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» » Doomsday Machine (1972)

Short summary

Spies discover that the Red Chinese have built a "doomsday machine" capable of destroying the surface of the Earth, and that they plan to use it within a matter of days. Meanwhile, Project Astra, a manned U.S. space mission to Venus, is in its final hours before launch when it is taken over by the military and nearly half of its all-male crew is replaced by women. The reason for this becomes apparent when, shortly after Astra leaves orbit, the Earth is completely destroyed in a global cataclysm! Is the human race doomed? What dangers and wonders await the crew of the Astra on their journey to Venus?

Most of the movie was filmed in 1967 but due to a lack of financing it wasn't completed until 1972 when the producers had acquired enough money to complete the film, but without any of the original cast members. Lee Sholem was hired to direct the new footage.

The climax was originally meant to take place on the surface of Venus but the production simply didn't have enough money for that. Instead, the ending was hastily rewritten to be set inside a spaceship.

Hosted by Elvira Mistress of the Dark on her show "Movie Macabre" on August 27 1983.

This film uses several special effects shots from Yôsei Gorasu (1962) (including most of the exterior shots of space flight involving the ship and other space stations). Many of the other shots of both the spacecraft (showing a completely different craft than featured in the "Yosei Gorasu" footage) and interior shots of television screens are taken from The Wizard of Mars (1965).

The cutting tool that Danny (Bobby Van) carries with him in his final scene is a Zero-M Sonic Blaster, a spy toy made by Mattel in 1966.

Final film of director Lee Sholem.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Urllet
    Originally begun in 1967 under the title "Armageddon 1975", this movie was never actually completed. Why it was never finished is unclear. But somewhere down the line it was scrapped, shelved and forgotten. That was in 1967. Then about five years later, it was rediscovered by some amateur film maker and re-edited into a complete movie. When I first saw this movie, I realized I was watching two different films edited together. The original version stands out from the poor added footage that makes this movie terrible. The added footage alone is what destroys this flick ( too bad the producer couldn't locate the original actors to star in the re-edited version).Also, you'll see lots of footage taken from old Japanease Godzilla and Rodan movies. What a mess! The Doomsday Machine is one DOOMED MOVIE!
  • comment
    • Author: Cyregaehus
    The movie came from a February 1966 screen play story outline by Stuart J. Byrne called Deadmen in Space. It was optioned to Fred Long of Pleidas Productions, Inc. Allied Artists Studio. In March, 1966, Henry Blum and Fred Long agreed to form a corporation to be known as Blu-Lon Ent. which would acquire certain properties, one of which was "Dead Men in Space" also known as "Armageddon 75". (The corporation never was formed but Blum and Long worked as a 50/50 partnership on this movie).

    Seeing possible conflicts with the title Armageddon, the property was registered on March 29, 1967 with the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. as "Doomsday + (plus) 7 (seven)". There was a private screening of the incomplete movie on June 21, 1969 with the title listed as "Doomsday Plus 7". (There are audience participation cards.) On the 22nd of November, 1969, Fred Long signed over all rights to the "partially completed feature length motion picture, tentatively entitled 'DOOMSDAY PLUS SEVEN', by FRED LONG as Producer ... to Q R C Productions ..." and lost all control, possible profit and his name was stricken from the picture.

    There is much more to the story. The budget overruns and mismanagement. The threats of lawsuits. Rising government costs almost at will. The way Stuart stood by Fred Long and how the Hollywood machine just chewed up the little guy. If a movie were made called "The Making of Doomsday + 7", it would be a money maker in theaters today. I have the documentation and more.

    I also have Fred Long family photos and negatives along with some personal items of Mr. Long that I would like to get back to the family. Fred Long is a stage name, the family will know his given name.

    Do not judge Mr. Long's work by the completed film but by the work up to the point the actors morphed. Hokey - yes. Low budget - yes. But it didn't have to be a hack job. RIP Fred, I hope this helps.
  • comment
    • Author: Velan
    I bought the video because the plot sounded like an adaptation of a great mid-1960s comic book I own, one of my prized possessions. Alas, I was wrong. This movie is SO bad, it's quite funny!

    Where can I start? The movie begins with an Oriental cold-war/espionage plot, followed by a military end-of-the-world scenario (with Casey Kasem as a Mission Control Capcom!), then becomes a battle-of-the-sexes-in-outer-space flick, finally ending with a bizarre philosophical encounter with a superior alien intelligence.

    The special effects are laughable--Barcaloungers or La-Z-Boys are used for crew couches in the spaceship; two entirely different craft (a V-2 -like rocket and a circular space station) are supposed to be exterior views of the SAME spaceship; and the Apollo CSM serves as a Russian interplanetary craft with a quite-spacious interior.

