STARRING: Jeff Wincott, Maria Ford, Stacy Keach

1997, 77 Minutes, Directed by: Lewis Baumander

"I'm stuck in a poor man's Raiders of the Lost Ark," the chief protagonist at some point in Future Fear quips. If only! In truth he is stuck in a poor man's Plan 9 from Outer Space. Yes, it's that bad.

It's as if several people had a hand in writing Future Fear. The first writer wrote a story about the hero being chased around by his irate ex-wife clad in a skin tight red costume (I kid you not!) brandishing a ray gun straight out of Flash Gordon. He has discovered the cure for a disease brought to earth by a space probe that took samples from a passing meteorite. His father-in-law (played by Stacy Keach, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer on TV, Escape from LA) is a demented US army general who deliberately spread the killer virus by crashing the probe right on the African continent. Seems that Keach is a race supremacist who wants to wipe out what he terms "lesser races" (probably Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, actors with better agents, etc. although he never really specifies).

One would think that the US army would screen its applicants better than allowing somebody who mutters the word "Aryan" a lot into its upper ranks, but alas. The nutcase general needs the cure so that a chosen few would survive, which is something he should probably have thought of before actually spreading the thing. So he orders the protagonist's ex-wife to chase him around in order to obtain the cure. (The logic of this is unclear in the movie.) She does this because the cure involves some kind of semi-fetal form of life and she is an extreme pro-lifer because he (the, erm, "hero") wanted her to undergo an abortion at some stage. (I'm not making this up.)

"Could this be one of those spoof porno movies? I thought. Alice Does Wonderland? If only . . ."

So it's a pretty straightforward chase movie? If only! This is where the other writers come in. One probably felt that what this sort of thing needed was some flashback style narration. Linear storytelling is obviously too dull, so cue flashbacks. Lots of them. In fact one fight scene (between the "hero" and his ex-wife) is interspersed with scenes of them making love. What this is supposed to signify is unclear. Perhaps they needed some nude shots of the blonde, erm, actress who plays the ex-wife. Maybe the screenwriter thought this is a pretty poignant indication of how their relationship has deteriorated. 

Whatever. The point is that the flashbacks are so numerous that one has difficulty in following just what the hell is going on. Is this happening in real-time or is it another flashback? As if this sort of obfuscation wasn't enough, another writer probably came along and decided the story needed some techno babble of the sort that sometimes makes Star Trek movies such a chore to follow. So cue lots of talk about "genetics" and whatnot, making the plot even more incomprehensible.

Yet another writer decided that what the screenplay needed was some "sparkle" - so he added lame and groan-worthy wisecracks and one-liners (even worse than those dreamt up for Arnie in Batman & Robin, seriously!) and some downright weird Lewis Carroll quotes and references. Come again? That's right: Future Fear is inundated with unnecessary Alice In Wonderland references. Why, beyond the "hero" (and the screenwriter) being a fan, this should be case is also a mystery. In-between the bad costumes, cheap sets, muzak soundtrack and bad overacting what the movie needed was some pretension.

At one stage the hero and heroine stages a recreation of the famous tea party in the Carroll novel. She is Alice, he the Mad Hatter. She sits on the table in front of him, parting her legs and unbuttons her dress revealing her naked breasts. Could this be turning into one of those spoof porno movies? I thought. Alice Does Wonderland? If only . . .

Watching this movie stoned might help, but I'm not advocating the use of illicit drugs here. The best is not to watch Future Fear at all. This is the sort of movie that Mystery Science Theater 3000 would have obtained to dis had it still existed (it is after all produced by one Roger Corman). If only!



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