Space Mutiny

Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz!
I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Spandex” with a minor in “Spaceships made of bricks”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!

This week it’s the intergalactic schlock fest Space Mutiny!

Space Mutiny

It is the distant future and the intra-galactic space-colony-ship Southern Sun (which bears a strong resemblance to the Battlestar Galactica) is on a multi-generational trip to settle a new star system. But Kalgan, the head of the ship’s security team, the Enforcers, has other plans. Tired of his fate to live and die aboard the ship before it ever reaches its destination, Kalgan conspires with MacPhearson, the ship’s chief engineer, and space pirates from the nearby Corona Borealis system to sabotage the ship and stage a mutiny. Decorated fighter pilot Dave Ryder is the Southern Sun’s only hope! Commander Alex Jansen quickly sends Ryder and his daughter Lea to stop Kalgan and his plot, but can they stop the SPACE MUTINY in time??

Released in 1988 and filmed in South Africa, Space mutiny is a hilariously bad low-budget sci-fi adventure made famous as one of the funniest and most popular episodes of the movie-mocking TV comedy series Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Starring Reb Brown (who starred in the Captain America TV movie and in Yor, The Hunter of the Future) as Dave Ryder, John Phillip Law (best known for his roles in Barbarella and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad) as Flight Commander Kalgan, and Cisse Cameron, (best known for her role in Porky’s II: The Next Day), as Dr. Lea Jansen, Space Mutiny has nothing but the best B and C-movie stars gracing it’s 93 minute run-time. Cameron Mitchell, who plays Commander Alex Jansen (aka Santa Claus), even played Jaimy’s father in the Supercult classic Deadly Prey!

David Winters (known for acting in the film version of West Side Story and for producing Deadly Prey) is credited as the director of Space Mutiny, but, due to the death of a close relative, most of the film was actually directed by Neal Sundstrom. However, Sundstrom was not pleased with the end result, blaming a lack of care and attention in pre-production, and refused to be credited as anything more than co-director. Winters was equally unhappy with the film and attempted to have his name replaced with that of the fictional Alan Smithee, a common pseudonym for directors whose film was taken away from him or her and recut heavily against his or her wishes, but due to his contract he was unable to do so. That’s right, the people who made this movie were tripping over each other to pass the blame!

Space Mutiny is basically the perfect Supercult film. The wardrobe is nothing but spandex and tinfoil and the sets boast AstroTurf and floor buffers painted silver for use in the ‘exciting’ chase sequences. The engineering areas of the ship were filmed in an industrial building with un-futuristic brick walls and concrete floors, while the bridge looks remarkably like a vintage-1980s corporate office, complete with non-shag, neutral carpeting, white particleboard desks, computers with 16-color displays and floppy disk drives. Kalgan’s “torture chamber” set, on the other hand, features contemporary computer keyboards inexplicably mounted on the walls.

ALL of the space-battle footage is lifted directly from the 1978 TV series Battlestar Galactica. Early in the film Lt. Lamont is killed by Kalgan and then appears later in the film working at a computer terminal as if nothing happened. Actress Cisse Cameron has her name misspelled in the opening credits of the film, and during fight scenes the walls of the cheaply made sets wobble when characters bump into them. At least one time on the bridge, early on in the film, the “computer” monitor shows footage from later in the film: it’s a fight scene, before there have even been any fights.

Seriously? Plasma balls?

Seriously? Plasma balls?

Because many of the sets for Space Mutiny were simply found locations, the space-colony-ship Southern Sun has an awful lot of glass windows with sunlight pouring in. Aware that this would spoil the illusion of the Southern Sun actually being in space, cinematographer Vincent G. Cox used color filters to give the sunlight an orange-red look, and asked director David Winters to insert a line about how the “windows” were actually part of the Southern Sun’s engines and/or reactor system. Unfortunately, Cox’s efforts were in vain, as the film processing lab mistakenly corrected the sunlight back to its original color, and Winters’ replacement, Neal Sundstrom neglected to film any explanation as to what the windows were doing there.

The movie’s editing flaws, stilted dialogue, and poor production lent itself well to the MST3K treatment. In the episode Dave Ryder, the muscular protagonist, is referred to by many ridiculous names, including but not limited to, “Slab Bulkhead,” “Crunch Buttsteak”, “Thick McRunfast”, “Bolt Vanderhuge”, “Fridge Largemeat,” “Gristle McThornbody”, “Punt Speedchunk”, and “Big McLarge Huge”; Ryder’s love interest, Lea Jansen, who in the movie appears to be much older than him, is referred to as Commander Jansen’s “grandmadaughter”; Commander Jansen is consistently compared to Santa Claus, due to his white hair and beard, while Captain Devers is compared to Sting and Kalgan is noted for his resemblance to Pat Riley, current president of the Miami Heat. Furthermore, Kalgan’s continuously strained expressions are attributed to him trying to force his skull out of his skin.

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Space Mutiny has no review score and an 11% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and with a score of 1.9 on IMDB it ranks 7th on the IMDB Bottom 100 movies! Eccentric Cinema described Space Mutiny as “quite possibly the worst science fiction/space adventure film made in English”. To that I say, one language down…several thousand languages to go!

The Supercult show proudly presents Space Mutiny!



One thought on “Space Mutiny

  1. Pingback: Chairman of the Board | super cult show super blog

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