Review: The Day Time Ended / Cert: 12 / Director: John Cardos / Screenplay: Wayne Schmidt, J. Larry Carrol, Davod Schmoeller / Starring: Jim Davis, Christopher Mitchum, Dorothy Malone, Marcy Lafferty / Release Date: September 17th
88 Films' new Grindhouse range of DVDs gets off to a flying start with this trippy delight. The first thing to note is that it stars Jim Dixon, better known as Jock Ewing from Dallas. The second thing to note is that it's completely nuts.
Eager to escape the madding crowd, grey-haired patriarch Grant (Dixon) has built a state-of-the-art ranch-style dwelling in the middle of the desert (you'd have thought he would have had enough of ranches after all those argumentative suppers around the Southfork dinner table, but some people never learn). However, no sooner has he installed his extended family in this plush new abode, when weird things start happening – triggered by the energy of a supernova which happens to be reaching Earth at that very moment. In the corral behind the house, winsome granddaughter Jenny (Ryan) stumbles upon a massive green obelisk, which then shrinks to a size where it can comfortably fit in her pocket. That night, she wakes up to find a little green man dancing and twirling about her room. He, in turn, is scared off by a floating space-craft which resembles a photographic enlarger with legs.
By now, everyone is up and wondering what is going on. More alien space-craft flash past the window. Hearing a knock on the front door, Grant's wife Ana (Malone) opens it to discover a slavering monster looming there. “You know what's happening?” says Grant. “It's a space-time warp.” “I'm not quite sure I know what that is, Dad,” replies his son Steve (Kolden) politely, perhaps wondering if the old man has been hit on the head by the flying photographic enlarger.
But Grant's right. A space-time warp is the only possible explanation – either that or someone has been smoking a whole lot of weed. (Three writers are credited to the script, which suggests a spliff of considerable size.) Whatever the crackpot premise, the result is a wonderfully unhinged piece of film-making. Although made as late as 1979, it feels like an old school B-movie. The dusty desert setting and grainy, washed-out film stock give it the authentic grindhouse look. It's easy to knock the optical effects and stop-motion animation, but if you give yourself over to them they have their own gauzy, otherworldly charm. The last reel, especially, has some genuinely hallucinatory moments that channel the ghostly, behind-the-veil vibe that Fulci went for in some of his flicks. This is one to show your friends, so that you can watch their supercilious expressions turn first to puzzlement, then to fascination and finally to awe as they try to get to the bottom of what they're seeing. Cinematic peyote.
Special Features: 1:13:1 Original Aspect Ratio, Stills Gallery, Full Moon Trailer Park, Reversible Sleeve with Original Artwork