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Despiser and Iron Sky; Two Odd Low Budget Movies

Updated on April 11, 2019
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Despiser DVD CoverTheatrical Release Poster
Despiser DVD Cover
Despiser DVD Cover | Source
Theatrical Release Poster
Theatrical Release Poster | Source

Despiser and Iron Sky; Two Odd Low Budget Movies

"Despiser" and "Iron Sky" are two 21st Century low budget movies. These movies have odd plots. These movies show what can be done with a small budget and a big imagination. With computer graphics these movies show how far low budget movies have come from the 1950s Science Fiction movies. These movies take the viewers on an interesting ride. "Iron Sky" takes viewers to the dark side of the Moon. "Despiser" takes viewers through Purgatory.


"Despiser" is a 2003 fantasy/horror movie. It went straight to video. Producer Philip J. Cook decided against attempting to get it released in theaters. Philip J. Cook also directed, wrote the screenplay, handled the cinematography, edited, and worked on the set construction. He designed, directed, and produced the visual effects. He performed a couple of un-credited roles in the movie and was the voice of a troll doll and the title character. "Despiser" won Best Picture and Best Director at the Firelight Shocks Films Festival. It also won the Best Special Effects Feature at Shriekfest.

The movie’s premise is an alien spaceship crash caused the 1908 Tunguska explosion.* The space aliens are soulless beings and ended up in what Roman Catholics know as Purgatory. The aliens take over this part of the afterlife. A small band of rebels is their only opposition. On this side of eternity there is Gordon Hauge (Mark Redfield). Gordon is having a bad day. He is facing eviction and loses his job. When he gets home his wife, Maggie (Gage Sheridan), tells him she is going to move in with her mother. She is tired with his inability to hold down a job. That evening he crashes his car and finds himself in an afterlife. Here he meets the 4 rebels. The leader is Carl Nimbus (Doug Brown), a Buffalo Soldier, Fumie Tomasawa (Frank Smith), a kamikaze pilot, Jake Tulley (Michael Weitz) from Wyoming, and Charlie Roadtrap (Tara Bilkins). His friend Norman (Mike Diesel) revives him so Gordon is again among the living. This return to the living world attracts the attention of the aliens who see him as a way out of Purgatory. When they fail to convince him to come back they decide to use his wife. With his wife in a coma Gordon knows he has to go back to Purgatory to save her and the afterlife.

Acting performances vary. The computer graphics do a good job of giving the afterlife the other worldly look one would expect. Calling the afterlife setting Purgatory is just a frame of reference, not a depiction of the Catholic version of Purgatory. Often Peter J. Cook used computer graphics for budget purposes. This has a mixed effect. Sometimes the graphics make a scene look tacky other times it fits the movie’s mood well. The movie has a runtime of 105 minutes.

* On June 30, 1908 a large explosion took place near the Stony Tunguska River in Russia. The explosion vaporized a herd of reindeer and flattened 2,000 square kilometers of forest. It has been categorized as an impact event caused by a meteor or comet.

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A ride through PurgatoryCharlie Roadtrap (Tara Bilkins) opens fire.Driving to the climax.
A ride through Purgatory
A ride through Purgatory | Source
Charlie Roadtrap (Tara Bilkins) opens fire.
Charlie Roadtrap (Tara Bilkins) opens fire. | Source
Driving to the climax.
Driving to the climax. | Source

Iron Sky

"Iron Sky" is a 2012 Science Fiction comedy. It had a limited theater release in the United States. The film was also released in 5 European countries. The film makers used the TUGG web site to book theater showings. The "Iron Sky" web site gave the public opportunities to participate in the movie’s production. This included making up a backstory to explain a presidential election in 2018. Timo Vuorensola directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Kalesniko. The film’s budget was €7,500,000. "Iron Sky" was a Finnish/German/Australian production. It gives an unflattering view of Americans.

The movie’s premise is some NAZIs fled to the dark side of the moon at the end of World War II. There they lived without any contact with the Earth. In 2018 the U.S. sends a space ship to the Moon in a bid to help the president get re-elected. The President (Stephanie Paul) looks at everything through the prism of how it will help her re-election bid. Vivian Wagner (Peta Sergeant) is her campaign manager. She has a foul mouth and a vindictive streak. James Washington (Christopher Kirby) is a male model who was made an astronaut for the lunar mission because a black astronaut on the Moon was viewed as good for the poles. The slogans for the lunar mission were “Black to the Moon” and “Yes She Can”. On the moon Klaus Adler (Götz Otto) has ambitions for being the next Führer. Renate Richter (Julia Dietz) is the school teacher and Earth specialist. She who knows nothing about the Earth and what happened during the reign of the Third Reich. Her father Doktor Richter (Tilo Prückner) is the steriotypical mad scientist. When the lunar module lands the moon NAZIs believe it is an invasion. This sets in motion the events for NAZI flying saucers invading the Earth.

"Iron Sky’s" ridiculous plot line sets the stage for this funny movie. The movie is also a good look at perceptions and misconceptions many foreigners have about the United States. One glaring historical error is the statement, “All presidents who start a war in their first term get reelected.” President George H.W. Bush invaded Panama and defeated Iraq but lost his reelection bid. "Iron Sky’s" President of the United States is an obvious parody of 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The movie has a very good soundtrack. It is a good example of a Diesel Punk comedy.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Robert Sacchi


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