    Character development is not much better. One of the main male leads, supposedly one of the astronaut corps' finest, becomes a sex maniac the minute he leaves Earth orbit.

    Highly recommended for all who love bad movies!
  • comment
    • Author: Silvermaster
    I have no idea what the point of this film is. Its like a poor 1950's space film done in the late 1960's early 1970's. Its starts off in one direction and then heads off into another.

    The plot has a spy discovering the Chinese have a device which may very well destroy the earth by causing an atomic chain reaction inside the earth. Meanwhile a space mission to Venus is being prepared. Suddenly half the crew is replaced with women and the rocket is launched ahead of schedule. Once in space the crew watches as the deice destroys the earth, Stranded in space the crew has to decide what to do next.

    Very dated, even by 1972 standards, and very silly (The spy gets into a top secret center by throwing a cat over a wall and I won't talk about the press conference) I'm not sure if I'm suppose to be laughing or taking this very seriously. Clearly its another the commies are out to get us film released about the time that Nixon was going to China. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have a point, or at least an ending since the picture sort of stops with a conclusion out of left field. Simply put its a mess.

    Intriguing enough, in a bad movie sort of way, to keep me watching to the end I arrived there with a great deal of disappointment that that was all. It doesn't add up to much in any real sort of a way. Actually the film sort of spirals out of control after the Earth is destroyed.

    Worth a look for bad movie lovers and those wanting a movie they can laugh at while debating the sanity of the film makers. All others stay away.
  • comment
    • Author: Maldarbaq
    Lots of more or less recognizable faces in this El Cheapo Production, most of them over the hill. Of the half dozen astronauts who travel to Venus, Bobby Van is a baby-faced wisecracker, Daniel Wilcoxin started out in movies in 1931, the ligneous Grant Williams' best-known role is as an incredible shrinking man, Ruta Lee is a determined doctor of cosmology or cosmetology or something, Mala Powers was Roxanne in the Oscar-winning "Cyrano de Bergerac" twenty-two years earlier. But I kind of liked the line up. Any cast with two dancers among the principals -- Bobby Van ("Kiss Me Kate") and Ruta Lee ("Seven Brides For Seven Brothers") -- is okay with me.

    And with that, the accolades disappear into outer space. The acting is perfunctory. The dialog is formulaic -- full of phony technological static. "Don't change your azimuth because we can only give you two degrees of yaw on the nose." The inside of the space ship is bigger than my living room. Hell, it has more square footage than my entire mobile home. And its only furniture is six chairs for the astronauts, and the chairs are recycled recliners.

    I didn't get past the space ship's journey to Venus but I know from the diligent research I've done that the plot has something to do with a Doomsday Machine that the Chinese Commies have buried two hundred miles deep in the earth. When it blows, it will set all the faults of all the earth's plates in motion. (Better that, than that they should dump their dollars and start investing in Euros.) To be honest, I knew I'd never be able to handle it shortly after the launch of the space ship. The director must have dozed off. I can understand some tense radio exchanges about technical junk but the scene dragged on and on -- and on. And -- NOTHING HAPPENS. And so we say good-bye to the six resourceful space travelers as they sail off into the sunset.

    The movie is available without cost through Hulu Movies on the internet as part of a package called Elvira's Movies Macabre. I don't know if everyone knows who Elvira was but many years ago, in the LA area, people looked forward to seeing her. She was all made up in ludicrous vampire garb but still sexy, what with her cantilevered bosom. Her comments were never scary and sometimes funny. Here, she carries on girlishly about putting a man on Venus. How about putting ARMS on Venus first! (Then she has to explain the joke because otherwise nobody living in Los Angeles is going to get it.)
  • comment
    • Author: Xangeo
    Considering that most of the film was made in 1967 and then sat on a shelf for nearly a decade before it was completed, you certainly can't expect much from "Doomsday Machine". What's worse is that none of the original actors were used in the new footage--making the final product rather incomprehensible.

    When the Americans realize that the Chinese are about to deploy a doomsday device (thus killing EVERYONE), they quickly scramble to add women to the already scheduled flight to Venus--in the hopes that this crew can continue the human race. No matter that their space suits consists of silver motorcycle helmets AND the actual atmosphere of the planet will both crush them all to death AND it's deadly poisonous AND hotter than the temperature of most ovens! Sounds like the Garden of Eden, huh?! Most of the rest of the film consists of the folks on the ship over-emoting--yelling and trying to get noticed by the camera. It also consisted of the crew of men becoming VERY horny--and fights broke out among the crew over who would have the privilege of inseminating these three space gals. Ultimately, a disembodied voice tells the humans to get lost, as they destroyed the Earth and Venus wants no part of them...and the movie ends! All in all, a very dull movie that is, at times, unintentionally funny--BUT DULL. Not exactly among the worst films made...but close.

