Sunday, March 8, 2009

Welcome to Blood City (1977)

Director: Peter Sasdy

Starring: Jack Palance, Keir Dullea, Samantha Eggar, Barry Morse

More Info: IMDB

Plot: A group of people find themselves as slaves in what looks like a Wild West town, but with no memory of who they are or how they got there. In this town, people advance through killing others. One of the people decides to go for the top position.

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Probably not until a better print comes along

Despite it's lackluster production values and the fact that the copy I watched was a crappy, over-cropped pan & scan copy, I really enjoyed it.

This is not a remake WESTWORLD (1973) as some would like you to believe. Westworld dealt with a theme park robot that went loopy and started killing people. WTBC is about a scientific experiment that places innocent victims in a virtual reality to test their skills. So the only thing these two have in common are that they're both Sci-Fi Westerns. If anything WTBC is closer to The Prisoner episode, "Living In Harmony" than anything else.

THE man - Jack Palance

Keir "2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY" Dullea

Palance is a lot of fun, as usual, and HE'S having fun without over-doing it as he sometimes did in the 70s (plus he's not drunk). The rest of the cast does a fine job as well. For the most part I'm satisfied with the plot details that were given but I would have liked a little bit more. For example, in the beginning the "experiment subjects" have cards in their pockets labeling them murderers and how many people they killed. Now, unless those cards are only there to give the subjects a tiny bit of info as to who they are and maybe why they are there, I'd like to know more about their purpose. However, I really like that the film makers don't hold your hand and spoon feed you the information, allowing you to think for yourself. I guess I can't have my cake and eat it, too.

Roy Budd turns in a good score, too, except I can do without the musical saw that showed up from time to time. It's threatening where it needs to be and there are times where the film could have used more music instead of some scenes sitting there flat without any at all.

I've been going through a 70's Sci-Fi kick recently, searching out films I hadn't seen before. This one was a pleasant surprise. Yeah, it has pacing issues but it's got a great concept and it's a film that really relies on the story, not the effects. And that's a nice change of pace compared to what we've been given for the past 20 years.

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