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Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn

August 19, 1983

METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN is yet another sci-fi/fantasy/adventure released in the summer of RETURN OF THE JEDI that seems like it wouldn’t have existed without STAR WARS. In fact, a 1983 Cinefantastique article quotes screenwriter Alan J. Adler (PARASITE, THE CONCRETE JUNGLE) saying that he “packed my bags and left town for Los Angeles” when he saw STAR WARS. To be fair, this particular movie seems much more inspired by THE ROAD WARRIOR, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Before seeing them, I always mixed this up with SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE, without realizing they were released a few months apart, and both in 3D. Now that I’ve seen them I know that they actually are kind of similar – both have a tough bounty hunter guy driving around a wasteland planet in large all-terrain vehicle, fighting mutants and warlords and shit while searching for someone. Dogen (Jeffrey Byron, HOT RODS TO HELL) is a “Finder,” and instead of trying to rescue some abducted tourists he’s trying to kill a wizard guy named Jared-Syn (Michael Preston, Pappagallo from ROAD WARRIOR), who’s trying to do a, like… evil crystal thing. Because the treaty with the Nomads was violated, I believe is what Dogen says. You know how it is. Gotta stop that, obviously.

On his trek, Dogen comes across a crystal mine where Jared-Syn’s ugly cyborg son Baal (R. David Smith, later Hell’s Angel #1 in SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO) killed a prospector (Larry Pennell, Lassie), leaving his daughter Dhyana (Kelly Preston in her second movie, after 10 TO MIDNIGHT and before CHRISTINE) behind. He takes her along so I thought she would be the equivalent to Molly Ringwald’s character in SPACEHUNTER. Maybe that’s an unfair standard, because I really thought Ringwald made that movie, but regardless, this Dhyana character has zero personality or agency. Her only memorable trait is wearing a black vest so when she’s standing next to Dogen in his leather duds they look like a couple going to a Halloween party as Mad Max and Sexy Han Solo.

But she almost immediately gets abducted and spends 2/3 of the movie cowering in a cave while Jared-Syn makes very dull, low energy threats to her. This is miles better than PRISONERS OF THE LOST UNIVERSE on almost every conceivable level, but there are a few stretches where it’s almost as boring.

Fortunately there are also parts with post-apocalypse-type vehicles and car chases with violence and crashes and stuff. I don’t want to be too hard on them because I do think they’re pretty cool chases, but they also really underline the brilliance of George Miller because he knew how to make absolutely everything look and feel and sound like it’s tearing across the surface of the earth with a giant rocket attached to its back. If that required speeding up the film he wasn’t too proud to do that. These chases feel like they’re being careful to obey the speed limit.

Things pick up narratively when it gets more into the “okay, you got us, we’ve seen STAR WARS” portion of the proceedings – specifically when Dogen goes to the cantina to find his Han Solo. In this case the cantina is a white tent with some fluorescent lights and a live snake on the wall behind the bar. Customers sit cross-legged on the dirt floor next to short, illuminated translucent tables. And the Han Solo is a former Finder turned pro-drinker named Rhodes (Tim Thomerson in the same year as UNCOMMON VALOR). It comes up in conversation that he fought in “The Sand Wars.” Later Jared-Syn will invoke the “Dark Lords of Set.” But there are no light sabers.

I can’t complain about the casting of Thomerson because he immediately makes everything more fun, but it’s a little bit of an odd fit because he’s doing the job of the smartass sidekick but he also a grizzled tough guy presence equal to or greater than Byron’s, and when they’re in the vehicle together you realize that they look kinda similar, they’re way more of the same type than you usually see teamed up in a movie, and for good reason. You need some contrast.

No disrespect to Byron – he’s fine – but I was kinda thinking maybe it shoulda been Thomerson as Dogen and somebody who looked very different from him as Rhodes. I bet director Charles Band had the same thought, since he later produced six TRANCERS movies, two DOLLMAN movies and one ZONE TROOPERS with Thomerson in the lead.

Dogen hires Rhodes as his guide to lead him to “The Lost City,” though Rhodes protests that he knows it doesn’t exist because he’s searched for it a dozen times. Then they just drive straight down a road for like two minutes and pull up to the “Cyclopian burial grounds” that mean they found it. Thirteenth time’s the charm, I guess! There’s a cool tomb (I would want to be buried in one of those if I shared the Cyclopian spiritual beliefs) and a crystal mask and then they get pulled into the sand – I believe this is our second quicksand scene of the summer, after KRULL, but third if you count the giant guy sunk up to his neck in mud in PRISONERS OF THE LOST UNIVERSE. This time we get movement under the sand, like TREMORS, that turns out to be little rubber puppet monsters.

