Space Psychos (???)
WRITER: Carl J. Sukenick
DIRECTOR: Carl J. Sukenick
STARRING: Carl J. Sukenick as Carl J. Sukenick
QUICK CUT: Carl Sukenick.
just sobs uncontrollably
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions, and happy anniversary! Trisk was borne unto this world NINE years ago today. And to celebrate this momentous occasion, I decided I would revisit the worlds of Carl J. Sukenick, the creator of Alien Beasts. I...
Folks. Loyal Triskelions. Faithful travelers upon the path of bad movies. This. This right here. This may well be the worst movie I have ever seen. Over nine years, it has come to this. This is worse than Space Psychos, Alien Beasts, THIS IS WORSE THAN CLOWN HUNT. And with THAT build up, let's...let's get into this. Brace yourselves.
The movie opens up, appropriately enough, on a woman bloody and screaming. And I say this is appropriate because I too am screaming. And on the upside, at least it grabs your attention. Oh, I remember upsides…
It then cuts to some guy just...staring blankly at the camera, and you immediately know this is a hallmark of a Carl Sukenick film.
He then walks over to the woman, and strangles her dead. We cut from this to the same man laying down, and we ACTUALLY HEAR CARL GO SHH! SHH! as a signal for action! and the guy wakes up, saying "Oh what a nightmare!” But trust me pal, the nightmare has only just begun. The nightmare...has only just begun. stares blankly into the distance
From that nonsensical scene that has nothing to do with anything and never comes back up again, we cut to Carl himself and his sister Jackie, sitting in the park and chatting.
Things are going well for Carl. He's got a girlfriend, he's in a top secret psychic program with the DOD which his sister is running, and he's psychically connected to Joe Franklin.
I ALREADY HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.
It cuts away briefly to Joe Franklin sitting in a cluttered office, because why not?? This too has no bearing on the plot. Also, random shots of Joe staring blankly replaces the dearly departed Abe Sukenick from Alien Beasts.
Oh, and another Sukenick hallmark, the repeating dialogue. Ahhh, I...missed this.
His sister, who I reiterate is the head of the DOD that Carl works for, asks what's happening to him, despite being the one person who should know about the experiment. This is the smallest plot hole we will encounter sobs
But of course, since everything is going well for Carl, the other shoe must drop, and we see an assassin setting up, hear a gunshot, and then his sister is covered in blood, dead at the assassin's hand.
Meanwhile, Joe is making out with his girlfriend, and watching fucking Alien Beasts, of all movies. I mean, at least he has the rights to that, so that makes sense, but gaaah, the Sukenickception.
After a news report, and by that I mean "some random guy Carl grabbed off the street in a winter coat and shoved against a wall to talk" breaks the news about Jackie's death, and the Black Scorpion terrorist group claiming responsibility, we cut back to Carl's apartment, where some time has passed, and Carl has fallen into a spiral of depression.
His friends start coming by to cheer him up, get him out of his funk, get his life on track, and THIS IS THE ENTIRE FIRST HALF OF THE MOVIE. 40 straight minutes of people staring at the camera and telling jokes, or dancing.
Carl also announces off camera that he's going to go change his clothes, then he’ll come over to talk to his friend Dave and OH MY GODS.
I legitimately hate myself for recognsing that damned couch. And spoiler, he still has the coffee table, we see it in later scenes.
Ahem, back to the... twitches plot. Or more jokes, and more of Carl saying he has to change his clothes. Also, there's some more direction given to Dave on camera. My god. There IS a chicken joke that's a genuine highlight at least.
Carl finally comes back on camera to tell us about his sister's funeral, but we never see it and it doesn't matter. None of this matters. Carl tells Dave thanks and to get back to work, and he's off to change his clothes some more! I AM NOT JOKING IN THE SLIGHTEST.
After watching one of Carl's friends sing a few songs, wait what, something is happening?? Some random guy is getting strangled by some other random guy?? OH MY GOD I think that's the assassin being murdered by an alien. If only there had been any sort of time for explanations or introductions or anything. If only.
BONUS more SHH SHH direction from Carl to commence action.
We then watch EVEN MORE DANCING and even worse, JUGGLING. These people are monsters. But then, Carl hands sheets and sheets of paper to a young woman, and tells her to read all the jokes. ALL THE JOKES. For *five straight minutes* of bad jokes. The poor girl, after getting halfway through, looks at Carl quizzically and actually asks, "You want me to read all of them??" To which he tells her yes, because Carl has his vision, and we’re just living in it.
I'd get more entertainment punching myself in the face for an hour.
But once that is over, the plot really gets going WITH MORE DANCING!! It just...Keeps...GOING. I am shocked I am going into this much detail. This review should not be this long. But…but…YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND.
Look. I get what we're doing here. I can even get behind the idea of a man so broken by the death of his sister, that his friends come by to cheer him up. BUT THIS IS TOO MUCH.
