nary a second glance, the alien does a clumsy pirouette on Jenny’s bedpost and disappears just as the alien’s mother ship (I guess) floats through the open window. (In the IMDB comments for this movie, the mother ship is affectionately referred to as the "Vacuum Cleaner From Hell", a perfect moniker for this lackluster special effect which I will continue to use.) Jenny, now suddenly frightened by the aliens (perhaps because of the abrupt change in the musical score which indicates, once again, that what is happening is scary in case you didn’t get it) hides in the closet while the VCFH extends a pair of car antennae, er, laser guns, and closes in towards the cowering child. (Mwu-ha-ha-ha).

Vacuum cleaner from hell

While Jenny cowers in the closet, the aliens pay a quick visit to Ana and Grant’s bedroom. (Thankfully, everybody was sleeping under the sheets, so I was spared another unwanted shot of Ana in her nightgown.) Understandably startled by the green, clay-mation figure strolling around on her bed sheets, Ana lets out a yell and the little bugger flies back out the door. Grant grabs his pistol off the nightstand (real safe there…grandpa!) and scurries out into the hallway where everybody else has gathered after hearing Ana scream.

"OH MY GAWD! Jenny’s gone!" Beth shouts after peering into the girl’s room. . Sure enough, a frantic search of the house reveals that the Jenny has indeed disappeared. Before anybody can do anything sensible (like call the police, you morons!), an earthquake strikes. (Huh?!) Anyway, a rattle at the front door startles everybody; Grant jerks the gun in its direction without even bothering to check to see if maybe, just maybe, it’s his granddaughter. As you probably expected, the noise at the door was in fact Jenny coming back from somewhere after something happened to her. (In general, the film considers such mundane details as who, what, when, and why as too unimportant to fill the viewer in on.)

"My GAWD! I could of shot her!" Grant grumbles as he shuffles out of the room. (Well, you idiot, stop running around with a pistol when your grandkids are on a visit.)

Jenny explains to her relieved family that she was simply outside playing with her "friends": the aliens. Amazingly, Ana dismissed Jenny’s story despite the fact that she has actually seen a UFO that very night! Nevertheless, Beth insists that they get the hell out of the house at least until morning because of all the strange occurrences that have taken place.

"Where could we go at one o’clock?" Ana retorts.

(Uh, ….how about a freakin’ hotel?!!!)

Good GAWD, people!

In a surprisingly rational decision, Grant agrees to drive everybody into town. As the others dash upstairs to get some clothes on, Grant grabs a flashlight and goes outside to take a look around. A noise from the stable grabs his attention so, ever so carefully, he makes his way inside where the horses have become unruly. Oh, let me try to summarize the action in this scene:

Grant turns on the lights.

A horse whinnies.

The lights flicker.

A horse whinnies.

Grant flicks the light switch up and down.

A horse whinnies.

The lights come back on.

Grant pats a horse on the head.

A horse whinnies.

Cut to next scene.

Please, feel free to catch your breath and let your heart stop racing before continuing with this review.

After donning their clothes, Beth and the others come downstairs only to suddenly hear sound of the the car starting outside.

"Hey dad, isn’t that the car?" Steve asks. (Wow, there’s no slipping one past you, Sherlock.)

Grant tells the women to stay inside while he and Super Detective Steve go out to investigate.

Once outside, Grant and Steve notice that the car is running and the lights are flashing on and off. Wow. Now that’s creepy! The brave men circle around the car, Grant with his pistol in hand (as always), and Steve armed with a rake. (!) Seeing that nobody is sitting inside the car, Grant does the only sensible thing one could do in a situation like this: shout "Well…Je-sus CHRAAAST!" and open the car’s hood.

Little Jenny, meanwhile, smiles and asks her mom if she’s having fun as well.

"No. I think it’s scary," Beth responds.

Realizing that nobody else thinks this is entertaining (especially the viewer), Jenny tells the car to stop "playing around", at which point the car indeed shuts off to everybody’s amazement. Alas, some weird lights come zipping out of the sky and chase the family back inside, dashing their hopes of escaping to the city. (And dashing my hopes of having this movie end anytime soon.)

