Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Weird Wednesday OSR Film Inspiration - Disney's The Black Hole Film from 1979

I actually saw this movie at a drive in back in 1979, I was nine years old. It pretty much screwed me up for life. The movie plot is as follows: It is the year 2130 A.D. An Earth exploratory ship, the USS Palomino, discovers a black hole with a lost ship, the USS Cygnus, just outside its event horizon. Deciding to solve the mystery of the Cygnus are: the Palomino's Captain, Dan Holland; his First Officer, Lieutenant Charlie Pizer; journalist Harry Booth; scientist and ESP-sensitive Dr. Kate McCrae, whose father was the Cygnus's First Officer; Dr. Alex Durant, the expedition's civilian leader; and the robot known as V.I.N.CENT. The Palomino attempts a dangerous fly-by of the darkened ship. As they come within close range of it, the buffeting they experience (due to the black hole's gravity) suddenly ceases. They bring more instruments to bear on the derelict, but do not even realize the gravity-free zone is artificial; slipping outside it, they are almost drawn into the black hole, an abyss from which no one can escape...
.There are a few things about the movie that just jump out at you The black hole is one of them. To my mind it was like a bath tube drain on reality. Crushing, sucking, eating everything around it. It might have been a new god if there ever was one. It was relentless. The thing was like a red hued hell mouth. The soundtrack brought this right in.
  Then there are the robots but maximilan is the one that really stands out in my mind's eye. This evil red thing looks like a robot designed by Satan himself. This multi tooled thing of evil  is straight out of a Lovecraftian nightmare. I've seen all kinds of theories about Max on the internet. The bot was the devil watching over the Doctor, the bot was actually the doctor & the mad scientist was simply a clone,  & Max was the embodiment of the doctor's genocidal evil in robot form. The list is pretty endless. 

 Then there's the The U.S.S. Cygnus. WOW!!! What a beautiful ship.That holds more then a few deadly secrets!

Vincent & Old Bob are great little bots & somewhat in the vein of R2D2 & C3PO but they have their own charm. As can be seen from this scene.
Robert Forster is the quietly authoritative captain of an exploration ship that stumbles across the seemingly derelict ship, and Anthony Perkins, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, and Joseph Bottoms fill out his crew. 

 Then we've got this guy! Dr. Hans Reinhardt is the heart & evil soul of this outfit. He is both the past of the Cynus & its present. He's a Dr.Nemo, Mr.Spock, & Victor Frankenstein all rolled into one. Only he's got the ego to wrestle with the black hole & the will to develop the technology that allows him to survive amid the most destructive force in the universe! At a price though.

I'm not mentioning the crew because well  go watch the movie.. The influences on another film like say Event Horizon are pretty clear 

The Black Hole & The OSR 

One wouldn't think that there's a lot to work with here. One would be wrong. Let hit the highlights.. 

  • The Cynus - This ship has megadungeon all over it. Seriously this monstersity has a number of decks plus hydroponics, factories, drones, abandon sections, etc. The ship is made to be explored! Do you think that the crew of the Palomino is the first aboard this haunted derelict of a ship? What other secrets are aboard. The gravity generators keeping the ship away from the monster black hole, the incredible reactor systems, the secret note books of Hans himself! 
  •  ESP-sensitive scientist Dr. Kate McCrae & here relationship with the rest of the crew. Hans treats her as if Psionics isn't that big of a deal. Perhaps its not in 2130 A.D.
  • What's up with this future world of 2130 A.D.? The world seems pretty exploration happy. We're expanding outward into the universe in this movie & not all of space is a happy place at all. What's up with those other ships that the Palomino goes through while identifying the Cynus? What happened to those other ships? Maybe there's an adventure waiting in the wings right there. 
  • The movie tests the boundaries of reality at the edge of the event horizon. There's an atmosphere here. What's up with that? Perhaps the black hole touches the outer darkness between the stars? Who knows what might emerge from some planar nether world
  • Could there have been a few survivors of the Dr. Hans Reinhardt mutiny? Perhaps their still out there in cold sleep. There  might be an adventure right there. 
  • Perhaps the hell that the crew of the Cynus reaches isn't entirely closed off & there may be those willing to serve vs working in the strange hell like place. 
  • Perhaps a rescuae ship is sent after the Palomino & encounters the remains of the ship. The trail leads to the black hole where the Max/Dr. Hans Reinhardt entity are still trapped. Things might go from bad to worse.
  • How did  Hans Reinhardt  build all of those robots & Max plus those anti gravity generators, the reactors etc. Where might he have gotten those types of technology? May be he found an artifact of this type & had his intellect boosted Here
Black Hole Links 

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