Friday, July 3, 2009

In short: The Dark Side of the Moon (1990)

The Dark Side of the Moon is a difficult movie to write about. Its plot and sense are elusive, yet it is still strangely compelling.

So, there's this spaceship trundling in the direction of the moon to do something of no import. More or less suddenly, the ship breaks down and it will be only a question of time until the life-support systems will stop working.

Fortunately - and somewhat surprisingly since this type of spacecraft isn't in use anymore - a space shuttle flies by. The crew of our original ship hopes to be able to salvage what they need from the strange vessel to get their own craft running. Turns out the (rather big on the inside) space shuttle is flying without any fuel. It is also deserted but for a dead guy with an inexplicable chest wound hanging from a ceiling.

Obviously, our heroes plunder only a part of what they need from the shuttle and drag the corpse onto their own ship.

A little later, the corpse rises, all yellow-eyed and satanic and presses the head of the only woman around into his sucking chest wound, leading to a possessed woman and later on the inevitable seduction sequence.

There follows a little research on the ship computer (consisting of a typical screen keyboard combination and an android woman whose only function on board is to sit in a chair, stare and talk monotonously - the best use of room in a spacecraft possible, I'm sure) that leads to the fantastic discovery that the shuttle was lost while crashing in the Bermuda Triangle and somehow teleported back into space. Also, the Bermuda Triangle somehow represents the number "666". Okay.

Then there's more demonic possession stuff, the least credible medical officer in SF history, said seduction scene with !surprise victim, a paranoia angle that doesn't make any sense, more going back between the shuttle and the ship to get some kind of device they probably should have bothered to get a little earlier, a missile platform and a big explosion. The End.

Honestly, I couldn't make heads or tails out of this one. Although an American film, Dark Side is a shoddy, weird piece of crap made out of cardboard sets, affectless acting, mumbling, and an inscrutable script that places it clearly in the Italian WTF style.

It feels a little like a precursor of the widely underestimated Event Horizon, just bad, cheap and nonsensical and with little bits of Alien rip-offs grafted onto the story for no particular reason other than both films being SF horror films and the screenwriters unable to understand that scenes need to have a function in a film. No, really, they do.

But I must admit the film has something. Is it the hero's mullet? The fact that not one of the viewer's questions is answered?

Or is it just that my taste has degraded so far that I have a hard time not enjoying the deeply stupid and inept?


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