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  Day Time Ended, The The Family Of The Future
Year: 1979
Director: John 'Bud' Cardos
Stars: Jim Davis, Christopher Mitchum, Dorothy Malone, Marcy Lafferty, Natasha Ryan, Scott C. Kolden, Roberto Contreras
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Some time ago, or it might have been just now, or possibly in the future, it's hard to say, Grant Williams (Jim Davis) was living in the desert inside a solar powered house of which he was very proud and looking forward to showing it off to his family, who were on their way to stay with him for a while. That family included his wife Ana (Dorothy Malone) and their sons Richard (Christopher Mitchum) and the teenage Steve (Scott C. Kolden), though Richard was not able to stay long, and was planning to leave his wife Beth (Marcy Lafferty) and their daughter Jenny (Natasha Ryan) with Grant - but then a triple supernova caught up with Planet Earth.

Well, who could have seen that coming? But then, there was a lot about The Day Time Ended sprung on the audience out of the blue, leaving it regarded in some quarters as one of the most confusing science fiction films ever made and breeding resentment in many a viewer for the random quality of its plotting. It was true the script seemed to have been penned by people who knew what they were doing - a Close Encounters of the Third Kind rip-off, essentially - but something appeared to have been lost in translation, mostly due to the fixation on dazzling the audience with a special effects extravaganza.

Or it would have been an extravaganza if producer Charles Band had stumped up Spielbergian amounts of cash to fund the project's ambition, which for some left the entertainment value lacking, but if you were fond of old school effects such as travelling mattes and stop motion and a general light show, then you could have been a lot more forgiviing of what they achieved. After a while this began to resemble a special effects showreel more than it did a movie with a proper storyline, as the narrative broke down into "weird thing happens, then characters react to it" for about an hour, and this was very brief for a feature, as if they had planned to make more of the movie but the cash ran out.

So what you had was under eighty minutes of Grant's family (was he deliberately named after the star of The Incredible Shrinking Man?) getting discombobulated by some kind of alien activity triggered by this triple supernova which may or may not have something to do with the attraction provided by living in a solar powered house (the architecture was interesting, if nothing else). Whereupon the whiny-voiced Jenny follows her pony around a corner of the stables and finds a glowing green pyramid, which when she hugs it brings back the animal, but on returning to show her grandparents notices it has disappeared - except it hasn't, it's only shrunk, so she pops it into her pocket and thinks no more about it. Until that green glow begins to show up elsewhere.

And accompanying it, the likes of a stop motion alien bloke about a foot high, and what came to be termed as "The Vacuum Cleaner of Doom", a contraption which floats into the house, zaps a bullet fired at it by Grant, and causes everyone to hide upstairs. Then there are the lights zooming around outside which may or may not represent a conflict between extraterrestrial races, as all the while an increasingly concerned Richard breaks off his business trip to get back to the house as fast as he can. If nothing else, there was a faith in the strength of the family to keep this on an even keel, but even after all that affirmation you didn't get much other than what an episode of Fantastic Journey would have given you, which this film sort of resembled. Although that wouldn't have allotted so much space to depicting a couple of stop motion monsters battering the hell out of each other, as if the Bands were in the thrall of the effects wizards more than they were the screenwriters. Where were they going at the end? Music by Richard Band.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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