Meanwhile, Richard, still hard at work doing whatever the hell it is that he does, has become worried after unsuccessfully trying to contact his family on the phone. You see, all the phone lines are down due to the super nova. (Super novas will do that, ya know.) Frustrated, and just plain scared, Richard slams down the phone in disgust, rushes to his car, and burns rubber to get back home and Save The Day.

Back home the VCFH has returned (now with a blue glow for some reason) and chases everybody upstairs.

Vacuum cleaner from hell Bullet

Naturally, Grant can’t resist taking a shot at the thing with his pistol…and being a super advanced race from outer space, the aliens shoot out a red cartoon laser beam and halt the bullet in mid air. The bullet hangs suspended in the light for a gooooooood 10 seconds or so to make sure the viewer can appreciate these awesome special effects. (Hey, Grant, shoot it again while it’s busy with the first bullet. Just a thought.)

OK, where was I…ah, yes. Everybody runs upstairs and takes refuge in the bedroom instead of, oh, I don’t know, running outside, getting in the car, and driving to safety. Once again proving that the aliens are a race, far, far more advanced than us mere humans, the VCFH starts eating away at the bedroom door with a laser, which sloooooooooooooooooowly burns a pencil-sized hole in the half-inch thick balsa wood prop door. Wow. Now that’s impressive.

Vacuum cleaner from hell

After burning, and burning, and burning, the laser stops, the VCFH disappears, and a clap of thunder echoes through the sky. (Oh, good grief; what’s with the thunder?) The result of all this effort? A fist-sized hole in the door and some minor smoke damage. Boy, watch out puny Earthlings!


We break from all this excitement by cutting to yet another exciting scene: Richard driving home from work. (Not to mention the incredible Buying Gas In The Middle of The Night scene! Kudos, gentlemen, kudos!) Anyway, for all his (and our troubles), Richard is buzzed by a pair of UFO’s, which cause him to lose control of his car and crash into a boulder on the side of the road. (A relatively gentle ‘crash’ to be sure since the car was probably rented for the making of this movie.) Instead of doing the sensible thing, like, oh, walking 50 feet back to the road and waiting for a passing car, Richard heads out into the middle of the desert on foot to try and get to Grant’s house.

Back home, Jenny complains that she forgot her doll downstairs in the living room during all the commotion. Steve bravely volunteers to go downstairs and retrieve it, but Grant refuses to let him go downstairs without checking it out first. Quickly poking his head out the bedroom door and glancing left and right convinces him that there couldn’t possibly be any danger in letting Steve go downstairs and get the doll. But of course the VCFH is lurking in the kitchen and shoots a laser beam directly into Steve’s head and kills him. No, just kidding. But that would have been nice, eh? No, we’re forced to tolerate more time with Steve as the VCFH chases him through the front door (why not run back upstairs?) and compels him to take refuge in the stable. (Grant, possibly feeling a tinge of remorse for telling his son that the coast was clear, grabs his gun and runs outside to help him.)

In possibly one of the greatest non-sequitors in film history, 2 huge monsters suddenly appear outside the front door and start fighting! What the hell???!!! Oh, now this is rich!

Monster attack Monster attack

Once again, I’m forced to ask this question:


Like I said, Grant and Steve run off and hide in the stables as Monster 2 bites Monster 1 in the kills him. Her. Whatever.

Meanwhile, Ana and Beth run downstairs to see what all the commotion is about but can’t see what’s going on because the monsters are at the side of the house. (Well, could you maybe find a freakin’ window that looks out over the side of the house then? Sheesh, people! Let’s show a little initiative, shall we?)

Suddenly there’s a knock at the door. And boy, the first time I saw this movie I was really, really hoping that it wasn’t going to be the monster knocking. It just couldn’t be. Nope. NO movie could be that dumb. Right?


Answer the door Answer the door

You know, I put up with a lot of crap from these stupid movies, but this is really pushing it.

