De Palma originally cast this in sessions alongside George Lucas. Carrie got Sissey Spacek and William Katt (Greatest American Hero), while Star Wars IV: A New Hope landed Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Ms Fisher apparently got the lead role in Carrie, but turned it down when she discovered she would have to do the nude shower scene at the start.
The villainess is a bitchy Nancy Allen (who soon afterwards married the director), and her sidekick is John Travolta in a role similar to his later persona in Grease. The other villain is Carrie's religious fundamentalist mother, Piper Laurie .
De Palma, a major Hitchcock fan, could not resist a number of homages (or possibly attempts to imitate his idol). For example, the Psycho music is played at tense times, and the girls attend the Bates High School.
Natascha Kinski flies into New Orleans and is reunited with her brother (Malcolm McDowell - A Clockwork Orange ). He disappears, and a mysterious black leopard is discovered in the city. Zoo expert John Heard captures it. Kinski is drawn to Heard, but she has a love rival in the shape of Annette O'Toole , his fellow zoo worker. Ed Asner Jnr also works at the zoo, and his sadistic streak makes him an easy victim for the big cat.
While the original was a minimal budget film noir which implied its scares, Schrader employed some great SPFX.
George Peppard ( Battle Beyond the Stars ), Jan-Michael Vincent (Airwolf) and Paul Winfield ( Terminator ) survive WW3 because they are in a US military bunker in the Western USA. After the war they load up into some hi-tech APCs and make their way across the USA to Albany, New York State.
This may sound familiar. Possibly because it is based on a book that inspired the Judge Dredd: Cursed Earth books. The cloned dinosaurs section in the books does not appear in this film, but inspired Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park series.
Peppard chews a cigar and bosses people about, as always. Vincent rides a motorbike (shades of Spikes Harvey Rotten, anyone?) and makes you wonder where his career went, especially after he starred in Airwolf. Hell, even Ernest Borgnine had more of a career than him in his later years! As for Winfield? Well, he is the token black guy. You work it out.
En route they pick up a young boy (Jackie Earl Haley - Watchmen (2009) ). Also, they run into a group of rapacious hill-billies straight out of Deliverance . On the one hand, this is a standard trope in Western movies, which is what a post-Apocalyptic road movie basically is. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that trained military personnel (Okay, Airforce ground crew, but still!) would be blind-sided by hill-billies … and then waste armour-piercing rockets blowing up a wooden shack to kill a single villain!
Apparently this film was severely edited before its release. Not only does this explain the disappearing budget (all the best bits were cut out) and the plot holes (too numerous to mention), but it also explains the lack of a proper climax. The film just sort of peters out at the end. Quite anticlimactic, considering its subject matter.
Producer Paul Maslansky is perhaps better known for his Police Academy films. This effort is not great, but it is mildly entertaining. It makes you think how good the Judge Dredd movie could have been if they had made an adaption of the Cursed Earth!
Tom Cruise is a peasant boy in love with the Princess ( Mia Sara ) - well, who wouldn't be?
Among the group of dwarven types who lends a hand is Billy Barty (surprise, surprise).
The villain is Darkness (Tim Curry - Rocky Horror Picture Show ), with Robert Picardo ( Star Trek: Voyager ) among his horde of Goblin followers. Well, it is not really a horde, there are about three of them in all.
The hero (Johnny Rico) was played Casper Van Dien, a virtual unknown. His previous roles had included Beastmaster 3 , while he went on to a supporting role in Legend of Sleepy Hollow . The point of having no stars, just talent in his film indicates that Verhoven managed to pull off a concept film rather than a star vehicle - something that was claimed to be impossible way back when the Judge Dredd (1995) movie adaption was being made!
Denise Richards is the hero's love interest, although in the babe stakes she is beaten by Dina Meyer . A pity that Richards went on to become a Bond Girl while Meyer was not in anything except a few TV shows in the next four years.
Xena: Warrior Princess fans will spot a cameo by Tim Omundsen (Eli in Season 5).
Lurkio accidently stumbles across a plot to assassinate the Emperor Nero. This is odd, since Nero died about ten years before Vesuvius erupted, but you should by now have realised that historical accuracy is not at the heart of this story.
Lurkio bumbles about in a camp fashion, and makes lots of double-entendres to the camera. Typical of traditional British humour, owing more to Benny Hill than to Monty Python.
This time he is an 1896 bathyscaphe-builder who is hired to explore the ocean bed in the Bermuda Triangle. John Ratzenberger (Cheers) is one of the ship's crewmen.
The ship is attacked by a giant octopus. The crew awake, hardly even wet never mind drowned, to find themselves in a massive underwater cave. They discover they are in the kingdom of Atlantis, ruled by Cyd Charisse (who is not afraid to show her legs, even at the age she must be at!).
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