TROUBLE CITY

31 Days of Horror: Scream & Shout! Day 5

ReviewsRyan CoveyComment
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Saturn 3 (1980)

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What's It About?

After failing his psych evaluation, Captain Benson (Harvey Keitel) kills the lone member of an expedition to a hydroponics farm on the surface of Saturn and take his place.  Upon meeting the two person crew of the farm Alex(Farrah Fawcett) and Adam (Kirk Douglas), Benson becomes obsessed with Alex.

Benson sets up a service robot named Hector whose purpose is to replace the aged Adam on the farm.  The robot is operated by a cloned brain which is capable of learning, Benson also boosts its learning by transmitting his brainwaves into the robot using a special antenna.

Soon the robot has picked up on Benson's ruthlessness and obsession with Alex.  Things go predictably bad.

Is It Any Good?

Saturn 3 is a movie where Farrah Fawcett is the lust object of a creep with no understanding of social cues, a man 31 years her senior, and a giant dopey-looking robot with knife hands.  No it is not good, it is very very dumb.

First of all, let's talk about Hector: he does not look menacing.  His weird desk-lamp head is about the most overtly cute design element I've ever seen on a robot.  Johnny 5 and Wall-E wish they were as cute as Hector.  He also moves very slow and very clumsily so he operates on Jason Voorhees of just popping up wherever he needs to be whenever he needs to be there.

Then there's our other villain, Benson.  Harvey Keitel is one of the greatest actors of the modern era but you'd never know it if this is the only movie you had seen him in.  Benson talks in a quiet monotone and is very haughty.  It's a role that not many actors could've made work for them (Jeffrey Combs probably could've done something with it) but Harvey Keitel just seems to be picking up a paycheck here.

Farrah Fawcett and Kirk Douglas are great and have some pretty decent chemistry but the thirty year age difference makes their relationship somewhat skeevy.  The way Fawcett behaves more like Douglas' teenage daughter and how he talks to her in the same manner is upsetting.

There is a certain kitschy charm about the design aesthetic and feel of the movie, kind of hearkening back to the goofy space thrillers of the '60s and '70s.  But Saturn 3 isn't silly enough to be very much fun and if we're meant to take the movie seriously then it's not terribly compelling either.  It's better than bad, but it's not good.

Watch, Toss, or Buy

Watch if you want but I'd give it a toss.