Hey everyone, Aaron here to bring you the report from the 26th Annual 24-Hour Ohio Science Fiction Movie Marathon. I've been attending this event for getting close to twenty years, and the other folks here at MovieWeb suggested I should cover the event here, especially since we had a gaggle of films that have yet to receive a wide-release.

We had a pretty awesome line-up of films, including some classics that had long been requested at the marathons. The line-up consisted of:

Logan's Run

Timecrimes

Famous Monster: Forest J. Ackerman

The Time Travelers

Alien Trespass

Cat-Women of the Moon

Mutant Chronicles

Robocop

Tokyo Gore Police

Rollerball

The Thing From Another World

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The Marathon began at noon EST on Saturday, March 28, 2009 and ran until noon(ish) on Sunday, March 29. So, without further ado, here's my recap of the event.

Before our host, the ever gracious Bruce Bartoo, welcomed us to the event, there were a series of trailers and shorts that aired. These included: Logan's Run, Handmaid's Tale (in tribute to the recent passing of Natasha Richardson), Earth, Voyage of the Rock Aliens, The Invasion, Yog, Monstrosity: The Atomic Brain, Cloverfield, Toxic Avenger, Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie [Director's Cut], Teenage Monster, Teenage Caveman, Trekkies, Green Slime, Horror of Party Beach/Curse of the Living Corpse, Logan's Run (again), Timecrimes, The Time Travelers, a post-apocalyptic Dr. Pepper commercial, Robocop, Rollerball, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the classic Warner Brothers cartoon Duck Dodgers in the 24th and ½ Century!

Logan's Run

This film is always a classic, and I don't believe I've ever seen it on the big screen, so that was a plus. The print was nice quality, and I was astonished how many people in the crowd hadn't ever before seen the classic story of a utopia where life ends at age thirty, with Sandmen around to ensure that no one runs when their time is up. One thing that amused me greatly was to realize that this film was rated PG during it's release in 1976 - despite having more nudity in it than many modern-day R-rated films. If you've never before seen Logan's Run, you owe it to yourself to track it down on video and see it - especially before Bryan Singer does his remake of Logan's Run in 2010.

To find out more about this classic, CLICK HERE

Trailers and shorts that aired before the film:Terminator Salvation, The Matrix, THX 1138, City of Ember, Gattaca, and a classic movie introduction featuring the Muppets made for Sony Theatres.

Timecrimes

We had the Midwest premiere of this film, and while it involved very little in the way of special effects, this was an entertaining and engaging time-travel flick. Hector sees a woman getting undressed in the woods while sightseeing with his binoculars, and when he goes to investigate her, he is attacked by a man with a bandage around his head. In his attempts to escape the man, he ends up hiding in a time-machine, and going 6 hours or so in to the past. He then realizes that he is the man in the bandage, and Hector finds himself caught in not two but three different time loops. Hector is forced to make time follow the events that he has already experienced, and several people's lives are forever altered as a result.

It's interesting and engaging, although the premise has been done before in multiple episodes of Star Trek. I'd say this one is worth watching, but I'm not sure if it's worth going out of your way for.

Trailers and shorts that aired before the film:H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, Back to The Future, The Time Machine, Time Walker, Time Rider, Timecop, Robocop 2, Dimension 5, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and Primer.

Famous Monster: Forrest J. Ackerman

This documentary about the father of science-fiction fandom is an odd little film. If you don't know who Forrest J Ackerman (no period behind the J) is, know that this is the man who created the term "Sci-Fi", was the first collector of science fiction and horror film memorabilia, and was the first person to ever attend a science fiction convention in costume. Without "Uncle Forry", then science fiction film festivals like the event I just attended, and conventions like the San Diego Comic-Con would probably not exist in the form we know them today.

Forrest Ackerman was also the creator of Famous Monsters magazine, and used to conduct tours of his home which was covered in film memorabilia.

Forrest Ackerman passed away in December of 2008, and so the timing of this documentary couldn't be better. If you know who he was, then you need to see this film to remember him. If you don't know Forrest Ackerman, but consider yourself a fan of science fiction, fantasy or horror, then you need to see this film to understand who he was.

To find out more about this incredible documentary about one of the greatest science-fiction fans of all time CLICK HERE

Since we saw this movie as a digital projection from a DVD, there were no trailers or shorts before the documentary.

