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John’s Horror Corner: The Dark Side of the Moon (1990), a Sci-Horror linking the Bermuda Triangle to a Hell-touched spaceship.

March 10, 2020

MY CALL: If someone who loved Prince of Darkness (1987) made a progenitor film of Event Horizon (1997) but didn’t have the budget to do half of what you know they wanted—that would be this film. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Dark Side of the Moon: The best double-feature suggestion I have for this would not be Moontrap (1989)—which was released a year prior and also takes place on the dark side of the moon—but Event Horizon (1997), which actually feels like a more modern reimagining of the same story. And Prince of Darkness (1987) is a far more intellectualized and better realized, but still has a very similar feel to it.

Sharing an opening premise strikingly similar to Alien (1979), a satellite maintenance crew accompanied by an attractive android is on a routine space mission in the not too distant future (the year 2022).

The crew includes Flynn (Robert Sampson; Re-Animator, City of the Living Dead, The Arrival, Netherworld), Giles (Will Bledsoe; Alien Nation), Paxton (Joe Turkel; Blade Runner, The Shining), Philip (John Diehl; Stargate, Apartment 1303), Alex (Wendy MacDonald; Mayhem, Blood Frenzy), Dreyfuss (Alan Blumenfeld; Friday the 13th part VI, The Ring), and their android Lesli (Camilla More; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter). Lesli functions more as MUTHUR (Mother from Alien) or HAL than an autonomous Ash/Bishop-type.

After a malfunction renders their spaceship drifting out of contact in the dark side of the moon, they encounter a long-lost NASA spacecraft. Connecting the two ships and boarding the abandoned vessel smacks of Event Horizon (1997). They find more questions than answers as they search the cabins but find none of the crew except for one, hanging in the rafters with her abdominal guts exposed.

This dead astronaut rises from the dead and starts monologuing infernal Prince of Darkness (1987) prattle before killing one of the crewmen with his prehensile guts (like a sloppier version of the autopsy abdominal jaws in The Thing). We don’t see a lot (it’s brief), but what we do see is very gooey and a sort of evil infection subsequently spreads from one crew member to the next. Unfortunately, this is the most exciting part of the entire movie. I kept hoping to see something new or different, or even more of the same with some extra finale flair. But that prayer was left unanswered along with the prayers of this crew.

The set design of the ship interiors is what you’d expect from a low-moderately budgeted Sci-Fi movie from 1990. But the backgrounds of outer space and the spaceship exterior designs were pretty sleek. I was impressed.

His only feature film, D.J. Webster (music video director) struck middle-of-the-road territory. Very interesting concepts and designs, but pacing that’s just not eventful enough to keep me engaged. Not only that, but when the cool stuff is happening, it’s not really as cool or exciting or interesting as you’d hope. The problem is a combination of execution and the generally light special effects. Moreover, many scenes and sets mimic Alien (1979) or Aliens (1986) but then offer none of the payoff of a typical Alien-rip B-movie (e.g., Shocking Dark, Creature).

Despite the film’s gore and action shortcomings, I’m definitely not disappointed. Sure, after that first death scene we all expected the gore and special effects to continue (if not expand)… and quite the opposite occurred. Yet the story and concepts remained enough to keep this Sci-Fi fan pleased. I’m glad I didn’t buy it, but I’m also glad I saw it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. rdfranciswriter permalink
    March 11, 2020 3:31 pm

    Yep. You’re right. Prince of Darkness. I missed that crossreference myself.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      March 11, 2020 6:52 pm

      It helped that I saw and reviewed that not so long ago. It was pretty fresh in my mind.

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