    As far as the special effects go, they were state of the art in 1960. However, by 1976 they were VERY outdated and the film looks downright cheap.

    By the way, look carefully for tiny roles by Mike Farrell and Casey Kasem.

    UPDATE: I saw this film AGAIN and so I thought I'd review it again. Here goes:

    I give "Doomsday Machine" a score of 1 as it's an incredibly dumb mess. A thoroughly bad film, by the end it completely gives up on trying to make any sense at all. I have no idea what the story is behind this film, but the project comes off like 4 or 5 different films all sloppily pieced together.

    The film begins as an espionage film—with some Chinese folks breaking into a top secret (and easy to break into) government base. They learn by looking at some silly props in a cage that it's some sort of doomsday machine—though how they know this is completely baffling. Next, a US space mission to Venus is quickly altered. No, they haven't called it off because it's impossible to land there due to the planet's crushing and toxic atmosphere (real facts can't get in the way of this film!). It is to substitute a few hot ladies for some of the crew. This is in case the doomsday machine is used, they might be able to send horny men and women into space to continue the species.

    This isn't a terrible idea for a film. HOWEVER, the execution is so terrible you have to see it for yourself. First, the astronaut outfits and ship look as if they are from a 1950s hokey sci-fi film---even though this movie was completed(?) near the time "Star Wars" debuted. Next, during their trip through space, you randomly see clips from earlier sci-fi films—some of which are Japanese! You also see models of the Earth that look like they came from the 50s as well. As far as the acting goes, it's just bad—and you know that if Bobby Van gets top billing you are in for trouble. But the most awful aspect is the ending. The last 15 minutes or so were obviously tacked on later and is 100% INCOMPREHENSIBLE. They put space helmets on two people who are NOT from the film to hide that they aren't and they pretend to be Van and his new girlfriend—though their voices aren't even close and their space costumes are different!! Then, a disembodied voice gives a long-winded speech and the film abruptly ends!! You just have to see it to understand what a terrible mess it all is—so bad I can't see how this film was ever released anywhere!
  • comment
    • Author: Lli
    Very cheaply filmed sci-fi seems to be from the sixties not 1972. The special effects are a combination of photos of NASA models found in the local hobby store and special effects stolen from a Japanese film, probably Gorath. They probably didn't ever finish the original film as the ending is a combination of voice overs and repeated special effects. A very bad production. Interesting to see Mike Farrell before he did anything noteworthy.

    Only good as a record of film making incompetence from the 60's/70's. Unfortunately the average sci-fi film shown on the SciFi channel these days is frequently no better.
  • comment
    • Author: LØV€ YØỮ
    I sometimes wonder why people make these sub B grade movies. But since they are made, there must be a market for them, although I have no idea where.

    Out of all bad movies of this type, this one is not bad. It's clear that they had no budget for special effects, so a footages from a Japanese disaster movie is used, and the rockets are also from Japanese movies, and you can clearly see the rising sun symbol on its wings.

    The best part of the movie is its plot. An exploration to Venus is suddenly altered at the last minute to exchange 3 male pilots for 3 female pilots. In fact the plan is to convert the space ship into Noah's ark for the survival of human race. But they do not find the new world so friendly either.

    This movie can be remade with better production. The story is that good, with few alterations.

