Laserblast (1978) — More like laserblah

“Just you and me and the sky… like a cup! A giant cup!”

Justin’s rating: This is the true alien conspiracy

Justin’s review: There are some who hope that E.T. will show up to become our very first best friends. And there are others that hope that aliens might drop off incredibly lethal weapons so that they can get revenge on everyone who ever called them a bad name. Spielberg covered the first fairly well, which leaves Laserblast to fulfill the latter fantasy.

Make no mistake: Laserblast’s plot isn’t going to fill a short story, nevermind a flimsy brochure. Some stop motion aliens accidentally leave a super-powerful arm cannon behind. An angst-ridden teenager named Billy finds it and figures that this is the divine permission he needs to go on a killing spree. We should’ve known, as Billy has mild mommy issues and hates wearing a shirt. He kind of looks like A New Hope-era Mark Hamill on sedatives, to be honest.

The device in question looks more like a piece of classic medical tech than anything truly deadly, but as it is bearing 95% of the “science fiction” in this film, we’re going to have to give it our full and undivided attention. Billy does take his sweet time before attempting to turn the American West into a giant smoking crater, and that gives our stop motion aliens time to turn around and try to hunt him down. Also sort of chasing him is a G-Man and some dorky sheriffs.

I can confidently say that whatever entertainment you get out of Laserblast is going to be sporadic and probably involving half the cast’s reluctance to wear shirts. I’ve gone on record before saying that pre-1980s science fiction is almost always terribly boring, and this movie is no exception. It just… exists… for large swaths of time, failing to live up to the exciting promise of its poster:

Where’s THAT movie? That looks like a nonstop apocalypse shooting out of the arm of a zombie kid! I don’t need sixteen minutes of a pool party and eight of a girl just wandering around a parked van! As compensation for disappointed expectations, Laserblast does fixate a lot on how the alien technology is giving Billy cancer or somesuch.

Allegedly Laserblast has racked up this reputation of being a legendarily bad movie, but in my opinion, it’s nothing more than plain bad. I love me a really good bad movie, the kind with lots of weird craziness and the like. Here? The most crazy we get is a van with footprints on the side of it and a guy with a hole in his chest. Great for fast-tracking insomniacs to sleep, horrible for anything else.

Didja notice?

  • The stop motion is not terrible, especially for 1978
  • Stunning ’70s fashion!
  • Put a shirt on, already
  • Cops like toking up while on stake outs
  • Drink Coke!
  • Those footprints on his van are cooooool
  • Tennis rackets are great impromptu weapons
  • The aliens talking are so cute

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