I forget if it’s referring to that or not, but at some point Rhodes says “I’m gettin too old for this stuff,” which I liked since it sounded like a TV dub of LETHAL WEAPON.

Hurok (Richard Moll, THE JERICHO MILE, AMERICAN POP), leader of the one-eyed mutant Cyclopians, finds Dogen and Rhodes and is impressed that they found the mask but is going to execute them for trespassing until Dogen defeats him in ritualistic combat (occasionally pointing a dagger at the camera for 3D effect) and then spares his life, winning his respect. Now that they’re pals, Hurok points them in the direction of a war council meeting where Jared-Syn will be in attendance.

Although Jared-Syn and his men have cool costumes, almost cool enough to overcome his terrible haircut, I find them to be extremely boring villains. The most exciting thing about them is that the fake muscles on Jared-Syn’s armor kind of look like a face. Dogen’s vehicle also looks like a face (or at least a skull). Maybe the car and the muscles could be friends. Or maybe they could make out.

I guess I sort of like the gimmick that when Dogen puts on the crystal mask he has trippy visions. The one where he sees a tree with red light behind it and then hits it with an ax and it cries kinda reminds me of something that could be in LORDS OF SALEM.

For the finale there’s a “skybike” chase that’s pretty similar to RETURN OF THE JEDI’s speeder bike chase, except they fly higher, much slower, and only in a straight line. Just like the car chases do for MAD MAX, the skybike chase reminds you of how important speed, momentum and action storytelling are to the STAR WARS movies. Those guys knew what they were doing.

I’m actually really curious whether this is a coincidence or not. It seems very possible there was advanced awareness of the speeder bike chase, whether or not they had seen the finished product. Either way, their scene obviously pales in comparison, and it’s the finale, not just a high point in the middle. But in fairness to the makers of METALSTORM they did have to figure out how to do the FX in three dimensions, which I’m sure was difficult.

At the end of the chase they fly into a trippy grid of triangles and colored lights, kind of a 2001 light show deal, until Jared-Syn disappears. Dogen later explains that Jared-Syn “tapped into the Master Crystal. He created some sort of energy tunnel.” And he says that wherever he is, he’s going after him. Then he shoots the crystal. Then Rhodes drives him and Dhyana into town. The end.

I couldn’t tell if this was supposed to be a cliffhanger or not, but the Cinefantastique article mentions that Adler “based many of his ideas on the Atlantis legend, a theme he hopes to develop more fully in the proposed sequel,” and that they were hoping for a trilogy, which of course was not to be. If you are hoping to see any destruction of Jared-Syn, let alone the destruction of Jared-Syn, this one might not be your best choice. There is way too much Jared-Syn in the movie and zero destruction of him. Unless it’s supposed to be metaphorical.

Band had previously directed LAST FOXTROT IN BURBANK (1973) and CRASH! (1977) but considered this his second real movie after PARASITE (1982). By his standards its $2.5 million budget was extravagant, but it was piddly shit compared to most of the competition – even SPACEHUNTER cost almost five times as much. So it’s impressive that a 3D test reel at Cannes caught the attention of Universal, who picked it up to capitalize on all the theaters they’d convinced to get proper set ups for JAWS 3-D. They must’ve been pissed when it only made $5.3 million, but shit, that was a big win for Band, even if he couldn’t complete the trilogy or do the Metalstorm: The Sand Wars animated series or whatever.

Band has certainly been involved with some good movies (for example he produced several of Stuart Gordon’s classics) but many more of them are cheapo bullshit, so although this one isn’t great I gotta say it does feel like a real movie and is done on a much larger scale than most of Band’s works. It has some impressive FX work, like Baal’s robotic claw arm that mechanically opens up in what must’ve been a spectacular 3D shot. I would also like to praise the score by Charles’ brother and regular collaborator Richard Band. He got to work with an orchestra twice as big as he’d ever used before but he also throws in some interesting electronic parts here and there.

If you’d like a ranking of the trio of long-titled summer of ’83 sci-fi movies go, I would say PRISONERS OF THE LOST UNIVERSE takes a very, very distant third place for being terrible, METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN gets second for being fun at times, and SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE takes the gold for being easily the best and most entertaining, for whatever that’s worth.