    I hope someone will recognize the value and do a decent remake of this movie.
  • comment
    • Author: adventure time
    Hey, a space ship that comes with its own seat belt equipped laz-e-boy recliners! OK, given that this thing was started by one bunch in the 60s and then finished by another group in the 70s you can pretty much figure that continuity is out the window. Hairstyles change, the Russian chick looses her accent, and boy does Danny's voice ever change. But given the circumstances, like two entirely different crews, I really don't think continuity and the lack of same ought to be a factor. The folks that took this thing out of mothballs and tried to make it work deserve kudos for the effort. And they did a fair job up until the very end. Pseudo-philosophical meanderings just don't fit well in a sci-fi movie that comes across like the B films of the same genre out of the 50s. But, thats rather where a lot of those flicks tried to go too, so I guess it was to be expected. At the end they even set it up for a sequel. Well, be thankful that never happened. The cast is fun, with players recognizable from "Wagon Train" to "M.A.S.H." and beyond. Its not so bad, and kinda fun to watch. With all the problems it survived, hey, maybe, at the edge of our solar system, there is an adventure awaiting the "last of man".
  • comment
    • Author: romrom
    I am so puzzled by this movie. It had a really promising beginning, an interesting premise, and some fairly intelligent dialog in the pre-launch portion of the movie. A pretty somber, realistic "pall" falls over the space headquarters as wailing sirens accompany public address announcements about a sped-up launch countdown. A last minute crew switch puts some female astronaunts on board, (look out...major spoiler) in case the earth is suddenly destroyed by a recently discovered Chinese doomsday device. The goal of the crew change is to alter the purpose of the flight from one of exploration to one of...propagation...a Noah's ark, giving the human race a shot at surviving on another planet. Once the crew is on board, though, the movie switches gears completely, turning into a stupid 70s battle of the sexes, in a ridiculous set with garish lightning. The movie recovers some of its sanity for fifteen minutes or so when the crew's more admirable members show their willingness to sacrifice themselves to save the others, by leaving the craft in a spacewalk to fix a jammed device, seconds before the segment the two heroes were on was jettisoned. I started to have real hope the movie was going to redeem itself. But then, it's as though the makers of the movie just totally ran out of script, money, and inspiration, and the flick completely dies; just marking time with inane dialog and absolutely no developments for what seems like an eternity. It wraps up with a completely meaningless intervention by unseen "aliens" who send the humans off on some sort of journey across the universe. I have never, ever seen a movie deteriorate as badly as this one does. But I'll give it a 3, for the sake of the first segment, which, if the movie had continued as strongly, would have been made it a decent flick. As it is, it's a total, total disappointment.
  • comment
    • Author: Shazel
    "An upcoming space mission to Venus becomes even more vital after a startling secret is revealed. Foreign agents have revealed a secret plot by the Chinese where they have manufactured the ultimate weapon, capable of destroying everything on the surface of the planet. The mission to our sister planet now becomes a fight for the survival of the human race, as the crew must try to save the Earth from destruction," according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis.

    Apparently, the "Red" Chinese are preparing to attack the NATO Allies, with nuclear weaponry. So, a 1975 manned (and womanned) space mission to the planet Venus takes on added meaning; if the Earth is destroyed in a nuclear war, the only human survivors may be those people traveling to Venus. These men and women learn they will be playing "Adam" and "Eve" -- except for Henry Wilcoxon (as Dr. Perry), who is portrayed as too old for sex, at age 61 (when this was filmed).

    There are very few redeeming qualities in "The Doomsday Machine". You will get to see Ruta Lee (as Marion) slap Bobby Van (as Danny) once. You could watch to see how performers like Grant Williams (as Kurt Mason) and Mala Powers (as Georgianna Bronski) handle their unenviable assignment. You might want to admire James Craig (as Haines)'s admirable physique, during his shirtless scene. Or, you could observe how space flight affects ladies' hairstyles. Casey Kasem and Mike Farrell have cameos.
  • comment
    • Author: Fog
    A fine "B" movie cast is wasted by using awful production values in a project that likely ran out of money before it was finished. The tacked-on ending without a doubt uses different actors than the on-screen talent (Grant Williams, Mala Powers, Denny Miller, Bobby Van). Probably the WORST special effect is the destruction of the earth. "The Doomsday Machine" gets a "3" from me because it was at least always coherent. It's sad whatever happened during production prevented the movie from being filmed as intended. I feel especially bad for Grant Williams, a fine actor, who was likely blacklisted because of his sexual preferences, not to mention a well publicized feud with Jack Webb, then director of production for Universal. Better William be remembered for "The Shrinking Man" and "Hawaiian Eye" than this crap. Ditto, Mala Powers for "The Time Travelers".
  • comment
    • Author: Stylish Monkey
    Nuclear war and the end of civilization have been portrayed a number of times in films. The approach is generally sober and thoughtful (as in "Fail-Safe") due to the serious subject matter. I guess "The Doomsday Machine" is trying to be serious but the movie's so horrible that it's rather hard to tell.

    The film opens with the revelation that the bad-guy Chinese have developed a "doomsday machine" which is capable of wiping out Planet Earth. The all-male crew of the spaceship Astra is ready to blast off for Venus when at the last minute three women are substituted for three of the men. There's naturally some grousing about this, but the ship blasts off during a "military emergency", accompanied by the interminable sound of an emergency siren. Naturally, the Chinese do their thing, and the earth is destroyed. The crew is understandably dismayed about this series of events and begins to realize that the coed crew is expected to go forth and multiply. The rest of the movie is nothing more than one long argument among the crew, leading to an almost incomprehensible ending as the two surviving crew members orbit Venus.

    Grant Williams, Bobby Van, Ruta Lee, James Craig, Mala Powers, and Henry Wilcoxon aren't household names but have plenty of acting experience among them. However, each one of them is just dreadful in this film. The acting, script, and direction are so abysmal that staying to the end of the film is quite a challenge. Speaking of the ending—where is it? The film's continuity is legendarily terrible, since the Astra changes appearance multiple times as the movie goes along. The finale was apparently filmed several years after most of the footage, so the actors in the final sequence were not in the original cast, thus they appear in an almost-dark spaceship and are wearing space suits. The movie is really that bad, folks.