Also, Carl is wearing a beard that, if we hadn't seen him putting it on earlier, I would've thought was supposed to represent his disheveled state as he sinks deeper and deeper into despair, unable to even be bothered to clean himself up...and I could get behind that, but no.
Every time the movie cuts to Joe Franklin, I have a moment of GASP! something is about to happen!! But forty minutes pass by, and it tricks me every! single! time! when it cuts back to dancing and jokes.
I will take a brief moment to highlight one guy doing his stand up routine, whose jokes actually aren't THAT bad. But his delivery needs a LOT of work.
Finally I am stirred from my slumber as Carl SHH SHHes someone else, and we see another alien strangling another random person. If only the last 43 minutes had been spent on ANY sort of explanations.
We at least get to stick with a little more plot as Carl gets another incoming psychic message, another incoming psychic message!
A message which is nothing more than someone off camera reading out some exposition that doesn't matter. But the person does tell Carl to go home, which is six blocks away SHOULDN'T HE KNOW THAT?? and to change his clothes. ALWAYS THE CHANGING CLOTHES. buries his head in his hands and weeps
But at least we're finally moving forward, and Carl is more cheered up so we can do...wait, what is even the plot of this movie??
There's suddenly two random guys in Carl's apartment, who vow to kill the next person who comes in after hiding The Body in the basement. WHAT BODY. WHO ARE YOU. WHAT IS GOING ON.
Ahem. Anyways, Carl's girlfriend comes in, and she gets murdered. Is this going to lead to another half hour of variety shows?? Actually, no, ha ha, this is never mentioned again, not a single thing from this scene. Carl never even knows his girlfriend is dead.
There is also random still shots of a woman in a gold mask holding a camera. Why? Who? What? Does this have anything to do with anything? EXPLAIN SOMETHING. JUST ONE THING. In fact, it does the exact opposite by showing a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WOMAN in the gold mask, just walking in and having a seat. I long for the days of Traitor Neil.
Wait wait, there's actual plot!! The news anchor is back in front of some random wall, to tell us all about the carnage and destruction of the alien invasion.
THERE IS AN ALIEN INVASION?? SINCE WHEN? WHY WERE WE WATCHING ENDLESS DANCE NUMBERS??
And ha ha, all this talk about covering the disaster? Yeah, that's a laugh, we never see a single gods damned thing.
Their 'coverage' is cutting to camera one with a guy saying over and over again he must be crazy, but he can't be crazy, but he must be!!
I think I'M the one going crazy.
After the guy literally just falls over dead, we cut to more 'coverage' of the invasion, which is anything but. We watch as a guy espouses about the aliens coming down. Over there. Off camera. Which we are never ever going to point to.
The AUDACITY of pointing off camera at the alien invasion happening and NEVER SHOWING IT. I... I...
Seriously, Carl? You couldn't have painted a paper plate silver and thrown it in front of the camera? Dangled a toy? SOMETHING for the invasion?? It is an utter and complete non event and we just hear about them jumping onto mail trucks.
And this random alien invasion...you had 45 minutes where you could have built up ANY of this, but noooo. Did the Birdemic guy plot this??
While Hurricane David West calls the feds, we cut over to Carl, ranting and raving about having to meet Victor and the other agents.
I THINK Carl is genuinely trying to get out plot here but...why is he panting? Why is he raving? What is going on? Why is this happening?
Also, all of a sudden Carl declares we have to blast the aliens with a psychic mind signal. The entire 'plot' of this movie is 'aliens invade after half the movie and we immediately know how to stop them and do it, but not until another half hour passes”.
It is an entire last act of a disaster movie with people reacting to things. THRILLING!
We see a few more people raving, and then we cut to Joe Franklin and ACTUALLY TALK TO HIM. But, WHO GIVES A FLYING FLIP about the origins of Joe Franklin?? And Billy Crystal?? WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THE RISE OF GARTH BROOKS?? THERE IS AN ALIEN INVASION GOING ON.
Next we bounce around some people whom I presume are part of Carl's crack DOD squad, and I love that they are all certifiable. Angrily yelling at the camera, laughing maniacally, oh yeah, we are so screwed.
"I'm going to send the psychic mind signal to Victor an Monica..." WHO ARE VICTOR AND MONICA.
And the 'signal' this team gets, one of them tells us as he gets the message, "got to...destroy...the aliens" REALLY? WOW WHAT AN IDEA. I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT THE ALIENS CONQUERING EARTH NEEDED TO BE DESTROYED.
This is the only alien invasion stopped by STARING REALLY INTENTLY.
"The mind signal is telling us we have to destroy the aliens by sending out a mind signal!" *just breaks down sobbing*
So the four 'agents' and I am being generous with that term, concentrate and send out mind signals that do...Fuckall if I know. But apparently, all their minds are combined, and I AM CAPTAIN SUKENICK.
