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Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone


By Tom BakerPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 3 min read
Ernie Hudson, Peter Strauss, and Molly Ringwald in "Spacehunter" (1983)

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, is a film I well remember from childhood. At the Community Rec Center at Fort Clayton in Central America, Panama, area of the Canal Zone, they played it on an old-fashioned projection TV. It's the only other film I can remember seeing there, besides this thing with Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy as pirates. I can't remember which it was.

Molly Ringwald was pretty hot the following year. She starred in teenybopper 1980s cult angst shlock-o-drama The Breakfast Club. Before she did that, she did this film, which is like a comic book one-shot about a space cowboy whose name I can't remember who comes down to this Mad Max Road Warrior desert planet that is probably somewhere in California, to rescue three intergalactic sex kittens who flew a rescue ship there after their space station went kablooey floating above some styrofoam asteroids while being manipulated against a piece of black velvet with a light shining behind it and pinholes pushed through it (okay the special effects aren't that bad; primitive, but serviceable for the era).

Space Cowboy Peter Strauss ("Wolff", or the OTHER Han Solo) is a maverick, Western-style "lone wolf comic book laser gunslinger, and he and his cyborg old lady come down to the planet and fight some post-apocalyptic desert mutants, and then she gets turned into cyborg goop on the ground, and he drives on and meets up with Miss Ringwald, who is a cute, perky, clueless, somewhat shrill desert "scab," who says things like, "I don't eat dogs, scabs eat dogs," and "what type of brain think were you using?" The viewer may, after thinking long and hard about it, find it a little strange that the producers decided to have an underage girl be the plucky, spunky sidekick of an adult male. I don't suppose there is anything felonious going on here, though.


So then they meet up with Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters, a black dude that came straight from the Lando Calrissian school of not liking the White Space Cowboy antihero on account that they knew each other in some murky way in the past, and are now old friendly sparring partners. The trio go off, and have random encounters with weirdie space opera nuclear mutants, including underwater Amazons, and then make it to the place where bad guy Overdog (played by bad sci-fi 1980s cult movie actor, Michael Ironside, who was in Scanners and V most famously) is moved around from the ceiling while sitting on some suspended hydraulic chair.

Overdog has a bald head, bad teeth, pale, mutant skin, and two huge robot pincers for hands, which sort of look like those claws in those old arcade games where the player tried to get the thing to grasp onto some cheap toy; they make him look as if he should try out to be a backup guitarist for Gwar.

He also has a "Fusion Tube," which is like a long tunnel with styrofoam rocks and Eighties neon tubing that does something like drain your soul, or your power supply, or some such.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. Molly Ringwald and the Space Cowboy go off together, which is sweet I suppose, but may also interest the intergalactic District Attorney.

Did I mention this movie was originally in 3D? Nice opportunistic shots of twisted, Torquemada-style space hypodermics and the like come shooting out of the screen, at a viewer expected to wear those ridiculous glasses.

Nothing heavy here, Spacehunter is an old-fashioned Saturday Matinee, a space opera comic book for the Eighties, much like The Dungeonmaster, Masters of the Universe, Metalstorm, The Last Starfighter, etc. Roll 1d6 for initiative and call me later. Just don't feed me dog, or call me a "scab," okay?

Spacehunter 3D (1983) Original Theatrical Trailer

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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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