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Friday, August 23, 2019

The Killings at Outpost Zeta (1980)




The seventies were a good decade for science fiction. Between Star Wars, Alien, and the relaunch of the Star Trek franchise we had a lot of good stuff. That lead to a lot of knock off movies trying to tap into the newfound love for the genre. I’ve seen movies try to cash in on one of the three franchises mentioned above but never all three. This should be interesting.

Outpost Zeta is either the planet or the name of the base on a newly discovered planet. The movie opens with a man yelling at the radio because the rescue team sent to investigate why the outpost went silent has itself gone quiet. After a staff meeting with some generals, pay attention to what I just said, he assembles another rescue team. This will actually be the third one since two have been sent and lost. They have a second staff meeting to discuss this and other challenges they might face. Then it is time to blast off into space. Once on the way to Zeta the crew has a staff meeting to figure out what they might encounter. They land and find a lot of bodies at the base. This leads to an autopsy (offscreen) and another staff meeting to discuss the results. God Damn it movie!

I don’t understand what they were thinking when they made this movie. For most of the duration nothing happens but people sitting around talking about what might happen. When I say they keep having staff meetings that isn’t me trying to be funny. I’m being serious as this is what most of the movie is. They do eventually find the monster(s) which turn out to be rock creatures. At least that is what I think they are because we hardly get to see them on the screen. When we do it looks like those papier-mâché rocks from Star Trek the original series. Speaking of that the organization that they belong to is called Star Fleet… and they are all wearing red! You know that doesn’t bode well for the crew.

Speaking of Star Trek with the rock monsters and the fact that the “babies” are trapped in the base this feels a lot like the Horta episode. Though there even with that next to no budget the series had they still managed a better creature. Sure, it was a guy under a blanket with fake rocks glued to it… but it is still better.

Nano Nano...
Let’s see what we have so far. Humans trapped with a monster that is killing them one at a time and then laying their young in the bodies to grow. That checks the Alien box. Then we have the above bits with Star Fleet, red shirts, and the rock monster. That should cover Star Trek pretty well. So, what about Star Wars? Well there is a scene during their escape where they are shooting lasers down the hallway and one of them pulls a grate off so they can sneak off. The female lead makes some familiar comments before reluctantly jumping in followed by the hero. Sound familiar? Time to check off that Star Wars box.

This is a horrible movie that I’ll never watch again. It is tedious and reminds me why most attempts at science fiction movies/shows tended to fail. But it also feels like as someone who grew up in the seventies as well as the early days of VHS rentals, I needed to watch The Killings at Outpost Zeta. At least once. Trust me once is enough. Unless you feel that same need as me then I’d recommend skipping this one. One more thing about the movie before I go. While they are all wearing red their costumes look oddly like that of our favorite alien from the planet Ork…


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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