The Day the Stars Turned Red (2016) – By Philip Smolen


It’s the 1950s and the button has been pushed! The world is coming to an end and three people, Captain Tony Carson (Andrew H. Enriquez), Major Cliff Banks (Drake Delucca) and scientist Mayna Duarte (Dr. Diane St. Vincent) rush to a nearby local bomb shelter. Carson and Duarte had planned to go to the shelter alone, but in the panic just before the blast, Banks followed the couple to their haven. Once there, the three begin to argue about what they should do. That’s when Captain Carson reveals that he has been keeping a fantastic secret that may help mankind survive. But everyone is not who they say they are and before long the three survivors are at each others’ throats. Can this terrible trio survive Armageddon and each other?

“The Day the Stars Turned Red” is an 11 minute short from writer/director Andrew H. Enriquez and it’s a send-up of the nuclear nightmare movies and TV shows from the 1950s and 1960s. Enriquez has obviously studied these classics because the set design is spot on. The movie feels cramped and uncomfortable and features lots of close-ups of Enriquez, Delucca and St. Vincent. Enriquez even adds in some Theremin music to set the proper mood.

However, satire (especially 1950s sci-fi satire) needs to be subtle in order to work properly and Enriquez’s screenplay is too campy and not as sly as it needs to be. The character of Major Banks is so over the top that I actually stopped caring about him and wished that he would just stay off screen. He’s so bombastic that I half expected him to start spouting quotes from 1960s ultra conservative Barry Goldwater. Enriquez’ Captain Carson and St. Vincent’s Duarte are somewhat better, but neither character is as well defined as they should be.

“The Day the Stars Turned Red” is an admirable attempt to spoof the nuclear nightmare shows from 60 years ago. But the effect of the satire is lost because everything is played far too broadly. It’s an enjoyable short, but it could have been a memorable one if the screenplay was massaged just a bit more.

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