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The 100




Laserblast
(1978)
Reviewed by Scott Marshall
Rating: 8 Beans

hew. Let me see if I can capture the essence of
the film- no, the experience- that is LASERBLAST.
Suppose that instead of using a baseball bat in
WALKING TALL, Buford Pusser decided to mete out
justice with an alien laser cannon that works like
an extension of your arm. Oh, and instead of it
being a feature film, it’s an after school special.
That’s pretty much what happens when a neglected
teenager named Billy is left to his own devices in
the SoCal desert.

The film (and I use that term charitably) opens with
a humanoid alien chased by a couple of stop-motion
animated aliens who flash-fry him and then take off
after a passing crop duster startles them. They
leave the alien’s laser cannon and giant blinking
medallion in their haste.

Cut to Billy, who is disappointed because "they"
want his mother to go to Acapulco again. What a
drag, being a teenager left alone in your house. He
goes to see his girlfriend to complain but is driven
away by the her demented grandfather, Keenan Wynn,
who is playing himself. He gets in his weak-ass van
and drives to the gas station, where he is harassed
by the only other teenage boys in town, one of whom
is perennial geek character actor Eddie Deezen. A
whole bunch of nothing happens for what seems like
an hour.

Then, wandering in the desert, Billy finds the laser
cannon and medallion. Now the action can begin! Or
not. He hides the thing and starts to make out with
his girlfriend, who reminds him that they have to go
to a fat girl’s birthday party. They do so and
Billy intervenes when the same two teenage toughs
try to molest a girl. They molest him instead
until the girl smacks one of them with a tennis
racket. Humiliated, Billy scampers off and spends
some time with the laser cannon, succumbing to the
temptation of its power. Get that? He has the
power to gain revenge and succumbs to it. Succumbs
like there’s no tomorrow.

But first he visits local doctor Roddy McDowall, who
must have owed some money to the local hotel and
agreed to work it off by appearing in the film.
After he examines Billy’s chest and shrugs, the
action truly begins. That is, as soon as the aliens
realize they left that really destructive weapon on
Earth and that they should go back and get it.

Back in the desert, Billy visits the makeup artist
from ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE and blows up the same crop
duster from the first scene. The two bullies drive
by in a ’57 Chevy and Billy blows them up too. He
gets picked up by a hippie who seems to be
hallucinating while he drives. You can tell because
he says "far OUT, man!" when Billy blows up a
billboard as they pass. Billy grows weary of the
hippie after a few scenes and, well, you get the
picture.

He drives the hippie’s van- which may actually be
his own van with more paint splashed on, now that I
think about it- back into his hometown where he
blows up more stuff, including the local
dope-smoking cops. Just as the effects budget runs
dry, the aliens pass overhead in their ship and kill
him. His girlfriend finds him at peace, his face no
longer green like the Hulk’s, his reign of terror
ended- much like the end of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE.
The scene lingers long enough for us to wonder if
he’ll wake up and kiss the girl, but no; the credits
roll and we are left to ask why.

Why indeed…






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