    Anyway, I bought this movie for $2.99 in a bargain bin at a local store. I'm beginning to think I paid too much.
  • comment
    • Author: Mikarr
    All right, first thing I have to get off my chest is that I don't understand exactly what the Chinese are supposed to get out of destroying the entire Earth with their doomsday machine. To quote Dr. Strangelove, "The purpose of a doomsday device is to tell the world you have a doomsday device!! WHY DID YOU KEEP IT A SECRET ?!?!?!" It's not like the Chinese actually present a list of demands, or anything, before they blow up the world...it takes a super secret "Mission Impossible" spy mission to discover that the machine exists.Chairman Mao was never about blowing Red China up...it was always his intent to simply steam roll over the West with numbers and the power of Marxism, and allow China (and Communism) to achieve its glorious (and inevitable, in Commie eyes) destiny.

    2nd, if you're going to go to all the trouble of getting your key spy people into the DM facility, couldn't you maybe have them try to sabotage the thing once they discover it? Instead they just take some pictures and run home, heedless of the fact that the entire facility seems to have only 3 staff people in it, and the spies killed the 2nd and 3rd ones.

    I realize I am asking for waaaay too much for a simple, cheaply made SF clunker. But plot holes like this are woven into the very fabric of bad SF movies that will consign the genre to mediocrity for as long as people remember bad movies like this.

    The movie does have a few decent moments, mostly thanks to the cast. (That's why three stars instead of one). Bobby Van does pretty good low-key comedy relief and (later on) modest heroics. The oldest crew member (Wilcoxson) is dignified and likable in his role as the senior scientist/statesmen type. Mala Powers is in here, as is Ruta Lee, and sometimes they can almost manage a reading of a line that redeems the material. The scene where the launch site is put under martial law and the launch sequence is sped up is pretty good - there's a nice sense of strain, worry and foreboding.

    But as for the rest of it - sheesh. The movie can't decide which of two very different models is the actual space ship. The astronauts endure the strain and trauma of take off in what are very obviously easy chair recliners.The battle of the sexes that is the real reason for for movie plays out like the most ham handed soap opera you ever saw on daytime TV. The "end of the world" special effects include stock footage that implies that the astronauts POV suddenly switched to ground level on the planet- sights (and POV) that they couldn't possibly have seen. The plot brings up half baked science that wouldn't pass muster in the 7th grade, including a roll down curtain that supposedly blocks out bad radiation in the capsule, selective gravity, the idea that 3 couples are supposed to restart the human race on a planet that we knew even in 1970 was not habitable. And the last 10-15 minutes (apparently filmed years after the main portion of the movie, with an entirely different cast of actors) is the worst patch job I have ever seen - and I'm including the codas from "Time Of the Apes" and "The Devil Has Seven Faces" in that list.

    "Doomsday Machine" is painfully bad. Fortunately, it's so bad that watching it becomes an exercise in self-amusement, (except for the last 10 minutes, which are excruciatingly dull). Watch at your own risk.
  • comment
    • Author: Akirg
    The communist Chinese develop the gumball technology of doom, who's detonation force will "rupture the faults of the earth's surface and setup a chain reaction of explosions when the earth's tension is broken." For the lay person, this means that the Earth will be destroyed. The US response is to replace half of the all-male crew of Project Astra, who's goal was a mission to Venus for a 2 year trip, with a female crew. Instead of the planned mission, they become humanity's Adam & Eve/Noah's Ark insurance policy. Will humanity survive?

    There are two distinct movies here. The first part is a genuine attempt at a low budget science fiction narrative with a message (albeit derived & unoriginal) in the nature of Ikarie XB1. That movie dies suddenly somewhere over Venus. You are probably asking yourself how will you know when that is? Trust me, you'll know. It is when the second movie starts, all with different faceless-actors in a dark room doing stuff. This leads into stills & voice-over narrative. Fin.

    In the end all you remember is that a lot of painful, pointless dialog occurred, with female astronauts walking around a rocket in their pink robes. And then it all ends in a whimpering blaze (yes I know this is oxymoronic, but it is how I felt). You are not quite sure if anything ended, except the life span of several of your neurons. ad astra per alia porci.

    -Celluloid Rehab
  • comment
    • Author: Kirizius
    Here we go again. Another patch-em-up job with abandoned footage being taken up years later and edited together with new footage in a sadly misguided attempt at making a saleable project out of leftover film scraps. As usual, it doesn't work out, just like "They Saved Hitler's Brain," or "Hell's Bloody Devils," two notorious re-edited clunkers.

