The 1980s was a glorious time for science fiction. Of course there the bevy of A-list movies that changed the landscape of the genre, and of cinema in general, ever after. But on top of that were all the knock-off and exploitation sci-fi movies that were close enough in makeup to some of those tentpole titles, but which didn’t have nearly the budget nor the effects to fully realize their premise. But that’s what makes them fun! B-science fiction, often direct to video, was a genre all unto itself, and it’s this enjoyment that we hope to share with our new Alpha series, Streaming VHS.
Every Tuesday night at 8pm PT, you’ll be able to log onto Project Alpha and watch a different oft-forgotten sci-fi/action flick from the halcyon ’80s along with us, with live audio commentary by critics, fans, and sometimes even filmmakers themselves! You’ll get to watch a weird old movie and learn a thing or two at the same time.
For our first endeavor, we’re looking at the 1989 flick Arena, which takes place in the far-flung future aboard a massive cruise ship-like satellite that offers patrons the chance to watch aliens battle it out in the ring… to the death! Our hero, Steve Armstrong (Paul Satterfield), gets roped into being the first human ever to fight in the alien death match, and surprisingly becomes a rising star. This doesn’t sit too well with the game’s sinister overlords. The cast includes sci-fi notables Claudia Christian (Babylon 5), Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and Hamilton Camp (the voice of Gizmoduck on DuckTales).
Have a look!
The commentary will feature yours truly and our extra special guest, film critic and author Drew McWeeny. We’ll get into the movie, the genre, the era, and pretty much every other thing you could think relevant (relevance not strictly enforced).
It all begins Tuesday, November 23, at 8pm PT. And if you can’t watch live, no worries! The whole thing will be available on Alpha’s VOD the following day, as part of your subscription. Like so many Deadites, we want you to join us!
Image: Empire Pictures