As we discussed in the SPACEHUNTER review, the Cinefantastique 3D issue reported that technical problems with the 3D on that film rendered it painful to watch, and it seems to me it never overcame the initial bad impression that made. But the same issue raved about METALSTORM boasting “some of the best 3-D photography seen in years; crisp, well-lit and with a satisfying mixture of scenic landscapes and ‘off-the-screen’ gimmicks.”

On the other hand, Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times called it “a slow-moving, thoroughly derivative movie that makes little use of the possibilities of 3-D” and Gary Arnold of The Washington Post called it a “clownishly farfetched and inept adventure spectacle… the poor man’s SPACEHUNTER right down to an inferior grade of 3-D filming.”

Whoever’s right about that, Cinefantastique’s article paints a funny portrait of cinematographer Mac Ahlberg, who’d also shot PARASITE in 3D for Band. Ahlberg brags to the magazine that he fired the 3D consultant “because he was such a pain in the neck,” and purposely did everything they told him he couldn’t do (quick cuts, high contrast shots) because “there really are no rules to follow” in 3D. But as he elaborates it becomes clear that he really just followed his own set of rules based on a deep understanding of the format. For example, he talks about the importance of making the convergence of each shot flow out of the one before it and into the one after it, so that our eyes aren’t strained from bouncing back and forth. Later he says “Really, I hope that I never will have to work on a 3-D movie again. I find it so boring, so uninteresting.”

I do believe he got his wish, and he also continued working with Band until the very end – his last films were PUPPET MASTER: THE LEGACY, DR. MOREAU’S HOUSE OF PAIN, PETRIFIED, EVIL BONG, and THE EVIL CLERGYMAN. Along the way he also got to shoot such notable films as GHOST WARRIOR, RE-ANIMATOR, HOUSE, PRISON, Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” video, INNOCENT BLOOD, STRIKING DISTANCE, THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE, GOOD BURGER and KING OF THE ANTS. A career well spent.

Byron next starred in DUNGEONMASTER, directed by Band and co-starring Moll. Some of his later roles include “CHP Officer” in FALLING DOWN and “Test Administrator” in STAR TREK (the famous Kobiashi Maru test? I think so). Screenwriter Adler’s subsequent credits are Band’s THE ALCHEMIST (1983), one episode of the cartoon Ghostbusters (the one with the ape, not the one based on the movie) and one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was also a toy consultant on Barry Levinson’s TOYS (1992).

Band of course would soon become unhealthily fixated on small creatures and dolls, and through his company Full Moon Pictures was the mastermind of such killer-small-thing home video franchises as PUPPET MASTER, SUBSPECIES, DOLLMAN, DEMONIC TOYS, SHRUNKEN HEADS, LEAPIN’ LEPRECHAUNS, HEAD OF THE FAMILY, BLOOD DOLLS, RAGDOLL, EVIL BONG, SKULL HEADS, OOGA BOOGA, UNLUCKY CHARMS, TROPHY HEADS, WEEDJIES, THE GINGERBREAD MAN, THE GINGERWEED MAN, and CURSE OF THE DINKIES. I swear I only made up that last one, and it’s very possible I missed some other real ones.

Unlike any other director mentioned in this series of reviews, Band did a tour of rock clubs in the aughts called Charles Band’s Full Moon Horror Road Show. From what I remember he told stories, showed clips, tried to auction off memorabilia, and did some very dumb skits described on the poster as “unspeakable acts on stage!” It seemed like he was trying to make Full Moon into a brand name more like Troma, and at times it was kind of sad. One of his gimmicks was to convince a few local volunteers to show their boobs on stage, but that violated Washington State liquor laws so they had to have tape over their nipples. It was cool though to see some of the puppets on display.

Unfortunately I hadn’t seen METALSTORM then so if he talked about it it didn’t make much of an impression.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Amazingly, YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE was released in the U.S. on the same day. It’s a goofy but enjoyable condensed version of an Italian mini-series starring Reb Brown as a barbarian fighting dinosaurs and rich people who are armed with lasers. According to The Numbers it opened slightly better than METALSTORM (coming in 7th above METALSTORM’s 8th), but on more than twice as many screens with a lower per-screen average, and it ultimately made about half of what METALSTORM did at the domestic box office. Check out my review from 2019 for more on the movie.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 25th, 2023 at 2:58 pm and is filed under Reviews, Fantasy/Swords, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

27 Responses to “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn”

  1. I’m pretty behind on Charles Band. I’m not sure I’ll have the same appreciation for his stuff now that I’m older compared to if I were exposed to it at an earlier age. Anyone want to recommend a place to start, if one exists? I saw LASERBLAST and hated every stupid cheap moment of it to the point where I was like “I used to like shlock! What’s wrong with me?” I feel like a part of me is forever stuck in that endless final scene while that crap monotonous score drones on.