It's probably no surprise, but the movie spends TONS of time just showing us these four people, holding their heads and thinking REALLY HARD because that's all we got.
How is this going to stop the aliens? What does it do to them? I don't know, but it probably goes like this.
As if that wasn't nonsensical enough, we then see the gold masked woman, now only in her underwear (Another Sukenick trope!) being chased by the green masked alien in circles like they're in a Scooby Doo movie.
WHO ARE THEY WHY DO WE CARE WHAT WERE THEIR AGENDAS WHY DOES THIS MATTER. And is the woman's screams a whisper because neighbours yelled at Carl for all the commotion? Then some rando comes in and strangles the green guy. WHY. WHAT. My only explanation is the mind signal scrambles the aliens long enough for humans to fight back, but SPACE PSYCHOS CAN'T BE BOTHERED WITH PLOT.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE PEOPLE JUST RANDOMLY DEAD BECAUSE WHY NOT NOTHING MATTERS.
And then Carl comes home from stopping the alien invasion, I GUESS, and finds ANOTHER GUY IN A GOLD MASK we don't know and strangles him to death, then declares,"YES! THE DOD RULES THE WORLD! THE DOD RULES THE WORLD!"
FINALLY I guess the movie is ov...OH FOR FUCKS SAKE END. We cut back to the green masked alien (And look, I am only assuming that, for all I know it is literally just a guy in a dime store mask because NOTHING IS EVER EXPLAINED)
The movie continues dragging this out by making us watch as the monster...melts? Smokes? I DON'T KNOW
Have I mentioned how mind fuckingly impenetrable any semblance of plot or character or story this movie is?? Space Psychos looks at storytelling conventions, scoffs at them, and dares you to impart meaning on a cold and unfeeling universe.
With some rando alien melted away, we cut to the agents celebrating again...so... um. Carl somehow led the revolution, then went home and killed one of the masked men, declared the invasion over, while another alien was being killed, then went back OUT to declare that victory has been had???
??? *SOBS* ???
Video: It’s not great. It could be WAY worse, but this was given a BLU RAY RELEASE. Limited to only 100 copies (And oh ho, I OWN ONE PEOPLE) but this is wildly unnecessary. It looks OKAY, but…
Audio: The audio is…well, it’s recorded with whatever Carl had on hand for his mics on the cameras, I guess. There’s room noise, wind, everything.
Sound Bite: “The aliens are going to screw up the US Mail!"
Body Count: I have watched both this movie, and the next movie I’m reviewing already. One movie has half the amount of deaths as the other, and it is NOT the movie you would first assume.
1 - Under a minute and we get a dream death.
2 - Two minutes and the first REAL death when Jackie is assassinated.
3 - My will to live is murdered over 45 minutes.
4 - And then there is just a random murder by an alien.
5 - Another alien murders some other random guy.
6 - Two random guys murder Carl's girlfriend??
7 - Crazy guy falls over dead??
8 - Random woman in mask and underwear gets strangled
9 - Random guy gets stabbed
10 - Random woman laying there??
11 - Random guy all bloody??
12 - Random guy in gold mask is killed??
13 - Green masked alien?? gets choked?? and melts??!?!
Best Corpse: MY SOUL HAS BEEN TORN APART
Blood Type - D: There is a fair amount of blood here, and an attempt at makeup…well, masks, which that green one is pretty slick. But this reaches nowhere near the skill of the makeup effects of Alien Beasts.
Drink Up! Every time Joe Franklin appears, or you hear Carl directing the people in the movie.
Video Nasties: Here is just a taste of the insult of this movie, the scene of Hurricane David West pointing at aliens. Over there.
Movie Review: I CAN’T CALL THIS A MOVIE. There is no plot. When there IS a plot, the plot shows up 45 minutes late to the movie, and it’s not even carrying Starbucks. And then all that plot amounts to stuff happening elsewhere. And is wrapped up just because. And the FIRST 45 minutes is just telling jokes. This movie makes Birdemic seem well plotted and Science Crazed a thrilling breakneck adventure. Have I ever done this before? Zero of five alien invasions.
Entertainment Value: Oh holy shit, I actually do not know how to grade this section. On the one hand, you are staring, rapt, in amazement that THIS EXISTS and the sheer audacity of it and that it keeps going is entertaining, but at the same time, it’s 45 minutes of people telling jokes and stuff not happening over there. It’s…somehow both a zero out of five AND a five out of five. This is the Schrodinger’s Cat of entertainment.
I both love and fear Carl Sukenick. His movies are unique, and yet they are made with such earnest heart, that even though they make ZERO SENSE they are weirdly endearing to me. I want to see MORE of them. I WILL see more of them. I am glad the world has Carl in it, and we get these peeks into his mind. The world is better off for having these movies exist, and as shockingly, astoundingly non-movie they are, as terrible as this is, and is truly the worst movie I have ever seen, I am GLAD to own it, and to have watched it.