    We start out with the "new" footage from 1972. Two spies (ours) in China (they are Chinese Americans I guess) find a "Doomsday Machine" that the Chinese have made to destroy the entire Earth. Why they would do this is never explained, but I guess every movie has to have a bad guy, and the Chinese were in the news in 1972 with Nixon visiting them for the first time.

    This footage lasts about 10 minutes or so. Then we cut to the 1967 footage. Easy to tell the difference between this and 1972 footage: different fashions, different hair, the women wear mini-dresses and giant bubble hair-dos, and everyone's driving cars from 1964, which look pretty new. We're at some type of NASA facility, where a crew is to be launched on a mission to Venus.

    After a laughable press conference (where the general takes a phone call and talks about classified information right in the middle of the room), half of the crew are substituted with women. The male astronauts don't like it, and we get a bunch of Battle-of-the-Sexes dialog that would have been dated even by the 1972 release of this turkey. (Hey, this would make a great double bill with "Space Probe Taurus," which has a lot of the same dialog!)

    Pretty soon the real plot is revealed: the six astronauts are Earth's last chance to repopulate the human race on another planet. The Earth is destroyed soon enough, which eventually leads to existential crisis amongst the astronauts, more bad dialog, a hilariously bad spaceship set with psychedelic lighting, and an ending clearly cobbled together from leftover footage and voiceovers by "omnipotent aliens."

    Wonder what the original ending of this mess was supposed to be? A crazy cast here, with Bobby Van and Ruta Lee (who I know better as game show panelists from the 1970's on Match Game), Casey Kasem as a control room operator, and a brief bit from MASH's Mike Farrell as a reporter. I should also mention the special non-effects by Bad Film legend David L. Hewitt, also a director of such legendarily horrific outings as "The Mighty Gorga," "Journey To The Center of Time" and "The Tormentors."

    It gets a 3 for the entertainment value of its horrible attempts at serious science fiction scenarios on a laughably low budget. If only the pace was quicker and SOMETHING ACTUALLY HAPPENED during the last half of the film I would have been prepared to give it a higher rating. At least the title is appropriate: don't doom yourself to wasting 72 minutes of your life watching this mess. (Another public domain title, this flick is available from different companies for $1, or in a cheap 20 film multipack called "Strange Tales," from Mill Creek Entertainment, which is where I got it from. That set me back 6 bucks...)
  • comment
    • Author: Defolosk
    The motley coed crew of a spaceflight to Venus are forced to fend for themselves and determine the future of mankind after the Earth gets destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. The flat, fumbling direction by Harry Hope and Lee Sholem, Stuart J. Byrne's tediously talky and uneventful script, the dull performances and the slower than two aged turtles walking uphill pace suck all the fun and vitality out of this excruciatingly leaden science fiction clunker. The Hall of Shame Faded Name cast makes for pretty sad viewing: former Tarzan Denny Miller as a stern, no-nonsense colonel, Grant ("The Monolith Monsters") Williams as the lecherous jerk captain, veteran TV actress Mala Powers as a feisty Russian astronaut, song and dance man Bobby Van as an obnoxious hipster, Henry Wilcoxon as a crusty old-timer, Top Forty radio disc jockey Casey Kasem as a Mission Control announcer, and future "M.A.S.H." TV series regular Mike Farrell as a TV reporter. Stanley Cortez's ratty photography, the terrible tin-eared dialogue ("He's not really a fink; he just acts like one"), the droning, monotonously rattling stock film library score, David L. Hewitt's crummy (substantially less than) special effects, and the groan-inducing surprise twist ending add extra abject insult to already appalling injury. A total turkey.
  • comment
    • Author: Simple fellow
    The Doomsday Machine immediately brings to mind such films as Journey to the Seventh Planet, The Wizard of Mars, and Space Probe Taurus, in terms of the film's quality of execution and special effects. Having seen many a "bad" sci-fi film in my day, I recognized most of the SFX as coming from other movies (Gorath and Robinson Crusoe on Mars, predominately) or NASA launch/separation footage, and a lot of repetition of those as well. The only new effects seem to be the ending, and they don't fit in well with the rest of the picture (well, the end just doesn't fit at all, since it was made about six or seven years after the rest of the picture). The La-Z-Boy launch couches are pretty funny when you first see them, and I swear some of the equipment in the spaceship has been cannibalized from other movies I've seen.

    The storyline is mildly interesting, but it just isn't followed through on properly, and things degrade to a somewhat barbaric level on the spaceship far too quickly (with Grant Williams' character going psycho speedily and with no real foreshadowing, at least for me, since my experience with Williams has been limited to basically just his Everyman character from The Incredible Shrinking Man).

    I'm a fan of this genre and I enjoy the cheapie movies better than most of the big budget escapades, since its always enjoyable to try and determine the creators' rationale for what he's doing (and its always fun to riff along to the movie on my own). If you like film science fiction, rent this one if you can find it.

