The Dark Side of the Moon (1990) – Film Review

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Director: DJ Webster
Cast: Robert Sampson, Will Bledsoe, Joe Turkel
Certificate: 18

by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow

I thought I was aware of every Alien clone, but this curio was a new one on me. Made in 1990, I expect it to be a cheese fest with poor effects, a so-so script and cardboard sets. And while the modest budget obviously means it’s no blockbuster, it’s far from a disaster either.

A little like cult mid-eighties flop Lifeforce, it sees an apparently abandoned space shuttle intercepted by an Earth ship. On board is an ill-fated soul with a triangle carved in his chest. What happened to the rest of the crew? Why has he got such horrific injuries, and isn’t that the bloke from The Shining and Blade Runner?

Yes, Joe Turkel who popped up in both classics, paid the rent with this derivative and yet intriguing thriller. While the crew of the docked ship try to figure out what went on, it’s clear something evil is at work.

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“More depth than expected”

Though most of the cast are pretty generic, from the blond hero to the potty mouthed weapon-toting crewmate, there are some good ideas here which are reminiscent of a couple of projects that came later: Event Horizon, and excellent Doctor Who episode ‘The Satan Pit’.

While doing a little research, I’m not surprised it has more depth than expected as the creators of cash cow horror franchise The Conjuring penned the screenplay. Chad and Carey Hayes know a thing or two about scaring audiences, though in the hands of director/pop promo veteran DJ Webster, this could have done with less nods to Alien and Aliens.

So the effects work is smart in an era before CGI dominated Hollywood, and though not perfect, it does feature some good touches.

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“Looks pretty good”

It’s a little cheesy in places, and could have done with snappier editing, but not the disaster I’d feared. A shame about one of the worst seduction scenes ever, but if you stick with it, The Dark Side of the Moon is a space oddity that’s worth a look.

And the bluray version looks pretty good, with commentary and other goodies for fans to lap up.

Yes it’s the sort of thing that crops up on SyFy or the Horror Channel around 10pm, but I’m a sucker for haunted spaceship thrillers, and this is better than many I’ve sat through. Don’t expect too much and it works wonders.

‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is released on Blu-ray by MVD


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