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A shamelessly derivative monster can’t pull down the fun in Fred Olen Ray’s “Deep Space” which brings an alien threat down to earth.

Deep Space

A rough-necked detective investigates strange pods that carry alien creatures hungry for human flesh. Let’s dig into 1988’s DEEP SPACE, directed by Fred Olen Ray!

As I See It

Another one of my favorite schlock masters, Fred Olen Ray, succeeds in blending whimsical absurdity with bootstrap effects. Using technology as a backdrop rather than the focus leaves room for this sci-fi-horror-comedy to breathe. You don’t have to do much thinking. Just let the alien wrap its tendrils around your face and get sucked into the fun.

Bo Svenson (Captain) plays a proper hard-ass boss to Charles Napier’s (McLemore) hard-boiled, trouble-making detective.

The blood runs thin thanks to this serrated-mouthed creature whose maw resembles a messy Xenomorph. It seems impossible to get away from that phallic-shaped beast from Giger’s mind since its big screen debut in Alien. The comparisons don’t stop there. A pod is broken open to reveal a face hugger-like beast.

I’m surprised with the solemnity that Fred Olen Ray seems to execute this film compared to his other films that I’ve seen.

It’s quite obviously one of the biggest-budgeted films in his oeuvre. It also begs the question of whether one of Hollywood’s most prolific low-budget filmmakers could have made some more explosions and magic on a bigger screen if he had been given a longer financial leash from the powers that be.

Famous Faces

Charles Napier (Detective McLemore) seemed like he was born to portray characters of authority, whether it be the Warden in Ernest Goes to Jail, special ops leader Murdock in Rambo, or the straight-shooting Commander Gilmour in Mike Myer’s Austin Powers.

Tarantino favorite Bo Svenson (Captain Robertson) and original “Bastard” (The Inglorious Bastards 1978) played Buford in the Walking Tall series, Ethridge in my favorite Dig – Primal Rage, the Reverend in Kill Bill, and another bit part as the American Colonel in Inglorious Basterds.

Ron Glass (Jerry Merris) was Shepherd Book in the Firefly series and its subsequent film Serenity.

Julie Newmar (Lady Elaine) is the original actor to portray Catwoman in Batman 66’ — setting a playful and seductive precedent for the character.

Of Gratuitous Nature

Outside of some “gore” that probably could have passed the censors because of its watery viscosity, there is not much to sneer at. All nudity is implied or away from the camera, and there isn’t even much at that.

Heartthrob

Julie Newmar’s (Lady Elaine) entrancing lynx eyes didn’t change in the twenty-plus years from her days as Catwoman.

Ripe for a Remake

With Fred Olen Ray receiving a reported $2 million budget, I think he had his full-swing opportunity and succeeded. It’s my favorite of his films I’ve seen.

Spawns

No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

Scorpion Releasing put out a Blu-ray of Deep Space without much flare.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3


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