Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I criminali della galassia (1966)

...aka: Criminals of the Galaxy
...aka: Galaxy Criminals, The
...aka: Gamma I Quadrilogy Vol. 1
...aka: Wild Wild Planet

Directed by:
Antonio Margheriti

In 2015, scientists aboard a spaceship, headed by Dr. Nurmi, the “best chemist in the world,” are experimenting with body parts, tissue grafts and organ transplants. Nurmi (Massimo Serato) is actually trying to create an immortal race of perfect, body- beautiful people. Some of his subjects, mainly attractive females in mini-skirts and piled-up hair, come to Earth, shrink humans to doll-size, store the bodies in their purses and keep a little black book of who they are supposed to kidnap. One strangles a little girl to death and some others dressed in nighties use kung fu. They are aided by big, bald, emotionless, four-armed henchman in sunglasses and black cloaks. They are said to also have cat eyes, which we never get to see. Commander Mike Halsted (middle-aged, gray-haired American actor Tony Russell) and others (including a young Franco Nero) are investigating “thousands” of disappearances and use guns that shoot fire to battle the bad guys. Mike’s girl Connie (Lisa Gastoni), a karate instructor in leotards who gets drunk, runs her mouth a little too much and comes off as a completely unappealing bitch throughout, is tricked into going on a dream holiday to a distant planet by Nurmi. He actually has other plans in store for her; namely combining her body with his to make the ultimate ‘perfect specimen.’ (Hmm, last time I checked, this was called a transsexual).

Mike calls someone a “helium head” and when he sees one of the bald monsters he describes it as “A freak! A sickening freak!” There’s also guys swimming through space in rocket packs, a dance party on a spaceship, a chamber full of hideous mutants (botched experiments), some funny three-wheeled pod cars and some laughable futuristic performance art where people in butterfly costumes do some silly dance. It’s not as good as it sounds. Because the sets on Earth, the spaceship and another planet all look about the same, and people hop around from place to place quite frequently, it’s tough to keep track of where exactly the action is taking place. Not that the plot (devised by Ivan Reiner, also the associate producer) is otherwise coherent. It’s cheap, childish and the miniature sets, spaceships, helicopters and cars look like they came straight out of kid’s toy box. Margheriti did a much better job on his Gothic films than this silly sci-fi outing.


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