Spring Break on the Lens: Laserblast (dir by Michael Rae)


Before I say anything else, I should admit that I fully understand why some of you are going to say that the 1978 science fiction film, Laserblast, is not a spring break film.

First off, it takes place not on the beach but in the desert.  There is a scene that takes place at a pool but it’s one of those cheap pools that all of the desert towns have.

Secondly, the film itself doesn’t take place during the spring.  It takes place during the summer, when the sun is bright and harsh.  The teenagers in the film might not be in school but that’s just because it’s their summer vacation.

I get it.

But, as far as I’m concerned, Laserblast is spiritually a spring break film, even if it isn’t technically one.  I mean, just look at the film’s hero, Billy.  As played by the very handsome Kim Milford, Billy is a mellow guy with blonde hair, stoned eyes, and the attitude of someone who can say, “Right on!” and make you believe that everything will be right and on.  Billy even drives a totally 70s van.  Everything about Billy and his girlfriend, Kathy Farley (Rainbeaux Smith), screams Malibu.  Even in the desert and in the summer, they are the ideal spring break couple.

Billy, of course, gets in some trouble over the course of the film.  He stumbles across a space gun in the desert.  Billy doesn’t know what we know, that the space gun was accidentally left there by two adorable claymation aliens who previously visited Earth so that they could kill the gun’s owner.  Billy just thinks it’s a cool gun.  Soon, Billy is blowing up the town and turning into a green-skinned monster.  Billy even blows up a sign that’s advertising Star Wars, which is made doubly interesting by how much Kim Milford resembles Mark Hamill.  (The same year that Laserblast came out, Hamill and Milford acted opposite each other in Corvette Summer, with Milford’s mellow confidence providing a nice counter to Hamill’s somewhat hyperactive earnestness.)  Much like a drunk spring breaker who ends up vomiting into the ocean, Billy has found something that he enjoys and he’s allowing it to take over his life.  The space gun represents every vice and addiction that’s out there to tempt people into risking their lives and their sanity and their totally 70s van.  (We don’t see much of the inside of the van but I’m willing to bet that it has shag carpeting and a strobe light.)  The spring breakers in The Real Cancun spent their week drinking themselves into a stupor.  Billy, on the other hand, spends a week blowing stuff up and turning into a monster.  Of course, that’s the great thing about spring break.  How you spend your time is your business.

Laserblast is a low-budget film, one that is often listed as being one of the worst films ever made.  Myself, I love the film because I think the aliens are cute and I enjoy Kim Milford’s performance as Billy.  Actually, for a film that didn’t cost much to make, Laserblast has a surprisingly impressive cast.  Technically, it’s not a shock to see Roddy McDowall in the film, since McDowall apparently accepted every role that he was offered in the 70s.  But Roddy’s trademark neurotic eccentricity is still welcome in the small role of Billy’s doctor.  The great character actor Dennis Burkley shows up as a fascist deputy.  Gianni Russo, who played Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather, plays a government agent who shows up from out of nowhere and who wears a cream-colored suit that makes him look like a wedding DJ.  Keenan Wynn, who also apparently accepted any role he was offered in the 70s, plays Rainbeaux Smith’s drunk grandfather.  Best of all, Eddie Deezen, who was best known for playing stereotypical nerd characters in films like Grease, shows up as a bully named Froggy!  After getting bullied by Eddie Deezen, who wouldn’t pick up the first space gun they found and start blasting rocks?

Laserblast is fun, just like spring break.  I like it, just like spring break.  So does Arleigh so be sure to check out his review, as well!

One response to “Spring Break on the Lens: Laserblast (dir by Michael Rae)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 3/14/22 — 3/20/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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