Have you ever, overcome by peckishness and inspired by a myriad of options, found yourself trying to invent a recipe? As a younger man, I discovered a dessert which was equal parts peanut butter, biscuit base, apple and blackcurrant jam, bananas and custard. Now what could be wrong with something made of such delightful stuff, I hear you say. Well, it was simultaneously drier than gravel, sweeter than a diabetic coma and just plain wrong when consumed - when I wasn't gasping for water I was fighting back the wretching.
Now what has this to do with a dinosaurs in space, lots of explosions, Roddy McDowall cameoing with gratuitous sex kind of film I hear you say. Well, everything, as Laserblast just has too much stuff in it that would normally cause me to lick my lips and sit down to watch it. My cinematic sweet tooth would love the anti authoritarian counter cultural hero with his camper van, free loving ways, and role as police punchbag, I'd lap up the stop motion dinosaurs from outer space who speak cute, and the endless percussion of explosions and violent effects would be music to my ears.With individual glories like the ones I mention, I'd be happy to ignore any number of failings like a script that makes no sense, or a leading actor who is pure mahogany. Even the worst continuity since Ed Wood or the idea that small town crime labs stay open to 3 in the morning to help Roddy McDowall's unspecified hunches, these things are mere gnat bites when compared to the smorgasbord of genre nonsense, Harryhausenesque animation and the gratuities I would be expecting from Laserblast.
It's with a sobering self revelation that I tell you that Laserblast taught me that no matter the compromises I am normally happy to make for low budget movies, here I have discovered my standards. The whole story has been edited together by a hyperactive toddler with a fetish for bangs, no knack for narrative and a taste for flat chested hippy chicks that I just don't understand. Moment bungles into moment, an Alien possession movie becomes a laser gun shoot 'em up, and a plethora of sweet stuff is drowned in a bitter incoherence that defeats all my attempts at synopsis.After 40 minutes of meandering, Lassie's best friend turns up and clearly takes his pay-cheque the same day as the actor who graced Planet of the Apes, Welles' Macbeth and that really good Columbo episode is dispatched in 90 seconds or less. Laserblast is criminally throwaway and just a patchwork of stuff that should have been good but isn't. Just like my nutty banana jam crunch, it fails to live up to its ingredients.
88 films are dealing with less impressive materials this time both in the quality of the film and the source print. The main feature is offered in 1.66:1 which is, intriguingly, the original aspect ratio but I can't stop myself wondering whether this is a cropped fullscreen print with the numbers of heads at the top of the frame. The print is rather washed out and edge enhancement and some contrast boosting have been used to improve colours and definition. The result though is rather soft and far from clean with reasonable black levels being some consolation.The mono audio track is a little better with clear reproduction of what I guess were far from pristine materials. No subtitles, though, on this all region single layer disc. Trailers complete the package, 10 from the 88 films catalogue and one for the film itself.
Not a great looking film and pretty meandering and incompetent at that. Laserblast is very hard to recommend