Oblivion (1994)


The Full Moon space western “Oblivion” certainly is one of the most creative films to come out of Charles Band’s imprint. Surely, it can be silly and hard to follow, but it works well as a space western, and a western without the science fiction conventions. I was surprised this even had any monsters or aliens, as “Oblivion” works as a typical Western. Sans the giant man eating scorpions, of course. I digress. “Oblivion” is written by comics scribe Peter David and is admirably ambitious considering its obviously low budget.

Oblivion is a town on an extra-terrestrial planet where aliens, monsters, and humans live side by side in an old west world. Either it’s perpetually the old west, or it’s a period of time in the planet we’re on. I was never sure. “Oblivion” is based heavily in the futuristic setting that also feels very Earthbound. How could they have built this world if they never know of Earth? Newmar’s character makes a passing reference to Earth as a throwaway joke, but I was never sure what the entire aesthetic to the planet meant. Why were there ceiling fans operating outside the saloons? Everyone wants this rare metal known as Dacconium, and Red Eye is especially fixated on a conservative store owner. Jackie Swanson gives a pretty laughable performance, but most of “Oblivion” is so off kilter, it’s barely noticeable.

The primary focus is on Andrew Divoff who plays the patch eyed villain Red Eye. He’s a reptilian sleaze ball who invades the town of Oblivion and succeeds in murdering the town marshall, thanks to a device that can de-activate his protective shield. He and his cronies then take over Oblivion, while the marshall’s son Zack is called upon to pay respect to his father. After saving a local Native American from death, Zack and his new friend travel to Oblivion and end up confronting Red Eye who almost seems desperate for a showdown with Zack. “Oblivion” is a fun bit of science fiction escapism, but it’s also never afraid to be really silly. It fills with the cast with nothing but genre veterans and then makes many passing references to their most iconic roles. Julie Newmar, for example, plays bar owner Ms. Kitty. Who is literally dressed as a cat, meowing, purring, and hissing at everyone.

There’s also George Takei who plays a drunken doctor, given lines like “Great Scotty!” and “I’m a doctor not a surgeon!” Most of the cast seem to be given carte blanche to be as goofy and over the top as they want, and that lends some novelty to “Oblivion.” Divoff plays Red Eye with the usual devotion he injects in his villains, while Musetta Vander is insanely sexy as his whip bearing dominatrix second in command. Carel Struycken also steals the show as the town’s undertaker Gaunt, who horrifies people with his flowing cape and tall stature. “Oblivion” loses me mid-way with a bit of a rambling showdown, and rushed finale. Director Sam Irvin seems to run out of money, thus he finishes the film on an open ended scene leading in to the sequel, adding to a feeling of incompletion. That said, it’s definitely a banner Full Moon genre entry deserving of its cult status, and it’s a unique Science Fiction Western for folks that enjoy this type of fare.

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