Let me get this straight: The monster knocked on the front door? Whaaaaaaaaaat-ever!

Meanwhile, Grant and Steve are saddling up the horse to..what? Ride away? Oh yeah, that’d be much faster then just getting in the car!!! GOD! I hate these guys. Grant, hearing Ana scream back at the house, goes to investigate but the monster smashes his head through the stable door. (Note the puppet pushed through the door is red, has a pointy beak, and bulging yellow eyes, while the stop-motion monster is orange, with a round nose and brown eyes…but hey, who’s going to ever notice something like that?)

Monster head 1 Monster head 2

So, being a mean, mean, space monster, the beast simply sits there with its head stuck in door instead of, oh, pushing in the door and eating everybody. (Please eat Steve! Please eat Steve!)

(Oh, and Mr. Monster, the door is unlocked anyway if you’ll notice that in the second picture above.)

The ever resourceful Grant grabs a pitchfork and sticks it into the monster’s noggin, forcing it back outside to lick its wounds. But, hey, it really doesn’t matter too much because some cartoon lights fly out of the sky, land on its head, and make the monster disappear.(Huh?!)

Sooooooooooooo, enough of the monsters, I guess.

Suddenly, Grant is back inside the house getting Ana. For some reason, the living room is trashed again, oh, and now it’s suddenly daytime. Damned super novas.

Abandoned vehicles

When Grant peers outside the front door he gasps (uttering the usual "Oh…my…GAWD!") at the site of a seemingly endless sprawl of spaceships, airplanes, and highly-advanced extraterrestrial vehicles. (I loved the fact that there’s even a U-Haul rental truck among the alien ships!!! I guess one of the film crew forgot to move it out of the shot.)


Anyway, a bunch of sparklers postproccessed over the scene indicate some sort of time warp is taking place as Grant runs back to the house. Jenny, however, is sucked into another dimension by the aliens (I guess. Who knows.) Beth, desperate to help her daughter, plunges into the lights and is whisked away as well.

(In a lovely gaff, the stage crew constructed a cheap facade of the front of the house for the shot which is just a simple wall, so you can easily see the sky just inside the front door of the "house"…oh dear, oh dear.)

Fake house front

Shocked by the latest turn of events, Grant and Ana go back to the stables to talk to Steve. (Don’t worry about trying to keep track of who is where: Characters seem to show up and disappear willy nilly, depending on whether or not the scene requires them.)

When Grant asks Steve if he’s ok, Steve looks confused because as far as he’s concerned, his father just stepped out the door a few seconds ago.

"Son, I left hours ago," Grant somberly informs him, "you know what this is don’t you?…It’s a Time Space Warp!"

"I’m not sure I know exactly what that is," Steve says.

"I don’t suppose anybody really does," Grant replies.

(If nobody knows what it is, then how the hell do you know what it is?!)

"What about Jenny…and Beth?" Ana stammers.

"The vortex took them," says Grant, the family’s newest Space-Time Warp expert.

Grant continues, "I don’t know what place they’re in. I don’t even know what time they’re in. I don’t know what time we’re in."

Wow. That’s deep, Grant.

Instead of waiting to see if Jenny and Beth return from the other dimension, Grant, Steve, and Ana hop on some horses and set out across the desert.

"What are we going to do about Beth and Jenny?" a concerned Steve queries.

"What are we going to do about any of us?" Ana nonchalantly responds. (Um, well, maybe you could wait at the house and see if your daughter and grandchild return. Sheesh.)

After riding around for a while (with no real destination…so why not just wait at the house?), Steve suddenly notices that there are 2 suns in the sky, something that you’d think somebody would notice right away, but there you have it. As if it is suddenly twice as bright, everybody shields their eyes with their hands even though it’s exactly as brightness as it’s always been. Whatever. (You can almost imagine the director saying, "OK, now pretend it’s really bright…and…ACTION!" it’s so lame.)

Realizing that there’s still about 10 minutes to go before even reaching the pathetic 80 minute mark, we are now treated to seemingly endless padding of people riding horses, shots of a double-suns, lights spinning around the house, and on and on and on. And yes, it’s as exciting as it sounds.

