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SATURN 3 (1980)

The tag line says it all “Something is wrong on SATURN 3.” Released in 1980, the same year as THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, SATURN 3 feels more a product of the pre-STAR WARS 1970’s. Replete with questionable special effects, odd acting choices and a plot that even though is beyond simplistic, makes no sense, the film is however watchable as a “so bad it’s good” curio. 

Benson (Harvey Keitel) for an unexplained reason (other than that he is mentally unstable) kills a fellow space pilot and, pretending to be him, takes his space pod to the third moon of Saturn called Saturn 3 (instead of Titan for some reason). 

The sole residents of the Saturn 3 space station are Adam (Kirk Douglas) and Alex (Farrah Faucet). They are there to create a new food source to feed Earth, yet most of the time they are either working out or having sex. 

Benson is there to help speed up productivity, yet all he seems to be doing is trying to have sex with Alex, berating Adam for being old and tinkering with a 7 ft. tall robot he brought with him. The robot doesn’t seem to want to help much either as it spends most of its time walking around, terrorizing the humans and also trying to have sex with Alex. 

Oh, then some things explode and people die. 

If you think that’s odd, I haven’t mentioned that the film is directed by Stanley Donen. For those who don’t know who that is, Donen is one of the greatest directors of movie musicals with such hits as SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952), SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954) and DAMN YANKEES! (1958). This unfortunately shows in SATURN 3 as the production design and costuming are a little over the top and there’s an infamous scene (that appears as a deleted scene on the SCREAM Factory Blu-Ray release) of Farrah dressed like a futuristic dominatrix showing here wears in a sexy-time music sequence. 

At a brisk 88 min., SATURN 3 doesn’t overstay its welcome. As a matter of fact, the movie needed more plot and seems devoid of a second act. It’s so confounding and bizarre at times that it winds up being entertaining. So if you’re into that kind of movie-going experience, it’s worth a trip to Titan… Ummm… I mean SATURN 3.

APRIL 24, 2014