Oblivion (1994) – By Duane L. Martin

On a distant planet, in a futuristic, wild west style town, Marshall Stone and his cyborg deputy Stell Barr keep law and order, but when the alien outlaw Redeye comes to town with his gang of thugs and his human, dominatrix moll Lash (Musetta Vander), they have a plan to get rid of the marshal, so they can take over the town once and for all. See, the marshal has a badge that creates a force field around him, so he’s basically unkillable, but an alien crystal that Redeye planted in the ground where the marshal would be standing when they had their showdown, disrupted the force field and allowed Redeye to kill the marshal. Word of his father’s demise reaches his son Zack, who’s been out prospecting so he can get enough money to buy transport off the planet. Zack is a pacifist, but not by choice really. He’s a very strong empath, so he feels what other people feel, only stronger. After he had to kill someone once in the past, he decided he would never kill again. Unfortunately, to save the town from Redeye and his gang, Zack may have to re-think that position.

Oblivion was put out by Full Moon Productions back in 1994. It’s one of the better known films from a studio that has given us countless films over the years, probably the most famous of which is the Puppet Master series. Oblivion came out at a time when Full Moon was sort of in its heyday and putting out lots of great films. Hell, I remember owning the VHS of this film back in the day. I’m not sure why though, as I remember that back then, I really didn’t like this film all that much, nor did I ever expect to see anyone other than Full Moon putting out a release of it. Still, here it sits on my desk as a new release from Shout Factory. So how has the film held up over the years, and has my opinion of it changed at all? Well…

To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for this film because of my past impressions of it. As I watched it however, I realized that maybe back then I just didn’t appreciate it for what it was. I’m not saying that I now view it as a masterpiece or anything, but I actually found that after all this time, I really enjoyed it.

While the film has some problems, such as the alien Redeye being more annoying than he is a badass, and Julie Newmar being equally annoying as Miss Kitty, the owner of the local saloon, I found a new appreciation for some of the other characters. People like Carel Struycken, who plays Gaunt the undertaker who always shows up when someone’s about to die. George Takei plays the town drunk, who also happens to be a doctor, a dentist and an inventor. He’s incredibly obnoxious, but he’s also way funny. Meg Foster plays the cyborg deputy, who I think we all had sort of a crush on back in the day, and who probably has the most intense eyes of anyone who’s ever appeared on film. That had to be a weird role for her to play, but she really did a great job with it. Jimmie F. Skaggs plays Butteo, the Indian sidekick to Richard Joseph Paul’s character of the marshal’s son Zack. The two have a good chemistry between them, and it’s fun to watch them interacting and annoying each other. Irwin Keyes is another notable as Bork, one of Redeye’s henchmen. Look him up on IMDB. You’ll know who he is instantly. He was a very recognizable face from back then, and even though he was only 6′ 1", he always gives the impression of being bigger than everyone around him. Musetta Vander’s character Lash…oh man, I definitely remembered her. She’s insanely hot and does a great job of playing the dominating bitch. If you can watch her on screen without drooling all over yourself, then you must be a sexless eunuch.

While the effects in the film are typical of the time, one of the real stand outs effects-wise, are the giant, stop motion scorpions. They’re a lot of fun and are the perfect addition to the desert atmosphere of the film. Do they look real? Of course not, but who cares? We’re not talking Harryhausen here, but they did a great job with them for a lower budget film. There’s also this really awesome looking poisonous alien toad creature. It’s obviously a puppet, but the way it’s controlled and the way they worked the eyes really gave it a super fun personality.

While there are, as I said earlier, some problems with the film, all in all I found that at this point in my life, I’ve gained a far greater appreciation for it than I had back in the day. It’s help up well, and it was a pleasure for me to see it again.

The release is in full screen only and doesn’t have any special features, but still, it’s nice to just have it out there and available, and just to see George Takei running around drunk and spouting Dr. McCoy quotes from Star Trek, it’s worth picking yourself up a copy and adding it to your collection.

If you’d like to find out more about this release, or to pick up a copy for yourself, you can check out its page on the Shout Factory website here.