Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Screamers (1996)

Giant mechanical killer gopher attack

"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for September 8, 1996
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

Has this ever happened to you?
You're watching one of the 347 cable boxing matches of the week. Let's say it's a match between Louie "Hammerhead" Santini and Frankie "Frank" Franklin. The announcer says: "Santini is wearing the diamond-checked trunks with gold trim and black piping. Franklin is wearing the royal blue trunks peppered with a silver fleur-de-lis cross-stitch." And you're staring at these trunks, thinking: "OK, what did he say? Diamonds, gold stuff. Blue Frenchie stitches. Which one is Franklin? OK. Good. That's Franklin. No, that's Santini." And it all looks like one big lasagna dinner because the boxers have so many Kmart designer logos on their pants, and you get cross-eyed trying to figure it out, and all this time you're noticing that one of the fighters is WHITE, and the other fighter is BLACK.

Am I the only person who notices this? Why don't they just say, "Santini is the white guy, and Franklin is the black guy"?
We can SEE that. We can UNDERSTAND that. When a guy is boxing, you can see 90 percent of his skin. His trunks only take up about FIVE percent. Wouldn't this be an obvious way to show us WHICH GUY IS WHICH? I'm sure there's some kinda politically correct reason why they don't do this. I can't imagine what it is, but let's try to figure it out.
1. They don't want us to notice that one guy is white and one guy is black. I think we already have. It was at the moment we turned to the guy next to us and said: "Which one is Franklin? The black guy or the white guy?"
2. They don't wanna say the word "black" because they might get in trouble for NOT saying "African-American." But you can't say "African-American," because that has nothing to do with skin color. Those Dutchie boys from South Africa are whiter than Bjorn Borg. But this doesn't wash, because they would be talking about where the guy comes from. They'd be talking about WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE. So we'd know which one he was.
3. They think the world has become a much better place and the boxing audience is so enlightened that they never, even for a moment, notice anyone's skin color. They see every single human being as exactly alike.
It's one of the great things about the world of this progressive modern New Age sport.
Yeah, right.
I have no idea. But get over it, guys, OK? I don't wanna have to tell you again.

And speaking of people with permanent brain damage, "Screamers" is a pretty dang decent futuristic sci-fi glopathon starring Peter Weller as an Earth soldier stuck on one of those outer-space mining colonies first used in "Outland" [Sean Connery’s outer-space remake of “High Noon”] and still going strong after 978 movies.

The problem is, Peter is the commander of an outpost surrounded by these underground android weasels called "screamers" that root around under the earth like groundhogs and hack your limbs off while making a sound like 37,000 train whistles.
They look like reptiles, but they're actually mechanical killing machines that breed at a secret location.

When Peter finds out that he's been taking orders for two years from a dead man's hologram, he's a little ticked off.
Fortunately, the other army he's been fighting wants to talk peace, so he sets off across the snowy wastes with a gung-ho private, ready to paste some mechanical mud-weasel hiney.
They link up with a poor little orphan boy who turns out to be a deranged androidal killing machine himSELF, and pretty soon we get into one of those ones where, for all we know, every single person in the movie could be an android.

Our only hope is that Jennifer Rubin, the sexy commander of the enemy outpost, is not one of them, and that together they can find true love on a speed rocket back to the States.

Incineration City. Kaplooey. Kablam. Kaput. It's one of those "You thought Mad Mad was brutal-look at THIS" flicks.
Of course, I loved it. I didn't really UNDERSTAND it, but I loved it.
Forty-eight dead bodies.
No breasts.
Giant mechanical killer gopher attack.
Rocks that turn into killer bugs.
Multiple androids.
Exploding head.
Rat attack.
Midget dinosaur attack.
Knife to the chest.
Flaming child androids.
Plutonium fireball, with mushroom cloud.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for ...
Peter Weller, as the confused commander who doesn't know who's human and who's machine, for saying, "Jefferson, you must be confusing me with someone who gives a s____," and,
"You're coming up in the world-you've learned how to kill each other."
And Jennifer Rubin, as the gal with the really big guns who says, "We're gonna die-you know that, don't you?"
Three and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.
© 1996 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at www.Joe Bob

"Screamers" is available on video and on DVD

Trivia courtesy American Movie Classics:
It took 16 years for the film "Screamers" to materialize. Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon started work adapting Philip K. Dick's short story "Second Variety" shortly after finishing the screenplay of Alien (1979)

If you think “Screamers” is a scream, check out Joe Bob’s review of Warlock
not to mention
Scream and Scream 2
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