the tenth victim (1965)
directed by carlo ponti
this film was adapted from a story by robert sheckley called the seventh victim (somebody had already used that title for a different movie). it takes place in the future, where people engage in a sport called the hunt, in which people alternately kill human prey and try not to be killed by other humans chasing them. once you survive ten rounds, you get fame, fortune, and special privileges. the main two characters are played by marcello mastroianni and ursula andress, who apparently, at some point in the film, shoots somebody with her bra. i haven't been able to find it this on video yet, but it seems from the few pictures i've seen of it that it looks nice at least.
directed by jean-luc godard
i'll be damned if this wasn't one of the most boring, confusing movies i've ever seen. i really wanted to like it, and i tried to watch the whole thing, but i just couldn't make it. i've seen very few french films, and i feel its like a mark against my intelligence or something, so i rented this since the description and the small photograph on the video box, both seemed promising. but i had to quit part of the way through. i even tried to have it on as background while i did something else, but there was this low scratchy-voiced character (kind of a "big brother" deal, over a loudspeaker or something, i think) and some high pitched noises that irritated me enough to turn it off completely.
directed by roger vadim
if i were very rich, i would surely devote one wing of my huge mansion to a barbarella decorating scheme. i must have seen this when i was little, because surely my love of fake fur (especially on the walls), clear plastic furniture, and bad 60s pop music stems from this very film. barbarella is an earth girl who has sex with various aliens and saves the day with the help of a blind angel. i love the title song, and david hemmings (who plays the photographer in blow-up) as dildano. which reminds me, besides the ones already taken (duran duran, matmos, and probably others i don't know about), this movie is chock full of band names waiting to be snatched up. if you haven't ever seen this, rent it tonight, or look for the comic it was based on, by jean-claude forrest.
fantastic voyage (1966)
this one was not as interesting as i'd expected. a submarine and a crew of people, one of whom is raquel welch, are miniaturized and injected into this guy's bloodstream to fix a clot in his brain. one of the crew is a saboteur, and because of them, the hapless crew runs into all sorts of trouble, most of it caused by the body's natural functions, like blood pumping, breathing, and blood cells attacking them as if they were bacteria. the special effects are mostly pretty bubbles and giant seaweed-looking things probably made from foam rubber. i should rent that movie with dennis quaid and martin short that bit this same idea, and see if it is any better. and by the way, there isn't much nice furniture or clothes in this, so i'm not sure why i picked it, really.
moon zero two (1969)
made by hammer films
another one i can't find, but it seems promising, visually at least. in fact, it inspired this whole article, since one of the stills i've seen from it features... the chair. so i figured there must be other 60s sci-fi with similar appeal, and the rest is history. a brief plot rundown - in the 2250s, a space ferry pilot is hired to retrieve a big sapphire asteroid and move it to the far side of the moon. he's also hired by a beautiful woman (the love interest) to investigate her brother's murder. the two missions turn out to be related, surprise surprise. one of the sci-fi books i looked in described the "moon city" interior shots as "well-designed") which i think translates into a lot of costumes and furniture like the ones shown in the picture.
2001: a space odyssey (1969)
directed by stanley kubrick
this is a classic, and like with most classics, i've only seen bits and pieces of it. my dad used to tease me by playing the soundtrack when i was little, and it scared the hell out of me, especially the one song with the buzzing, so i was never really thrilled to watch the film. also i've heard it's slow-paced, and i like films with a lot going on. though i know that it's a very beautiful film, with lovely special effects and scenery, and one of these days i will buckle down and sit through it. there is a lot of nice furniture in it, also.
a clockwork orange (1971)
directed by stanley kubrick
apparently there is a bar in nyc named after, and decorated like, the korova milkbar. while this seems like a typical nyc-folks-trying -to-hard thing, i still would like to see it. as with 2001, it's quite famous so i probably don't need to describe plot or urge you to see it. i would, though, suggest reading the book, which if you get the right edition, has a different ending than the film. the variations have something to do with censorship issues. kubrick himself banned the film in the uk, though i think that was overturned maybe five years ago. a very visually stylish film, so much so, that critics are still arguing over whether the violence and sex in it is glorified, glamorized, stylized, or some combination of those. also, more than any of the other films i've mentioned, this film seems to influence a lot of halloween costume decisions.
logan's run (1976)
in the future, after some nuclear problems and overpopulation, people live in a wondrous domed city full of mylar and neon. the glitch is that once you turn thirty, this crystal on your hand starts blinking, and you have to submit to "carousel," where, supposedly, you have a chance to be "renewed." people who don't believe that and try to escape are called "runners," and the sharply-uniformed guys who chase them are called "sandmen." logan is a sandman forced to go undercover as a runner, to find the place called "sanctuary" that they try to run to. along the way he has to deal with a love interest, his best friend, and farrah fawcet (in a small part). the city is a beaut, with the highlights being "new you" and "sex shop" establishments in the city. but the last quarter of the movie is a real letdown, which f you don't want spoiled, don't read past this sentence. our hero and heroine do indeed make it out of the dome, only to find a cheap planet of the apes trick and peter ustinov as "old man" who has lots of cats and recites eliot. don't watch past the part where they walk out into the sun. another bad idea: watching the horrible tv series they made from this movie.
ufo (circa 1970)
this is a tv show, brought to you by gerry and sylvia anderson (the people who did thunderbirds and those other scary wobbly-head marionette extravaganzas, though this one is bizarre enough with a human cast). it's both odd and great, mostly because of its costumes. i haven't seen it in a bit, so this is from memory: SHADO, an undercover organization, works to investigate and repel aliens. unlike the x-files, there are definite extraterrestrial bad guys. or at least spaceships - i'm not sure if you ever do see an alien. on earth, the organization's cover is a movie studio, where the office equipment, special technology, and uniforms are all pretty snazzy. and there are two other bases that look even better. the underwater hq is manned by manly men costumed in white mesh (!) and the space post is run by lovely ladies outfitted in silver minidresses and purple wigs (!!). this movie is club decor waiting to happen. and just when you think it couldn't get better - there are all sorts of gratuitous scenes of the various operatives hanging out in their respective lounges (on the moon they apply make-up often). oh, and they have british accents! great theme music and sound effects as well - a stellar show, and you can catch it on the sci-fi network every so often. check out the links page for ufo webpages.
sci-fi epilogue: i didn't write about the prisoner because i've never seen it. despite various people telling me that i would like it, it just didn't seem my thing. i had never seen a picture of it or anything... until the other day, when i was idly leafing through a coffee table book for it and came across several pictures of... the chair. it seems to appear in a lot of episodes. it looks like an interesting show, but i don't have time to rent the videos at the moment. more good movies and tv shows that you can try: battlestar galactica, planet of the apes, dark star, buck rogers, sleeper, space:1999, and last but not least, the charming disco-fantasy xanadu, which might deserve a whole zine of its own... get back to me on that one.