Android had a tough journey to enter into my temporal lobe. Standing reading the VHS cover, it had excited this young Mikey with a saucy looking space romp. Sure to be boobs, some spaceships and going on the title it had to have an android. Yep I was ready for this. Handing over the empty cassette box to the guy behind the counter I waited for “are you old enough for this?“! A big smile, it didn’t come. To be honest I was quite tall and I’m sure the bored looking guy in the rental shop really didn’t care.
Excitedly shoving the cassette in the vhs player, with snacks on standby, I was ready to be entertained! Unfortunately this young lad was gonna be deeply disappointed. The tracking was out completely! I kept twisting the tracking control to no avail! It was unwatchable. Moaning as I cycled back to the video store, I swapped it for Missing In Action starring Chuck Norris. To be fair I was definitely entertained but I wanted boobies in space!
The gods must have shined down on me because out of the blue, a week or two later it was shown on television. It just happened to be on. I’d missed the first 20 minutes but I got to see Brie Howard. She was feisty and I was in love. Then the teenage hormones were brought back into check when the weird looking German guy with a face only a mother could love, Klaus Kinski showed up.
It was weird, strange and with missing the beginning I didn’t really know what was going on. Fast forward to 2019 and I get to watch it all again, in full, for our little group review The Video Store Action Heroes. This quarterly joint rental memory collaboration was picked by Greg from Destroy All Fanboys. Our theme was “a low budget science fiction movie” and with my sci-fi month of January in full flow, I was really excited about it. So with me going for his here Android from 1982/3, what did the other guys go for?
Greg At Destroy All Fanboys took a flight through the Slipstream
Mike over at Mikes Take On The Movies goes UFO hunting in Hangar 18
Todd, holding the fort at Cinema Monolith went offworld with Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone
Well to start off, this tagline might build Android up a little too much lol.
Tagline – GRIPPING ACTION, FUTURISTIC EFFECTS, Voted Best Science Fiction Film 1983, by The Age (Who ever they be?)
Working on a remote space station is Dr Daniel (Klaus Kinski) a brilliant but recluse scientist. A genius in the creation of androids, so real that you wouldn’t see the tell-tale signs at first. He had created Max 404 (Don Keith Opper) five years earlier to assist him in his work. Dr Daniel’s work is highly illegally now, after the android mutiny back on Earth got kind of messy! So hiding away from prying eyes, he can work on his newest creation, Cassandra One (Kendra Kirchner). The thing is Dr Daniel has become pretty sleazy in his old age. He is desperately trying to break the code to make a sexually aware android. There lay Cassandra One in all her naked glory but she was lifeless, she needed a spark!
Tagline – Much more than human….. but still not perfect.
So Max has been brought up learning all things about human sexual feelings. Educational videos and computer graphics showing loving making and the attractions between male and females. Yet poor Max has never even seen a human woman before. Max is naive, inquisitive, thoughtful and kind. Lucky Max has a chance to learn other Earthly pieces of culture rather than just nookie. He has a love for film noir and actors from the classic era of film. And under that honest exterior Max can also be a little mischievous with a sense of his own innocent humor.
Our Max is only used to the company of his boss, Dr Daniel and when a distress call comes through on the control room console he’s put in a dilemma. Wake Dr Daniel who’s just demanded not to be disturbed or let this strange ship have the docking codes to be able to repair their engines. Hearing a girl’s voice over the communication channel makes his mind up for him. Little does he know that the edition of these three to the space station is going to change Max’s relatively boring life.
Three escaped hardened criminals who have broken out of prison killing all that got in their way. Keller (Norbert Weisser), Mendes (Crofton Hardester) and Maggie (Brie Howard) come aboard posing as the transport’s crew they had killed. Max helps the dodgy trio settle into their new accommodation. Soon Dr Daniel’s will be awake and he’s not going to going to be happy at all….. until! “Well hello lovely lady will you come have dinner with me?”
Maggie – “And you want to hook me up to this robot and stimulate me!”
Dr. Daniel – “Yes” Maggie – “Stimulate like sex, right?” Dr. Daniel – “Yes”
Maggie – “Brother, you take the prize. That’s the weirdest line for getting into my pants that I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard ’em all. I mean, lunch was good, but it wasn’t that good.”
What with Dr Daniel’s weird manner and secret project and Keller and Mendes forever fighting each other. Max is stuck in the middle as he innocently fascinates over Maggie. Maggie is headstrong, feisty and beautiful. Max’s emotions are all over the place but tries his best to conceal being an android. What will be in store for this odd mix of people stuck on a space station? Will Dr Daniel manage to put life into Cassandra One? Can Maggie escape this space station and will Max be able to work out the meaning of life? And most importantly, is there boobies in space? You will have to tune into to find out. (but yeah there are a few hehe)
A few observations
- Now poor Don Keith Opper didn’t get his name on the film credits as they went for the notion that he was in fact a real Android? From “And introducing Max 404” to Max 404 “Himself”. Still I’m sure he was happy to have just a big part in his debut acting role. Of which he was fantastic.
- Directed by Aaron Lipstadt who made the pretty rubbish film after it called City Limits (1984) I remember it as it had Rae Dawn Chong who I had a big crush on.
- Don Keith Opper who plays Max had also co-written the story alongside James and Will Reigle.
- Now I’ve just learnt this as I type but I’m reading that it was made through the Roger Corman studios and he was an uncredited executive producer. And also James Cameron was a design consultant! The ship interiors are excellent for the budget.
Now Cassandra One (Kendra Kirchner) is very sexy but it was Brie Howard who I was obsessed with as a youth and still had a flutter seeing her again. With the wonderful world of the internet I have found out she was drummer. She used to do lead vocals and percussion for a 70’s all female group called Fanny! Then moving onto bands American Girls and Boxing Gandhis. Have to say I haven’t heard of any of them but I was surprised and happy to hear she was the drummer on Alexander O’Neal’s Criticize video. I used to love that song!
And on more research it’s amazing what you stumble upon! Brie Howard name is Brie Brandt and she is the mother to Playboy’s Playmate of the month of October 1987 Brandi Brandt. In 1990 she was featured on the cover of Playboy magazine’s March edition with no other than Donald Trump.
You know what I really liked the design concept of this film and what with its extreme low budget and quick turnaround they managed to pull off a excellent looking space station set up. I read it’s left over bits from other Roger Corman sets like Galaxy Of Terror, Forbidden World and probably Battle Beyond the Stars. It’s a crazy and pretty silly story but watching it again I felt it really held up well for a micro budget 80’s science fiction film with a saucy nature twist thrown in. Klaus looks like he’s walking through the motions but Don Keith Opper gives an excellent performance and is very likable as Max. And like Don Keith this was also Brie Howard’s debut acting role and she could do no wrong in my eyes. Worth tracking down? If you like 80’s sci-fi I would say very much yes, I really like it but it’s definitely not for everyone.
Hope you have enjoyed this edition of the Video Store Action Heroes. Be sure to visit the over great movies the gang have reviewed. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment if you wish. All the best and keep having fun with movies. Mikey Wolf
PS I’m not sure if this was a 1982 or 1983 release? Conflicting years seem to be out there.