    I really do think METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN is one of those movies that could use a remake-in-title-only. I mean, that title. There’s so much going on there! Jared-Syn is an appropriately named bad guy, but he’s due his just desserts. In the middle of a storm of metal! ChatGPT could easily write the screenplay and turn it into a big budget Shawn Levy joint.

  2. I always thought the title would’ve been perfect for a hair metal concept album.

  3. GEORGE LUCAS: I envision a vast universe of varying environments, from desert to snow to forest and beyond, populated by distinct cultures that seem endemic to those environments.

    EVERYBODY ELSE: Rocks! Big rocks! People with no sleeves climbing on big rocks! Maybe some crazy dudes with car parts strapped to their forearms or something! Are we done yet?

  4. In all fairness, I guess it’s more like:

    Lucas: “I have a huge budget and can do whatever I want!”

    Everybody else: “Yeah, well…we might have the money for some TV actors and bit of make up plus some cartoon lasers and maybe a starship model or two. So we probably have to shoot somewhere in a quarry and hope it passes as alien world.”

    (Still no real excuse for their lack of imagination though.)

  5. Well, Disney has a huge budget and can do whatever they want, but their Star Wars tends to be TV actors, a bit of make-up, the Volume, and maybe a starship model or two. So yeah, I’ll go with Lucas being Built Different(tm).

  6. grimgrinningchris

    August 26th, 2023 at 5:02 pm

    Speaking of speederbikes and rocks (or rock). What in the absolute fuck was up with a guitar driven rock/pop song (with vocals!) in the speeder bike scene?!?

    Don’t they know pulling some shit like that is (part of, but a HUGE one) what ruined the Willow series?

    I don’t want anyone singing in Star Wars except Ewoks, Sy Snootles and Bea Arthur.

  7. Lapti Nek was like 10, 15 years ago. Styles change. (I kinda liked the weird choice of using needle drops in Willow. What ruined the show was when they fucking deleted it from existence as a tax write off!)

  8. grimgrinningchris

    August 27th, 2023 at 2:07 am

    I read that the song was written for the show.

    Regardless, it doesn’t sit right. Same as Willow. This is a world where tones (and tones) have been established. And guitar rock/pop isn’t one of them.

    As for Willow, I’m sad for Warwick Davis, since he championed for the story to continue for so long and hadn’t had a great part since Life’s Too Short, but that’s about it. And for fans, like myself who were really excited for the show and just terribly disappointed. Tax write off, that’s a corporate BS bummer… but the show would’ve been cancelled anyway. Actual reviews were pretty tepid and middling. Fan reaction was far worse. (Even ignoring the dummies who had mealy mouthed problems with a same sexy couple). And the show just wasn’t popular enough to justify its budget.
    It LOOKED great but from the weak new characters to the awful “and then in was like and then she was like so I’m like…” dialogue to the music… nothing felt right and nothing flowed right. I have zero problem with incongruous or anachronistic stuff if that’s the point of a thing from the get go and there IS a point to it (metal and “metal” in 300 movies, 70s classic rock in A Knights Tale etc) but in both of these Lucasfilm joints, it’s seemed like blatant chasing of… something… and lame.
    I audibly (and by myself) got even more disappointed, confused and knew I was giving up (even if there WAS going to be a second season) when the big Fellowship ending the season one had the quiet preguitar intro come in “no…. Noooo… no, no… they can’t be… they aren’t… oh, jeez, they ARE!” when the opening riff of Money For Nothing” kicked in. And this was after a season of MULTIPLE “breathy warbly girl doing sad, slow cover of popular song” (already a punchline from overuse in trailers over a decade ago) misplaced anime pop punk and Metallica songs.

  9. Well, I didn’t love Willow, but it was fun, it deserved to exist on blu-ray at least. It’s true that it’s very different from the movie, but they were making an attempt (failed perhaps) to approach fantasy in a way that’s contemporary for now but doesn’t feel similar to Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings etc. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS did it better but they didn’t really get a chance to connect with enough people to catch on either.

