The Dark Side of the Moon (1990) — Cue the Pink Floyd

“This is weirder than The Flying Dutchman.”

Justin’s rating: The proposed sequel was all about squares

Justin’s review: Maybe it’s a very nerdy admission, but there’s something mildly thrilling in watching (and reviewing) an old scifi movie that takes place in the current year. It’s extra fun to see how far off these visionaries were from reality.

So while The Dark Side of the Moon takes place in 2022, according to the opening crawl, it’s more concerned with crewed spaceships repairing satellites than people bickering on social media, stupidity spreading on Tik Tok, and a History channel concerned with talking about anything but.

This low-budget scifi flick was a fun find, and the premise even more so. The ship SPACECORE-1 encounters a bizarre power failure that leaves them on a course to crash down on the dark side of the moon. This power outage has the added benefit of providing shadowy moon lighting for the rest of the film.

As the crew contemplates freezing and/or suffocating to death, another craft looms out of the night sky: the abandoned NASA space shuttle Discovery. Well, the Discovery-18, but let’s not fall down that rabbit hole.

As you might surmise, the Discovery actually crashed into the Bermuda Triangle a while back, which turned out to be a portal to this part of space. And because triangles are demonic or something, the ship’s become inhabited by the devil. Cue people becoming possessed one by one as the crew tries to figure out a way to survive before they all smack into Luna.

I’ve heard The Dark Side of the Moon referenced as a spiritual predecessor to Event Horizon, and I can kind of see it. A spaceship that’s literally been to hell and back has potential, although Satan as its captain seems a little silly for my taste. Just in case you don’t get it, this movie crams triangles and the number “666” down your throat at every turn.

The crew of SPACECORE-1 isn’t going to cement themselves in pop culture history, but I’ve seen a lot worse from B-movies. Of particular note is the ship’s exposition android Leslie (who is dressed in form-fitting leather like she does lingerie ads in the off-season) and the ship designer, played by notable character actor Joe Turkel (Blade Runner, The Shining) in his final film role. Oddly enough, Turkel passed away in 2022. I won’t read too much into it.

There’s an interesting movie in here, but it’s undercut by a lack of the kind of budget needed to do this right. The Dark Side of the Moon is a whole lot of “OK” when it should be thrilling, scary, and geeky. Instead, it’s people slowly pushing the plot forward, inch by inch, while suspense takes a vacation to the Bermuda Triangle or something.

Didja notice?

  • Someone’s getting their money’s worth out of that fireplace video rental
  • Neat spaceship FX shot against the moon
  • Let’s stuff more people on the bridge
  • That space shuttle is WAY bigger on the inside than it should be
  • You can make a game out of spotting all of the triangles in this film
  • Dead bodies should always fall at the most dramatic time
  • That guy has the mother of all mullets
  • Why does the Google search engine need an android?
  • You honestly think that a guy with a huge triangle cut into his stomach is a suicide?
  • The devil likes to speak in King James Version English
  • “I saw him pull her face inside his stomach” is a phrase you hear all-too-often
  • Swimming pool in spaaaaaaace
  • Satan’s prooooobably the one guy you don’t want to say “I’ll see you in hell!” to, because that’s going to come back to bite you in the butt
  • The epic closing shot is pretty neat. Should’ve been this movie’s opening one.

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