laserblast

Review: Laserblast (1978)

By Aaron Vaccaro – Head Writer

Best Bad Quote:

“Far Out” [Hippie reacts to Alien Billy destroying a Star Wars billboard]

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I started watching Laserblast late at night and was struggling to keep my eyes open.  I thought I was in some sort of dream-like state as stop motion dinosaur aliens arrive in a spaceship somewhere in the desert to kill some other alien sporting a giant laser blaster.  When I awoke the next morning, I quickly went to the IMDB page for the movie and sure enough…I was not dreaming, that did actually happen in the movie.  Being what I consider to be a semi-rational human being, I should have hated every minute of this movie, but honestly, I found how terrible it was to be slightly endearing.

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Laserblast tells the story of Billy Duncan, a social outcast so outcasty his mom doesn’t even want to hang out with him as she bolts to Acapulco at the beginning of the movie.  Beyond his mother’s negligence, Billy faces constant bullying from his peers (Chuck and Froggy), and harassment by the local bumbling idiot police officers (Ungar and Jeep).  The only one who enjoys Billy’s company is his loyal girlfriend, Kathy.  While wandering around the desert, Billy finds this laser blaster that looks like something from “American Gladiators,” along with a medallion that allows Billy to fire the laser.  Jazzed about his find, Billy proceeds to take revenge on those who have been tormenting him by blowing them up while simultaneously becoming possessed by the alien medallion in the process.  There’s a bizarre cameo from Roddy McDowall, playing Billy’s doctor, who thinks something is strange about the cavernous hole developing in Billy’s chest from the medallion.

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Trust me, it’s more bat shit crazy than it sounds.  There are two inherent problems I had with this movie.  One, our protagonist, Billy, is kind of a douchebag.  I mean he gets invited to a birthday pool party and spends the whole afternoon sleeping by the pool.  No wonder nobody wants to hang out with this guy.  Laserblast tries to make us sympathize with Billy so that we might care when he dies at the end, but it’s hard to care about a guy who doesn’t care about anybody else other than himself.  It’s kind of mind-boggling what Kathy sees in this guy leaving me to think she has some self-esteem issues of her own.  The other thing I have a problem with is this mysterious FBI agent who seems to be hot on the trail of Billy wreaking havoc with his laser blaster.  You never really know what this guy’s motive is but when he finally finds his man, my favorite stop motion dinosaur aliens show up and kill Billy.  So…that character was kind of pointless.

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This movie is pretty terrible but the cheesy stop motion, and the horrible alien makeup that makes Billy look more like Nosferatu than an actual alien, makes me remember the good ole days of the drive-in movie double features in some bizarre way.  Despite how aesthetically atrocious this movie is, the inherent feeling of nostalgia in Laserblast makes you yearn for the days when life was more simple…and bad.  That and I’d not so secretly love to see those stop motion dinosaur aliens get their own spin-off.

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Rating:

3 out of 5 Adorable Stop Motion Dinosaur Aliens Shooting Lasers

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2 Responses to “Review: Laserblast (1978)”

  1. I’ve only ever seen the MST3k version of this film, and I always liked that episode because I thought the movie wasn’t so bad. I always thought it was funny that Billy decided that blowing up people was a good idea. Kid’s got issues.

  2. “Adorable Dinosaur Aliens”? Those things are nightmare inducing. I feel the same about this movie though, I really have a soft spot for it too. I completely get the drive in feel too, cheesy sci-fi fun.

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