    This show I’m loving so far and though I agree the music was an odd choice it worked for me and really is not that far from a Star Wars version of punk compared to Sy Snootles’ version of disco. (Also, Book of Boba Fett already broke the dam by using MORTAL KOMBAT-esque techno scoring in one part.)

  10. We live in a time where Vern talks more about STAR WARS and has seen more it than me.

  11. I know some 50s/60s British films, like Peter Sellers’ sole directorial effort MR TOPAZE, could not be shown for commercial gain for many years after their initial unsuccessful runs for tax reasons, so like all ideas good and bad, it’s nothing new. Still MR TOPAZE did eventually get a Blu-Ray release, so cheer up, 50 years will go quicker than you think!

    My relationship with Charles Band is mostly limited to my 20 year quest to find out how much GHOULIES actually made on its original US release. A lot of sources unquestioningly regurgitate the unsubstantiated claim it made $35million in the US, at the time enough to put you in the Top 30 for the year, in 1985 enough to specifically put GHOULIES somewhere around COMMANDO and THUNDERDOME. Needless to say I do not believe this to be true.

    To be clear my questing is limited to a search every 6 months or so, about one in every 5 going beyond the first Google page. A more dedicated quester would have probably got to the truth in 20 years.

    But I don’t know if you can really be a Troma-style brand when your son is the lead singer of The Calling.

  12. Republican Cloth Coat

    August 27th, 2023 at 11:29 am

    Commander USA’s Groovy Movies showed this crap so much it drove me to get out of the house.

    In response to the first comment, there is no good way to start with Band and the trend accelerates as you go on.

    The lower numbers use less recycled footage, though.

    And I sort of enjoyed some of the performances in Head Of the Family.

  13. grimgrinningchris

    August 27th, 2023 at 7:18 pm


    I think what the D&D movie achieved is the tone the Willow series attempted and failed at. And I think the constant needle drops (several with absolutely no to al or lyrical or thematic for that I could point to) , in an effort to GOTG up the joint hurt more than it helped.

    I’m sticking with Ahsoka for now but and if I don’t turn totally turn around on it, may even give it a second go down the way after I watch at least some of Rebels.

    Back this one… I’ve never seen it. I’ve just known since I was a kid that Bull was in it and had some idea there were some sort of speeder bike meets Flash Gordon rocket cycles in it.
    But I somehow saw Spacehunter on cable toms of times back in the day. And this was just the sort of thing I’d rent on a whim for the box cover at 8 or 9.

  14. In the early 80s there were a movie like this for every MAD MAX 2, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and FIRST BLOOD. And after renting WARRIORS OF THE 21ST CENTURY, ICE PIRATES, BLASTFIGHTER, STARCRASH, TORNADO, THUNDER, 2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK, WHEELS OF FIRE, HANDS OF STEEL, SPACEHUNTER and a bunch of others, you soon realized that George Lucas, John Carpenter, Ted Kotcheff and George Miller had something the other guys didn’t.

  15. Oh my God these cheapo 80s Mad Max sci-fi movies are so dull. I remember seeing a trailer for this as a kid and it had kind of cool bits then much later see the movie and it’s just a slog. At least Band was able to reuse half the cast and all the cars for Dungeonmaster to get his money’s worth.

    Still, funny to see even a low budget movie from back in the day and a low budget one today. You probably ain’t getting any sci-fi cars or explosions.

  16. I wonder if the intent of the title was actually “this destruction belongs to or was caused by Jared-Syn” like the “reign of King Henry the VIII”?

  17. grimgrinningchris

    August 28th, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    Ice Pirates had the bones of a solid mashup. I think we even discussed how it was originally supposed to be a serious movie. And can see where it could have worked as such, even with the same cast, story, locations, sets, designs… etc…

    That said, of all of these I still think it’s the best one. Though I probably rented Spacehunter just as much as a kid. Again, weird that I never rented METALSTORM since I know I was totally aware of it.

  18. I actually liked Spacehunter. It’s clunky and junky but kind of fun, and not aggressively stupid. Michael Ironside in that pretty cool robot getup, so-so action but enough of it. Basically has the structure of a typical 80s fantasy movie where there’s a quest but maybe 40 minutes of side quests that have nothing really to do with it.

    Tim Thomerson really should have been the lead though. That alone would have improved the movie 20%.

  19. grimgrinningchris

    August 28th, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    Thomerson makes anything at least 20% better. I can’t believe he was never really able to carve out workman’s character actor in mainstream Hollywood.

    I mean, shit, was his biggest part in a mainstream movie in WHO’S HARRY CRUMB?