The Time Travelers

This film about a group of people who develop a time-traveling window is one of many forgettable science fiction films. It is most notable for it's odd octopus-faced robots, the use of the Lumigraph as a "love machine" (not unlike the one featured in Barbarella), and a cameo appearance by Forrest J Ackerman. The film, as is the case with so many time travel films, features a time loop, which is nice in that we get an entire recap of the film at the films conclusion, as the heroes are forced to repeat the cycle that brings them to where they currently are in the timestream.

To learn more about this classic science-fiction piece CLICK HERE

Trailers and shorts that aired before the film:Journey to the Beginning of Time, Panic in Year Zero, Zardoz, a futuristic Pepsi commercial, Yor, Eegah and Escape from the Planet of the Apes.

Alien Trespass

If you like alien invasion films of the 1950s, then you'll enjoy this loving send-up of the genre. We had the Midwest Premiere of this film too, and I'm very grateful I got to see the film in a theatre instead of on a DVD. Eric McCormack stars as the dim-witted scientist and the alien marshal who takes over his body. The marshal crash landed on Earth while transporting a Ghota - a one eyed, tentacled creature very reminiscent of the monster from It! The Terror from Beyond Space. The film is a comedic parody without resorting to the kind of obvious jokes that are used in the Scary Movie family of films, and is clearly done as a tribute and an homage to the films of the 1950s. I really enjoyed this one, and would love it if the film got a wider theatrical release.

Trailers and shorts that aired before the film: The classic animated short The Chubbchubbs, The Blob, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Destroy All Monsters!, Strange Invaders, They Came from Beyond Space, It Came Without Warning, Day It Came to Earth, The Day the Earth Stood Still - backwards and upside down, in what has become a marathon tradition, Matinee, Earth Girls Are Easy and The Giant Gila Monster.

Cat-Women of the Moon

There is little good that can be said about this film, and seeing it in 3D only made it mildly more exciting. Fortunately, the print that we were using was... less than complete. And as a result, our host added some surprises into the film, including a classic Three Stooges in space bit.

It wasn't enough to keep me from deciding that this was the film for me to leave the theatre and go get dinner during.

Trailers and shorts that aired before the film:It Came From Outer Space, a commercial for an episode of Jonny Quest, a commercial for Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor and then a full episode of Mightor, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, Moon Zero Two, Abbott and Costello on Venus and Radar Men From the Moon.

Mutant Chronicles

A strange, post-apocalyptic fantasy story in which a world at war is forced to put their global war on hold when an ancient evil awakens and starts transforming dead soldiers into mutants whose only goal is to destroy all of humanity. And the only way to deal with this evil is for a small team, composed of soldiers of every nation, and led by priest Ron Perlman and a dual-sword wielding nun. Guided by an ancient book, they will destroy the machine which creates the mutants.

Or so goes the theory. In practice, everyone dies, and the machine isn't quite destroyed at the end of the film. In theory, this is based on a tabletop game of the same name, but the truth is that this is just another decent, but fairly bland post-apocalyptic adventure, only slightly brightened by performances from Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman and John Malkovich. If I were channel surfing and saw this on the Sci-Fi Channel (or SyFy, if you prefer), I might stop and watch it, but I doubt I'd hunt it down.

Trailers and shorts that aired before the film:Mutant, Bionicle: Mask Of Light, The Mutations and Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell. Additionally, there were a TON of commercials for various video games.

Tokyo Gore Police

Jason Buchanan, of the All Movie Guide provides the synopsis of this film as follows:

A mad scientist known as Key Man has created a rampaging virus that mutates unsuspecting humans into nightmarish abominations of nature, and in order to dispose of these repulsive monstrosities, the Tokyo police have created a special squad of fearless freak fighters. Chief among these brave officers is Ruka, a sword-swinging dealer of death who has a special knack for dispatching with Key Man's hideous creations. Despite the fact that they operate on opposite sides of the law, Key Man and Ruka have both dedicated their lives to one common goal: seeking vengeance against the crooked cops who killed both of their fathers many years ago.

I couldn't possibly describe it better, so I won't try.

As for the film as a piece of cinema - the best way to describe it is to say "imagine a gory, explicit Japanese anime show, then transform it into live-action." And that's pretty much what you get.