    I remember seeing this one as a Sinister Cinema offering back in the late eighties/early nineties, but never got around to getting it. The copy I watched is in the Nightmare Worlds collection from Mill Creek Entertainment (along with a mess of other good/bad movies from around the same time period), making it a fairly good purchase for the price (less than $20 on eBay).
  • comment
    • Author: Thordibandis
    I put together my Top Ten Worst Movie List some time ago, and find that it's going to be difficult for newcomers to bump any of those titles for the privilege. But "Doomsday Machine" looks like a definite contender, to the extent of making even "The Beast of Yucca Flats" look pretty good by comparison. I've read most of the other reviews on this board to know that I'm not alone on this, in fact it's pretty much an entirely one sided view that this groaner sets the standard for space junk in a vacuum.

    Interestingly, the only other place I've ever heard the word 'azimuth' was in another sci-fi space turkey, and wouldn't you know it, it popped up here in an early conversation aboard the Astra. Keep your eye on the clock that records the elapsed time following blast off, you'll note that it goes, 2:58, 2:59, and then 2:60 instead of 3:00, which makes perfect sense considering all the other goofy stuff that was going on.

    Like the selection of astronauts for the mission. Wouldn't you think that the men selected for this flight would have been among the most highly disciplined and talented that NASA had to offer? So how does a guy like Major Mason (Grant Williams) go from seasoned professional to a raving sex maniac? Not a whole lot of thought was put into this.

    No sense belaboring the point, this was one sad effort in the name of science and cinema. While I'm trying to make up my mind about that aforementioned Worst List, I'll have to reconsider another flick with the same destination. Up till now, I thought "First Spaceship on Venus" had a lock on interplanetary travesties, but now I know better.
  • comment
    • Author: Thorgaginn
    Starting out like some demented Oriental episode of 'The Girl From Uncle' in which a cat is thrown over a wall to distract the guard's dog and a hapless passer-by is garroted with her own pigtails, this movie quickly segues into 'Operation Petticoat' in Space, and, when the entire world blows up and floods space with 'omnipresent radiation', shifts gear into a souped up version of the Tom Godwin classic SF story 'The Cold Equations' before going totally off the rails at the end culminating in an incredible, so far off the belief scale it doesn't bear thinking about, coincidence and an off-screen Deus ex machina followed by several long static shots of nothing at all happening very very slowly.

    There are pleasures to be had here. The lighting is incredible in the ship sequences - with 1960s groovy flower power lighting effects splashed all over the place. It's weird seeing all these military types getting all macho when you keep expecting Hendrix or The Grateful Dead to appear on the soundtrack

    There are some classic bad SF gobbledygook lines to be enjoyed too (some even better than the average badly dubbed Italian space movies of the period). Like this exchange between two of the crew:

    Captain: What do you read on the Doplerscope?

    Crewman: It's been throwing out a good spectrum - the ship is declining. Velocity seventeen thousand five hundred ... I'd say we were forty thousand miles out.

    Captain: Hmm... Put it in the ship's computer and see what we get...

    This is great stuff, pure Grade A meaninglessness. This isn't SF movie babble written by people who had English as a second language, or who had to make whatever they wrote fit the mouth movements of existing footage. This is the real thing. Pure Gibberish.

    Some of the on-screen science is equally baffling. Just what was in that roll of heavy duty Turkey Foil two of the crew men put up against a wall that cut out 95% of the radiation? if it was that good a radiation barrier why wasn't it there in the first place? This movie also contains the the most misunderstood and hilarious explosive decompression ever put on screen as two of the crew partially solve the overmanning problem by accidentally ejecting themselves into space. Life Tip: Demented spacers trying to rape less than genius level Space Bimbos shouldn't drag them into an airlock, shut the door behind them and then push their intended victim backward onto elbow-hight Big Red Buttons.