  20. I think he did though, it’s just not really geek stuff so maybe under a lot of people’s radar for his particular fans which are probably all from 3-5 movies he made. I just looekd at his credits expecting to see 30-40 and saw a whopping 200! And stuff like a Mel Gibson flick, Ally McBeal, Xena, all kinds of stuff. Also interesting that he was going strong a few ten years before Trancers.

  21. grimgrinningchris

    August 29th, 2023 at 3:11 am

    Oh wow. I wanna THINK that I’ve seen every Xena episode and don’t remember that. (I first noticed him as a kid in Cherry 2000 and Harry Crumb). I’ll have to look that up!

  22. I can confirm that the 3D version of this is a frequent eyesore. From my Letterboxd post about it:

    “What makes it noteworthy is its, shall we say, inconsistent use of 3D that rivals [Godard’s 3D movie] Goodbye to Language, albeit unintentionally, in places in terms of how it breaks the medium. It cuts willy nilly between eyeball-punishing shots where the poor framing makes elements of the two images (especially backgrounds) impossible to reconcile, shots that force your eyes to do way too much refocusing, shots that don’t look particularly 3D at all, and every now and then some really interesting, striking 3D framings. (It also does a lot of throwing things directly at the audience, and mostly does a good job of it). It’s a sometimes disorienting mishmash of nonsense, but there are few movies that force the audience to actively watch and take note of the cinematography the way that this does.”

  23. grim I definitely remember him on it, cause I love the guy. The show had both he and Bruce Campbell, I don’t think they ever shared any scenes but they really should have!

  24. Star Wars already gave us rockin’ electric guitar in an actual John Williams score. Check out 3:17-3:33 and 5:12-5:16

    I get wanting to stay consistent with an established style, but so often that tips over into an attitude of “if it hasn’t been done already, it shouldn’t be done” which, at its extreme, means don’t visit new worlds or introduce new characters or establish new concepts. Star Wars seems to attract that mindset more than any other franchise.

    The rock music in that AHSHOKA chase scene sounded like a Japanese pop song to my ears (though it was probably Huttese or something) and the influence of Japanese pop culture on Star Wars is already extensive, so it seemed like a natural fit to me.

    Also, THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT had vocals in its *theme song* for heaven’s sake. THE MANDALORIAN didn’t, but it had a Spaghetti Western-esque sound which established that Star Wars could handle types of scoring outside of the John Williams tradition.

    New styles and approaches are refreshing!

  25. Band has put out quite a few movies I’ve rewatched as an adult and enjoyed – best is probably CASTLE FREAK, but I also have a soft spot for the first couple of TRANCERS, SUBSPECIES, DR. MORDRID. The PUPPET MASTER and a couple of his other well-known ones are bad but kind of fun. His bad stuff can be insufferable though and that sadly includes the majority of the full moon pictures output. I gave up on him in the early 00s, with a few exceptions. This does mean I missed GINGERDEAD MAN VS EVIL BONG though.

    METALSTORM… nope, no memory of it – If I did see it it left no impression.

    @Pacman – this is completely anecdotal, but I was living in the US when GHOULIES came out and I remember it getting a lot of publicity for what seemed like a long time. I convinced my folks to take me to watch it, and then a friend’s birthday party took a large group of us to see it as well.

  26. @Deadguacamole, thanks for the anecdote, I don’t deny it must have done very well for what it was (thus GHOULIES II which was Direct to Video but did have a tie-in W.A.S.P. song!) but what it was was I suspect not a COMMANDO-level mini-smash. I guess it’s no less implausible than THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER making almost as much as CONAN THE BARBARIN, but that’s documented; back when Box Office Mojo was good/usable they used to cross-reference each film with all the US Box Office Charts dating back to 1982, and GHOULIES never showed up. I suppose it’s possible it made that kind of money going city to city and not showing up on the main charts, but seems unlikely.

  27. I think lying about box office was standard practice for some of these mini-studios back then, probably because video stores would order more copies of a movie they thought was coming off a successful theatrical run. I just heard about Crown International doing that for MY CHAUFFEUR, claiming that it made more than THE COLOR PURPLE. They got called on it and exposed and it became a minor scandal. Anybody who’s seen any of the later PUPPET MASTER sequels that are barely 70 minutes long and comprised mostly of old footage knows that Band had no shame whatsoever so I wouldn’t put it past him to inflate GHOULIES’ earnings beyond all sense and reason.

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