In the early 1980s, there were these things called “video tapes,” on which you could record programming or movies, what have you. And in those prehistoric times, you could either record said programming from your TV, or you could go to what were called “video rental stores.” These were similar to those Redbox kiosks that they have everywhere, except it was a whole store with people in it.
At first, they were local mom-and-pop stores, but then the giant corporate stores came to town and homogenized the video selection for everyone, thus depriving them of renting such craptacular films as Blood Freak or The Psychic.
And video releases in the early and mid-80s weren’t as quick as they are now. You might have had to wait a year for a movie to come out on video, and God help you if you had a Betamax. But what these mom-and-pop video stores had in great quantity were 60s- and 70s-era Disney movies. My brother and I watched damn near all of them. Freaky Friday, The Parent Trap, The Snowball Express (which now actually sounds like a porn title), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (another porny title), even friggin’ Condorman.
Oh, and The Black Hole (still another would-be porn title. Weird.). Seen largely as Disney’s answer to Star Wars, The Black Hole was originally aimed to ape 2001: A Space Odyssey but was revised, I assume, when they saw the metric assloads of money Star Wars raked in. It’s not a great movie; it’s quite uneven, and the cutesy robots are a definite turn-off, but I would consider it a pretty good B movie.
While returning from a deep-space mission, the crew of the USS Palomino comes across a derelict spaceship, the USS Cygnus, which is somehow chilling right outside the event horizon of a black hole (which strangely looks red an awful lot of the time). Once aboard the Cygnus, the crew finds Dr. Hans Reinhardt, who appears to be the only human among a crew of faceless robots.
Years later, this is the movie I was reminded of when I watched Event Horizon.
Anyhow, things aren’t what they seem, bla bla bla, explosions, Anthony Perkins gets the La Machine treatment, and then at the end…
Well, at the end, everything goes kinda batshit. I never quite figured it out as a kid; the bad guy merged with his creepy evil robot and apparently went to Hell, and the good guys flew through the black hole. It’s a bit scattered. But the Hell parts creeped me out.
See what you think.
We then followed that with The Devil and Max Devlin, in which Bill Cosby is an agent of Satan. And yes, this was another Disney movie. Seriously, what the hell was going on over there?