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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Day Time Ended (1979)





Recently I’ve been digging back into my Mill Creek DVD sets. These are those collections of Public Domain movies that they put out on the cheap. Though many times they find out that they aren’t public domain (see the Giant Spider Invasion) and are forced to recall products. Admittedly most of the movies contained are junk but once in a while you find something decent hiding in there. The set that The Day Time Ended is in has a decent copy of The Crater Lake Monster in it, which is a personal favorite of mine. Does this movie stack up to that one? No, it does not, but it isn’t half bad.

The story focuses on a family that lives in an isolated ranch house that has solar power and is sort of off the grid. Living there is Grandpa, Grandma, their kids, son in law, and a granddaughter. They have just returned from vacation when all sorts of weird stuff begins happening. First up we get a strange pyramid in the horse corral, which is followed by UFOs, and other strange lights. The action really heats up when a diminutive alien shows up and dances around the house followed by an aggressive spaceship the size of a dust buster and some dinosaur looking creatures that have a wrestling match in the yard. Yeah this is a weird movie. After some talk of time warps the family ends up on another planet looking at an alien city and talking about it being their new home.

First, I had no idea that this was directed by one of my favorite exploitation low budget guys, John “Bud” Cardos. This is the man responsible for Mutant starring Wings Hauser and Kingdom of the Spiders with William Shatner. While those two movies are very straightforward monster movies this one is a bit different. While the Day Time Ended boasts some fun stop motion effects and a lot of strange creatures this isn’t a typical monster movie. It focuses less on the creatures and doing battle with them and more on the odd sci-fi story at the center of the action. We keep hearing about a supernova and what it might mean for the planet Earth. There are also weird electrical storms and an even weirder sequence where the house teleports to a scene surrounded with planes and other debris from the past and maybe the future? I found it all very interesting but could totally understand someone not digging it.

You thought I was kidding about the dancing alien!
The second thing that I never knew was that this was produced by Charles Band. While Cardos’ involvement excited me I’m not that thrilled with Band. He has made some good movies but also has a lot of bad ones on his track record. Here I think his involvement is a plus and was probably the reason we got so many great stop motion creatures. They reminded me a lot of the aliens from Laser Blast, which I’ve always enjoyed. The music and other visual effects work were also decent and on par with what I’ve seen from his other productions.

I'm a sucker for stop motion
My final observation is this. While many other movies in seventy-nine were trying to cash in on the animal attacks genre (Jawspolitation), or Star Wars this one feels more like Close Encounters of the Third Kind both in the way that the aliens are portrayed as well as the time travel elements involved. Hell, the boneyard with the airplanes and other debris looks quite similar to those in Spielberg’s movie. This was an odd choice considering how popular and easier the other movies were to “borrow” from, but I give The Day Time Ended some credit for trying.

This one is for the science fiction fan only. If you are looking for a movie with lots of action and monsters you will be sadly disappointed. Do I recommend it? Yes, with the caveat that you understand the kind of movie you are about to watch.



© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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