TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE DAY TIME ENDED (1980)

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THE DAY TIME ENDED (1980)

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The Day Time Ended is an inept 1980 sci-fi low budgeter from legendary schlockmeister Charles Band. It’s basically a random bunch of special effects scenes strung together by the thinest of plots. Silly flick has a triple super nova causing a “space/time warp”, to quote one of the characters, that seems to center around a single desert house to the annoyance of it’s occupants. They are besieged by various UFOs and stop motion animated aliens and creatures and then the house itself starts to travel in and out of other dimensions. The flick then comes to an abrupt and absurd happy ending that leaves things wide open for a sequel.

Flick is directed with no life or energy by John ‘Bud’ Cardos (Kingdom Of The Spiders, Mutant) from a script by three people, no less. The acting is terrible, as is the dialog, and the characters are prone to making the stupidest decisions. My favorite of these being when searching for a lost little girl, grandpa carries a gun and almost shoots her, but grandpa leaves the gun in the house when going out to investigate noises in the barn. Makes perfect sense! Except for some nice stop motion animation from the late David Allen, the special FX are as cheesy as one can imagine, for a flick like this and it’s tedious even at only 79 minutes long. Actually saw this one in a theater…my favorite grind house, The Oritani Theater in Hackensack, NJ.

Only bother if you are a David Allen or Charles Band completest or simply enjoy bad cheesy low budget flicks of this era. Also stars Dorothy Malone (Peyton Place), Jim Davis (Dallas) and Chris Mitchum (son of the legendary Robert Mitchum).

MONSTERZERO NJ’S EXTRA TRIVIA: Star Marcy Lafferty was, at the time, William Shatner’s second wife and Shatner himself had starred in John ‘Bud’ Cardos’ Kingdom Of The Spiders three years earlier. Coincidence?…we may never know!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 (out of 4) David Allen critters that deserved a better movie.

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE DARK (1979)

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THE DARK (1979)

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I’ll start out by saying that The Dark is not a very good movie, but not only does it hold nostalgia for me, as I saw it at the awesome Fox theater in Hackensack (which was across the street from my beloved Oritani) in 1979, but is also a curiosity because, at some point during the film’s making, it appears that movie’s villain changed his origins from some sort of zombie to a space monster…

The simple story has L.A. being stalked by some sort of unnatural fiend (John Bloom) who is tearing off people’s heads. It is being pursued not only by a hard-nosed cop (Richard Jaeckal), but by the writer, father (William Devane) of it’s first victim and an ambitious reporter (Cathy Lee Crosby) who sees this story as her big break. But this creature eludes capture and continues it’s nightly rampages. What is it? And can it be stopped?

Well, the answer to that question might be easier if the filmmakers could decided on what it’s creature actually is. Opening narration and the fact that the monster shoots lasers from it’s eyes (obviously added in post) to decapitate it’s victims has us believing it is a space monster, yet examinations of skin tissue and much of the film’s dialog seem to indicate it is a zombie. The creature also wears human clothes, kinda looks like a zombie and there is a supernatural element as we get blowing wind before it appears and it uses some sort of supernatural power to warn off a psychic (Jacquelyn Hyde) whom is aiding the police. It is only in the last act where there is dialog suggesting that it might be otherworldly and the climactic battle with the L.A. police is filled with explosions as the creature blasts them with it’s laser eyes. But these are things that could have been done with minimal re-shoots. I have read elsewhere that there was indeed a last minute change in the film’s critter due to failed screenings, but never anything official from someone involved in the production. Either way, this flick directed by John ‘Bud’ Cardos from a script by Stanford Whitmore is not very good. There is very little monster action till the last 10 minutes or so and most of the film is boring drama concerning Devane’s writer and his relationship with Crosby’s reporter…or the efforts of the bumbling cops to track down “The Mangler”. There is no suspense and the atmosphere is minimal with only one gory decapitation to interest the gore-hounds and overall, the movie is just plain dull and silly. Simply not much here to recommend other than some 70s nostalgia and watching a decent cast wallow in this mediocre movie.

For a bad B-Movie, this flick has a decent cast of 70s character actors. Devane’s writer is aloof and he plays most of his scenes walking around in a stupor wearing sunglasses. His character and Cathy Lee Crosby’s over ambitious reporter have a romance that adds nothing to the story and neither character makes much of an impact till the last 15 minutes or so, despite being the leads. Jaekel is sound as the cop in-over- his-head who has no idea what he is really dealing with…and in his defense, we’re still not that sure either, despite the end narration telling us the Earth has just had it’s first alien encounter. We also get veteran character actor Keenan Wynn and legendary DJ Casey Kasem as a news mogul and forensics expert respectively. Decent cast caught in a really bad flick.

So, there is not much to recommend about this lame sci-fi/horror with an identity problem. Whether it be a zombie or alien, the film is slow moving and uneventful, for the most part, and the apparent post-production changes in it’s title villain certainly doesn’t help. There is some personal nostalgia for me having seen it in a theater at a time when B-Movies like this could be seen on the big screen, but other than that, I really can’t say too much in the positive about this turkey. Not even bad enough to be funny.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 laser firing zombie/alien things.

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