    This registered as a 7 on my Doplerscope.
  • comment
    • Author: Natety
    the doomsday machine is a hunk of space junk,i believe it was filmed in 1968 and shelved till 1972.the cast is noteworthy but wasted,grant Williams(incredible shrinking man)Casey kasum(American top ten DJ) Mala powers,bobby van(navy vs the night monsters)James Craig(the cyclops)and mike Farrell(m*a*s*h*)as a reporter.the Chinese invent a doomsday device and well you know the rest.its a really bad premise and the special fx look hokey.its bottom of the barrel science fiction thats not even so bad its good.if you need a cure for insomnia then by all means watch the doomed doomsday machine.Elvira hosted this film on VHS/DVD too bad mst3k isn't still on they would have a field day with this.1 out of 10.
  • comment
    • Author: Unirtay
    About six minutes goes by before a single word is spoken in this. From that point on you often find yourself wondering why they started the dialogue - or even the movie for that matter. Basically, this is a bunch of unknown actors (although Mike Farrell in his pre-MASH days pops up as a reporter who speaks 2 or 3 lines) fighting their way through a weak script and ending up with a movie that's - well - pretty bad. Basically, China has invented some sort of weapon that can destroy the earth, and a mission to Venus is sent off early (with three women replacing three crew members) in order to avoid the destruction. The new crew's mission? To procreate and make sure humanity survives the destruction. There were a handful of moments that created uncertainty, and a real question of who was going to end up surviving once it was discovered that only 3 of the 7 in the crew could actually get to Venus. But then a bad movie turns dreadful with an ending that - to me at least - made absolutely no sense whatsoever. This really isn't worth wasting your time with. Really. It isn't!
  • comment
    • Author: Alsardin
    I't's unfortunate that the destruction of earth is the only thing that can get rid of Casey Kasem. Aside from that, why did all the actors in the first few minutes of the film look like low budget 70's porn stars? If only they had killed off the two garbage characters early in the story, or just not had them in the first place, I can see a potentially good movie there. Instead they spent most of the movie on emotional dross, produced largely by the whiny nut case and her would- be rapist. The instant those two died the movie improved immensely; the characters started acting normal, an engrossing plot began to form, and just as it was about to get really interesting one of the ships disappeared and the movie ended!! What kind of filmmaker would do such a thing? It's so cruel; to torture the audience so long, give them the hope of being entertained, and then snatch it viciously from them! How depraved.
  • comment
    • Author: RUL
    Pieced together in 1972, THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE (although most prints exclude THE at the beginning of the title) is the worst movie I have ever viewed. If you looked only at the cast and crew however, that would come as somewhat of a surprise. Grant Williams, Lee Sholem, James Craig and many other members of the production were very reliable in their better years, which brings me to the conclusion that many needed (or accepted) their roles in this modest film "for the money".

    This would account for the bad acting and careless execution of a story that had been seen so many times before even when the film was began in 1967. This involves, with a Commie-apocalypse twist worked in, what happens when a crew of astronauts discover their mission to Venus was actually an attempt to advance the human race beyond an impending nuclear apocalypse (which is unbelievable even with the most infinite amount of suspension of disbelief).

    And so for the next hour the audience is bludgeoned with droning melodrama and incongruous stock footage until a conclusion that will shock you with its utter stupidity and inexplicable nature.

    What makes the film somewhat of a guilty pleasure is to see how it scrapes the bottom of the barrel in terms of production values, offers no provocative politics and little human conflict in a situation that requires huge amounts and frames all of its action in a static manner. This film shows the viewer explicitly everything that can go wrong in making a movie, and provides the some of the most laughable dialogue and scenes one may ever see.

    Grouped most accurately with other tiny-budget commercial independents of the 70s like CRY BLOOD, APACHE and THE REVENGE OF DR.X, the film wastes the talents of its once-great principals and the time of anyone who sees it--I can't even see many of those who love terrible cinema enjoying this--and makes one wince in sheer boredom that there must be something interesting in the film.

    For all of the 80-odd minutes spent watching this one, there really isn't. See it at your own risk.
  • comment
    • Author: tref
    I'm glad for other comments concerning the putting together of unmatched pieces in this film. It is almost non-sensical because of it. Had I thought there was some sort of order, I would have wondered who the incompetent was who hatched this. As it is, it is simply using pieces that were probably rather expensive to make a poor man's "2001: A Space Odyssey." The ridiculous interactions among the crew, the whole point of even going on the voyage, the spy stuff with the Chinese at the beginning. The silly inclusion of a group of women added at the last minute, make for a total mess. We are left out of any sort of coherent flow and so the thing falls dead in its tracks. It reminds me of the stuff the school cooks used to make out of all the bad food that was left over from a week of hot lunches.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Bobby Van Bobby Van - Danny
    Ruta Lee Ruta Lee - Dr. Marion Turner
    Mala Powers Mala Powers - Maj. Georgianna Bronski
    James Craig James Craig - Dr. Haines
    Grant Williams Grant Williams - Maj. Kurt Mason
    Henry Wilcoxon Henry Wilcoxon - Dr. Christopher Perry
    Chia Essie Lin Chia Essie Lin - Girl Spy (as Essie Lin Chia)
    Casey Kasem Casey Kasem - Mission Control Officer
    Lorri Scott Lorri Scott - Lt. Katie Carlson
    Denny Miller Denny Miller - Col. Don Price (as Scott Miller)
    Mike Farrell Mike Farrell - 1st Reporter
    John Cestare John Cestare
    Raymond Mayo Raymond Mayo
    Frank Gambina Frank Gambina
    Mark Bailey Mark Bailey - Major / Astronaut
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