Things to Come [1936]

H.G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come is so deliriously bad that it begs inclusion in any collection of 1970s kitsch. It's a disco-flavored variant of TV's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century--just another no-budget rider on the coattails of Star Wars. Only a fool would perceive even a slight connection to Wells's classic novel, to which this misleadingly titled cheese-fest is ostensibly a sequel. Their careers in sorry decline, Jack Palance, Carol Lynley, Barry Morse (late of TV's Space: 1999), and John Ireland look embarrassed as they wrestle with a wearisome post-apocalyptic plot that pitches Morse, a pair of Ken-and-Barbie heroes, and their quirky robot (of course) against megalomaniac emperor Palance, who controls a drug needed for survival of moon-based colonists. Prior to directing this laughable mess, George McCowan had helmed episodes of several prominent TV action series of the '70s, but here he devolves into moribund hackwork. This is a ham sandwich sans bread, from a time when stale sci-fi was spreading like mold on George Lucas's leftovers. --Jeff Shannon

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