• Deep Space (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: October 29th, 2019.
    Director: Fred Olen Ray
    Cast: Charles Napier, Julie Newmar, Ron Glass, Ann Turkel, Bo Svenson
    Year: 1988
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    Deep Space – Movie Review:

    When Fred Olen Ray’s 1988 film, Deep Space, begins, an unidentified flying object hurtles out of space and lands somewhere outside of Los Angeles. A couple enjoying some quality time alone in the woods interrupt their make out session to investigate, and are quickly disposed of by an unseen entity. When their bodies are found, LAPD cops Ian McLemore (Charles Napier) and his partner Jerry Merris (Ron Glass) are called to the scene to investigate.

    Rumors are swirling that whatever killed those horny teens could be an alien or a bio-weapon of sorts and wouldn’t you know it, Forsythe (James Booth), a high-ranking government scientist, has got his hands involved in this – the ‘thing’ might just be the results of his efforts to create a bio-weapon that could actually be used in outer space! When his boss tells him to destroy the project, he winds up unleashing it into the world and the bodies start to pile up.

    Meanwhile, McLemore is making time with a new addition to his roster of co-workers, Carla Sandbourn (Ann Turkel), a sassy, no-nonsense lady cop who seems unusually attracted to the toothy ‘legend’ of the department. Oh, and a psychic (Julie Newmar) keeps trying to get McLemore on the phone to warn him with her predictions! As Captain Robertson (Bo Svenson) puts pressure on McLemore to find out what’s going on, the monster starts ripping its way through the city of angels, killing people with its weird tentacles – all while strange little ‘face hugger-esque’ spawns cause yet more trouble for all involved.

    Borrowing heavily from Alien and The Thing as well as his own earlier film Biohazard, Deep Space doesn’t actually take place in space. Not shallow space, not deep space, just Log Angeles. Still, it’s a fun movie so long as you go in with your expectations in check. There’s very little in this film that anyone would consider original but it does give Charles Napier to play a grunty, sweaty, hard-drinking slob of a cop and he runs with it, chewing his way through the scenery and gnashing his teeth a lot. He and Turkel don’t have much in the way of chemistry together, but you just know she’s going to fall prey to his macho charisma and hop into bed with him. Glass makes for a fun right-hand man and Svenson does a good job of looking perpetually exhausted with Napier’s antics. Newmar is amusing as the psychic. She doesn’t get much screen time and appears to have had her scenes filmed separately than everyone else, but she’s still amusing to watch.

    Ray paces the film pretty well and the movie features a decent amount of fun practical effects work, none of which is convincing but all of which is charming. Again, the movie spends most of its time borrowing from bigger, better films but there’s plenty of entertainment value to be had here, especially if you can groove on watching a scenery chewing Napier do his thing.

    Deep Space – Blu-ray Review:

    The AVC encoded 1.78.1 widescreen 1080p high definition picture on this disc is taken from a scan done in 2018 and it looks very good, all things considered. It’s a little on the soft side at times but the image is quite clean, showing natural film grain but very little actual print damage at all. Skin tones look fine, colors are handled well and black levels are decent. Texture isn’t bad and there’s reasonable depth to the image. No problems with compression or with noise reduction or edge enhancement.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language track provided in DTS-HD 2.0 Mono. Optional English subtitles are also provided. Some minor sibilance is noticeable at times but otherwise this track is fine. It’s balanced properly, the dialogue sounds clear and the film’s insanely repetitive (yet catchy) score sounds pretty decent.

    A commentary track with director Fred Olen Ray is the main extra on the disc. Like most of his tracks, it’s an interesting talk delivered with some occasional doses of welcome humor. He talks about how he came to work for Trans World and what the studio wanted of him, noting some of the similarities to Alien are there because of their demands. He is quite upfront about budgetary limitations and their effect on the film and he tells some fun stories about working with the different cast and crew members that were gathered together for the project.

    Aside from that, we get a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Scorpion Releasing properties, menus and chapter selection. This release also comes packaged with a slipcover.

    Deep Space – The Final Word:

    Deep Space doesn’t have an original bone in its B-movie body but it is an entertaining, low-budget creature feature that benefits from some fun effects work and a pretty neat cast. Scorpion Releasing’s Blu-ray debut for the picture looks and sounds pretty decent and the commentary from Ray is solid. Recommended for fans of rubber suits, goofy gore and extremely toothy leading men!

    Click on the images below for full sized Deep Space Blu-ray screen caps!