Alien pyramid Beth is back

Suddenly, and actually everything happens "suddenly" in this film, a light flies out of the sky, turns into a blue pyramid, and Beth steps out.


"Beth, you’re all right!" Ana says with relief, "But where’s Jenny?"

"Jenny’s fine," Beth answers in a weird, spaced-out voice, "She’s with Richard."

Yeah, ok, but where the hell is Richard? What’s going on here?

Apparently the aliens have programmed Beth’s mind because she explains in a far-out voice that everything’s going to be fine and that she knows the "way". This all leads to yet another interminable walking-through-the-desert sequence while Jenny spouts on and on about how nice the aliens really are and how they are "warm" and, oh, who cares.

Hey! It’s little Jenny, running down a dirt road to greet them. At this point I’m far, far beyond trying to understand what the hell is happening. Oh, and there’s Richard on top of a nearby hill, so everybody is reunited and the script writers have gotten themselves off the hook.

I guess there was a few bucks left in the special effects budget as we see the happy gang trotting past a green alien pyramid before gazing in wonder out over an alien city that’s popped up out of nowhere. (Maybe it came out of the Space Time Warp.)

Walking around Future city

"You know something, maybe this was all meant to be," Grant waxes philosophic as they march towards the city and start their "new way of life."

And…cue credits.

Yep, that’s it.

Can I have the last 80 minutes of my life back please?

Dennis Grisbeck (November 2009)

12 comments to The Day Time Ended (1980)

  • guts3d

    In possibly one of the greatest non-sequitors in film history, 2 huge monsters suddenly appear outside the front door and start fighting! What the hell???!!! Oh, now this is rich!

    But they are polite monsters who knock before entering a home… Great review, Dennis! I laughed all the way through it.

  • Be sure to see this movie! It’s in the “Tales From The Future” boxed set 🙂

  • Marcy Lafferty is one of William Shatner’s ex-wives. I had no idea she’d made this picture (no doubt after her appearance in Star Trek: The Motion picture where she mechanically chirps “No for-ward mo-men-tum!”). Not sure which performance was the highlight of her career… *snicker* …let alone why on Earth she’d’ve been nominated for any award.

  • I thought this movie was OK, if slightly on plot.Thought the special effects were good, and I liked the interior of the house.

  • Hey Dennis! Hope all is well. When I reviewed this, it was one of only three films where I wrote in big letters “I HATE THIS F*CKING MOVIE”. Seriously, there is absolutely no coherancy in the plot and I honestly thing they built the entire endeavor around whatever the special effects crew were working on at that point. Great review sir!

  • Hi Darksider! Good to see you’re still around and lurking in good health 🙂

    I don’t know if I hated this movie as much as felt sorry for the completely miscast Jim Davis, and the rest of the clueless cast. Still, it was pretty damned bad or else it wouldn’t be gracing this site!

    Take care and let me know of any round tables if they come around.

  • john

    I wonder if that IMDB guy who did the fx also did the aliens from Laserblast??

  • Actually, yes, I think he did. If I’m not mistaken, he also had a cameo part of the first alien-dude to get killed in “Laserblast”.

  • guts3d

    I think I have a copy of this… I’ll have to dig it out.

  • Garit

    ugh….I saw this movie about a month ago (sadly i’m the owner.) and i thought it was HORRIBLE! The whole time i as hoping for Steve to die, (by the way he was more like a card board cut out when it comes to acting.) ANYWAY the monster fight sucked! it was more like watching an ‘Alien slap-fight…to the death! except no fight noises where heard but growling! come on!!! The ending might of been the best or the worst, but either way plain stupid, what kind of ending was that gosh!! Im going to stop ranting now sorry.

  • Hi Garit,
    Don’t worry about ranting too much…it’s what this site thrives on 🙂

  • guts3d

    If you want to review a really lousy movie, try “Highlander 2”. Compared to the original, it found the absolute nadir of crappiness and used that as its quality goal.

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