Cultural Gutter: Over the Moon, Comrade

On the Cultural Gutter, Over the Moon, Comrade is my look at the Soviet science fiction adventure Cosmic Voyage and the film that inspired it, Fritz Lang’s Woman in the Moon.

Mad Science and Martian Maidens

Russian author Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote the stories that served as the source material for two of the Soviet Union’s best-known science fiction adventures: the futurist fantasy Aelita, Queen of Mars and the Fantomas-inspired pulp thriller The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin. Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy was Russia’s less internationally known Tolstoy. While the one was writing…

Cultural Gutter: Einstein and the Bearded Lady

Time for another Frolic Afield over at The Cultural Gutter, where I am writing Einstein and the Bearded Lady, about the Czech science fiction comedy I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen (Zabil jsem Einsteina, panove) from 1970. The film asks the question, “What would men of the future be willing to risk to make sure women don’t…

Signale — Ein Weltraumabenteuer

Some years ago, a trio of colorful, contemplative, and sometimes a little bit absurd science fiction films from East German studio DEFA found their way onto home video in the United States. Of them, The Silent Star was the most beloved thanks to its combination of serious speculation and pop-art design, as well as the…

Die Danger Die Die Kill: Eolomea

Todd from Die Danger Die Die Kill is responsible for many of the best reviews on Teleport City, including reviews of two East German science fiction films produced by DEFA. I got a chance to return the favor (a little) by writing about a DEFA science fiction film, Eolomea, for his site.

Ikarie XB-1

That Ikarie was a high profile undertaking for the studio is clearly evidenced by the obvious expense that went into the film’s large cast, it’s for-the-time above average special effects and, above all, Jan Zazvorka’s production design.

To the Stars By Hard Ways

In 2002, I had the possibly once in a lifetime chance to spend an entire summer driving across the United States. My traveling partner and I were able to indulge every whim, sometimes diverting wildly from our vaguely set course in order to visit some out of the way attraction or satisfy some curiosity or…

Hard to be a God

This German-French-Soviet film is very much like an episode of Star Trek — with all the well-meaning ham-handedness that implies — only with more grime, blood, and full frontal male nudity.

Who Wants to Kill Jessie?

Alongside all of its surface froth, Who Wants to Kill Jessie carries a simple political message that’s pretty hard to miss – that authority’s attempts to suppress the dreams of its subjects have a tendency to force those dreams into the world of action, and that, once made manifest, those dreams tend to be a genie that’s pretty hard to get back into the bottle.

In the Dust of the Stars

An expedition crew — comprised of four women and two men — heads out from the planet Cynro toward the unexplored planet Tem 4 in response to a mysterious distress call. Due to the length of the voyage, many months have passed by the time of their arrival, at which point the conveniently humanoid inhabitants of Tem 4 claim no knowledge of the signal.

The Silent Star

It is simply a visual treat, and the amount of imagination apparent in every aspect of its design is a joy to behold, with a story that is solid and economical enough in its construction to easily survive instances of ideological lip service.