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BraveStarr: The Movie - 1988

BraveStarr: The Movie is an animated Space Western released on March 18, 1988 by Taurus Entertainment. The film was based on Filmation's television series and Mattel's action figure of the same name, and was also among the first animated features to use computer graphics.

The film tells the story of the original discovery of Kerium (a fictional ore that serves as the main plot element of the TV series), and how the Galactic Marshall Bravestarr came to battle Tex Hex (a wanted outlaw) and his master Stampede (an evil spirit in the form of a bull skull) on the planet of New Texas.

It also introduces his allies: J.B. (a female judge), Thirty/Thirty (his talking horse, who can become bipedal and fight on his own), Deputy Fuzz (one of the Prairie People, the original indigenous people of New Texas), and the Shaman (BraveStarr's mentor who helps him discover his animal-based powers).

Outland - 1981

Marshal W.T. O'Niel is assigned to a mining colony on Io, one of Jupiter's moons. During his tenure miners are dying - usually violently. When the marshal investigates he discovers the one thing all the deaths have in common is a lethal amphetamine-type drug, which allows the miners to work continuously for days at a time until they become "burned out" and expire.

O'Niel follows the trail of the dealers, which leads to the man overseeing the colony. Now O'Niel must watch his back at every turn, as those who seek to protect their income begin targeting him.

Battle Beyond the Stars - 1980

A pastiche of The Magnificent Seven in space. Shad, a young farmer, assembles a band of diverse mercenaries in outer space to defend his peaceful planet from the evil tyrant Sador and his armada of aggressors.

Among the mercenaries are Space Cowboy, a spacegoing truck driver from Earth; Gelt, a wealthy but experienced assassin looking for a place to hide; and Saint-Exmin, a Valkyrie warrior looking to prove herself in battle.

Galaxina 1980

Galaxina is a low-budget American comedy/science fiction film, best remembered for its lead actress, Playboy Playmate of the Year for 1980 Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered shortly after the movie's release. Besides its parodies of science fiction mainstays like Star Wars, this film also pokes fun at western movies.

An IMDB reviewer describes this cellar dwellar space western the best: If you ever wondered what a porn movie would look like if you took out the sex and just left in the bad dialog, cheap sets and bad acting, you would have Galaxina.

This film came out when the Original Star Wars proved there was a market for Science Fiction. This in turn lead to some gems such as Alien. Unfortunately, it also led to some bad movies, and this was one of them.

Here's the underlying problem. Dorothy Stratton couldn't act, so for most of the movie, they didn't even let her try. I understand her tragic death has given this film an undeserved cult status, but for the life of me I can't understand why.


Similar Sub-genres: Frontier Sci-Fi

Space Western is a subgenre of science fiction, primarily grounded in film and television programming, that transposes themes of American Western books and film (e.g., cowboys) to a backdrop of futuristic space frontiers; it is the complement of the science fiction Western, which transposes science fiction themes onto an American Western setting.

Frontier Sci-Fi centers on stories of people conquering new frontiers, leaving our world to colonize a preferable one. Usually told with a "Grass is greener" aspect, only to learn that the same problems face them in the new colony. Similar to hardscrabble miners, crafty independent spacemen ply the asteroid belt in search of resources to send back to civilization.

I will be highlighting films of both sub-genres in this section. This is a new feature project and as you can see at the moment, it is a bare bones article. I will be including many more films as time allows.

Defiance SyFy Show 2013

In the year 2046, it's a new Earth - with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan and his charge, Irisa. As they settle into town - overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater - events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.

Oblivion 2013

While we have Oblivion featured in SFMZ's Apocalyptic Sci-Fi section, the film's various sub-genres could include Space Western. On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.

Serenity 2005

In the future, a spaceship called Serenity is harboring a passenger with a deadly secret. Six rebels on the run. An assassin in pursuit.When the renegade crew of Serenity agrees to hide a fugitive on their ship, they find themselves in an awesome action-packed battle between the relentless military might of a totalitarian regime who will destroy anyone to get the girl back.

Space Cowboys 2000

When a retired engineer is called upon to rescue a failing satellite, he insists that his equally old teammates accompany him into space.

Ghosts of Mars 2001

An IMDB Reviewer: This is a tremendously entertaining film that shouldn't be viewed as a horror film, but rather, as a tongue-in-cheek western, in the vain of the Spaghetti Westerns.

John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars is an American science fiction action film composed, written, and directed by John Carpenter. The film stars Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, Clea DuVall, and Joanna Cassidy.

The film was a critical and financial failure, scoring just a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earning $14 million at the box office, against a $28 million production budget.

Michelle Yeoh, Franka Potente and Famke Janssen were the first choices for the role of Melanie Ballard, but they turned it down. Natasha Henstridge came on board by the suggestion of Liam Waite.

Jason Statham was originally going to play Desolation Williams, but he was replaced by Ice Cube because the producers needed some star power for the part and Statham instead played the character of Nathan Jericho. Although Mars has a day/night cycle almost identical in length to Earth's, most of the film is set at night.

Mars is shown only once in the daytime, in a flashback when a scientist describes how she found and opened a "Pandora's Box," unleashing the alien spirits. Much of the film was shot in a New Mexican gypsum mine. The pure white gypsum had to be dyed with thousands of gallons of biodegradable red food dye to recreate the Martian landscape.

Plot: 200 years in the future, Mars has been colonized by a high-tech company. Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge) arrives by train to a Mars mining camp which has cut all communication links with the company headquarters. She's not alone, she is with a group of fellow police officers.

They find the mining camp deserted except for a person in the prison, Desolation Williams (Ice Cube), who seems to laugh about them because they are all going to die. They were supposed to take Desolation to headquarters, but they decide to explore first to know what happened. They find a man inside an encapsulated mining car, which tells them not to open it.

When they do it, he tries to kill them. They must team up together, which is something difficult. However, one of the cops see many strange men with deep scarred and heavily tattooed faces killing the remaining survivers. They really need to leave the place fast. Desolation explains that the miners opened a kind of martian construction in the soil which unleashed red dust.

Those who breathed that dust became violent psycopaths which started to build weapons and kill the uninfected. They changed genetically, becoming distorted but much stronger. They leave the prison with difficulty, but they divise a plan to kill all the genetically modified ex-miners while leaving.

However, the plan goes awry, and only Melanie and Desolation will reach headquarters. She realises that her bosses won't ever believe her. Later, the red dust arrives to headquarters, and Melanie and Desolation will fight once again.

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