Hello and Welcome to our newest category: SCHLOCK WATCH! Schlocktoberfest is always a high point for Hard Ticket to Home Video so we decided that reviewing only horror flicks just isn’t enough sadomasochism and we should be covering all the genres like Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure, Post-Nuke, Kung-Fu flicks, Rape/Revenge flicks, Blaxploitation flicks, Movies about Gladiators, etc! May Crom have mercy on our souls.
Saturn 3 (1980)
Schlock Category: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- I hope I’m not too lost seeing that I missed both Saturn 1 and 2.
- Hey, Arnold Finkelstein wants his styrofoam model of Saturn back for his 4th grade science fair.
- This was made in 1980 yet looks as cheap and hokey as a early 60s sci-fi flick. It reminds me of the mid-80s Epcot style of sci-fi future at Disney World.
- This guy just nonchalantly mentioned to another guy that he failed a test for being mentally unstable. Better luck tomorrow I guess.
- I’m not entirely sure how that guy died but it was awesome. He somehow was sliced in bits by a space egg slicer doohickey.
- Harvey Keitel sure is giving Farrah Fawcett serious rapey vibes.
- “Saturn 3. When they want to give the solar system an enema. That’s where they stick the tube in.” That should be the film’s tag line.
- So they can’t make any radio contact with Earth while the moon is under an eclipse. How this makes sense is anyone’s guess.
- So where are they exactly? It’s called Saturn 3 so it has to be orbiting the planet Saturn right? But if it’s a moon then why is there no name for it? [Editor’s Note: Upon further research, I learned that Saturn has 62 known moons and only 53 of them are officially named. So that makes some sense to the film naming that moon/satellite Saturn 3 I suppose. I also just learned that Saturn’s largest moon, Titan is larger than planet Mercury which is strange to me because shouldn’t that qualify it for being a planet? Didn’t we lose Pluto as a planet because it wasn’t large enough? I know I’m going off topic but could someone explain this to me? Is it because Titan orbits Saturn and not just the sun?]
- There’s a shower scene with Farrah Fawcett AND Kirk Douglas but nothing’s seen. Boo!
- However, a moment later we get a brief boob shot of both of them! SCORE!
- This movie is a sad reminder that Farrah Fawcett was once the hottest woman on the planet and that was a long time ago.
- It’s implied now that Fawcett is essentially a sexual object to be used for Kirk Douglas. Keitel asks her flatly if he could use her body and she refuses because she belongs to Douglas only. Keitel says that it is socially immoral on Earth to be exclusive to only one person. Good ‘ol future.
- For some reason, Keitel’s voice sounds overdubbed. [Editor’s note: It is indeed. Conflicting sources state that he was overdubbed because of his natural accent and another source claims that he flatly refused to do his own overdubs.]
- I wonder if Michael Douglas turned down this movie initially.
- Harvey Keitel has a giant tube full of human brain tissue.
- I wonder if Michael Douglas is jealous of his old man for being able to make out with Farrah Fawcett.
- Keitel is pumping, what I’m assuming is the brain tissue, into a robot to give it artificial intelligence. This robot doesn’t have a proper head and is about 8 feet tall. But why doesn’t it have a decent head?!
- And I forgot to mention that the brain tissue is harvested from human fetuses. So he just implanted baby brains into a giant robot with no head and a very muscular body.
- R.O.T.O.R. can totally kick this Hector robot’s ass. Especially in break dancing.
- Hector is a sore loser. Especially since this was his first ever game of chess.
- I can’t hate on this movie too much as long as every other scene they have Farrah in something scantily.
- Of course you can’t have a thriller without the first victim being the beloved pet. It’s in the bylaws.
- It’s not going to get you any brownie points if your psycho robot tries to kill the chick you want to bed, Keitel. Even if you’re the one who saves her. It’s still your psycho robot.
- So now Hector is on a rampage and they seemed to have forgotten that Keitel can communicate and control Hector with a radio transmitter that he implants into his own brain.
- Hector comes back alive by somehow making other robots put him back together. It would be way more compelling and ominous if Hector had a real head.
- Kirk Douglas kicked Harvey Keitel’s ass. Buck ass naked!
- We are led to believe that like Keitel, Hector also lusts after Farrah. This is Farrah so I don’t blame anyone or anything for that.
- That was one terrible explosion effect.
- Keitel is commanding them via intercom and he yells at them to come “this way,” which is funny because how do they know which way when he’s only on intercom.
- The rest of the movie and its finale is a complete bore. Hector takes over the persona of Keitel and gives Douglas one of those brain jacks like Keitel had. Before Hector can jack him in, Douglas blows himself up with Hector. Afterwards, Farrah returns to Earth. That’s it. That’s all.
Exploitation Level (Gore, Nudity, Etc.): Plenty! Farrah Fawcett is constantly in compelling clothing and even graces us with some nipple action for a few split seconds. Sure it’s odd that this film has not only a May-December romance but also a robot that wants to sleep with her but hey, it’s Farrah Fawcett. There’s also enough gobs of gore to keep the film interesting between the rapey vibes and slow and boring exposition.
Best Scene: If we’re not counting any of the Farrah scenes where she’s wearing negligee then I would pick the scene where Hector uses his pincer hand to pick out a splinter in Farrah’s eyeball. It’s tense, thrilling and unnerving all at once and it was probably a terribly scary scene for Farrah to film with such a clunky robot pincer hand inching closer and closer to her eye.
Bonus Best Scene: There’s a deleted scene where Farrah is dressed in a super sexy and risqué space lingerie outfit that was supposedly cut because Farrah demanded it. Enjoy.
Worst Scene: Bear in mind that this is a sci-fi thriller in the vein of Alien directed by the guy most famous for those acclaimed dance musicals. You’ve seen the clips of Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling or Gene Kelly dancing with an animated mouse? That’s Stanley Donen. Directing a science fiction horror film was something way out of wheel house. Also bear in mind that this thriller only has 3 actors in it with a hulking headless robot. So there’s plenty to complain about yet I will say that for Donen, he did a fine job with what he was given and the actors did their best as well. However, to pick a worst scene comes down to its finale and the death of Hector because, like it or not, Hector was the star of the picture and for the time, he was an impressive special effect so he should’ve been given a better death scene. All he got was a slo-mo fall into a vat of water along with Douglas and a lame water explosion with close-ups of chunks of Hector’s body flying across the frame as if someone threw the pieces from a pool. No fire or anything just water and a loud boom. He deserved a little better than that I dare say.
Best Line: “Saturn 3. When they want to give the solar system an enema. That’s where they stick the tube in.”
Well How Schlocky Is It?: It could’ve been better, in either direction. Like I said it was directed by the fella who made all those famous MGM musicals but that was never the intention. Originally, first time director John Barry, the academy award winning production designer for Star Wars, was planned to write and direct this. He also worked on A Clockwork Orange and the first two Superman movies, so he could’ve crafted a much better sci-fi flick then the guy who made Singin’ in the Rain. But he supposedly had issues with Kirk Douglas and left the project. Donen was the producer and had to fill in. But that all aside it’s far from a terrible-looking science fiction movie. Once we’re on Saturn 3, the sets are decent and the tone of the film is fine. It’s tough to illicit a lot of suspense with only 3 actors and a giant robot so that’s where the film fails. But it doesn’t fail quite enough to enjoy the shortcomings.