This film wasn't for me, but it was a big hit with many of the folks in the crowd, so I'm going to say "It's a well-done film of a style that I totally don't care for." Just as I'm able to listen to a good piece of country music and say "It's not my thing, but it's done well," that's how I feel about Tokyo Gore Police. So, if the synopsis sounds fun to you, then go for it with this one. But if it doesn't, don't let someone persuade you that you'll like it. If you aren't into it from the start, you won't be swayed by the movie itself.

If this sounds interesting to you, and you want to learn more CLICK HERE

Since we saw this movie as a digital projection from a DVD, there were no trailers or shorts before the movie.

Robocop

The future Detroit of this film is populated by nasty, brutish criminals like Clarence Bodecker (played with aplomb by Kurtwood Smith). And good cops like Murphy (Peter Weller) have no chance in this world. Their corporate bosses at OCP are trying to create the ultimate police officer, but the ED-209 is a hard to control unwieldy robot that killed off an executive in it's first test.

Fortunately, when Murphy is killed by Bodecker, he is transformed into Robocop. And once he becomes the epitome of the crime-fighting cyborg, the bad guys begin to fall.

Ok, the special effects in this film are dated. And the "near future" of the film is already shown to be both brighter and darker than our own present. But this one is just good fun. From the effects, to the acting, to the political messages of the film, it's all remains greatly watchable to this day. There are plans for a RoboCop remake, and I suppose it might be fun to watch and see. But I don't see any reason that this film needs a remake - not really.

Since we were way behind on the time schedule there were no trailers or shorts before the film.

Rollerball

See, there's this guy, and he's a great sports star. And in a world run by the corporations, he is their biggest success. Now, they want him to retire, but see, he doesn't want to retire. And he wants to know who makes corporate decisions. But no one will tell him. So he won't retire from playing his sport, even though the goal of the sport was to downplay individual achievement, which he has managed to undermine by being so good.

Does this sound exciting? If so, I am sorry, because it isn't. Halfway through the film my brother turned to me and said "I know why these people are so excited about Rollerball - it's because the rest of their world is so boring!"

The one thing I like about this film is that you can watch the games and actually follow the flow of the game well - an oddity when compared to modern films which make use of so many jump cuts it can often be impossible to follow the narrative of action sequences. But really, this film is just dull, dull, dull.

If you are only familiar with the recent remake of Rollerball, and want to learn more about the classic version of the film CLICK HERE

Trailers and shorts that aired before the film:Speed Racer, Death Race, Death Race 2000, Rollerball and The Running Man

The Thing From Another World

There are some science fiction classics that are just that - classics. They don't need to be changed or updated or altered, and while the effects may become dated, and social mores may have changed, the films are timeless. The Thing From Another World is one of those films. Don't get me wrong, I quite like John Carpenter's The Thing - and in many ways Carpenter's version of the film follows the original short story much more closely. But this film remains a classic.

You can make fun of the gender roles. You can point out that the creature looks like a vegetable version of Frankenstien's monster (as my wife did). But it's a good movie, and it is fun. It was also fairly short, which was a blessing at this point in the marathon.

If you've never seen this version of the movie, then go see it. Don't compare it to Carpenter's movie - they're really not all that related to one another. But get this one seen sooner rather than later.

If you're not already aware of this classic, and want to learn more about it, CLICK HERE And keep watching the skies.

Since we saw this movie as a digital projection from a DVD, there were no trailers or shorts before the movie.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

If you are not a fan of Star Trek, then this film won't change things for you. But if you are a fan, then it's hard to argue that any of the other films did it better than this one. Everyone, from William Shatner to Leonard Nimoy to Ricardo Montalban to Kristie Allie, gives a great performance in this film. The storyline is significantly more complex than most of the Star Trek films, and it cements James Tiberius Kirk's place in the halls of Starfleet History - and in many ways it showcases how difficult a task Chrisopher Pine has ahead of him in JJ Abram's Star Trek. Kirk's refusal to accept the no-win scenario is inspiring, as is Spock's sacrifice.

It really is probably the best of the films that have spawned from Roddenberry's creation, and it doesn't hurt that we had a gorgeous print of the film. All the more appropriate because of the recent death of Montalban, this was the perfect way for us to end this marathon.

Trailers and shorts that aired before the film:Lost In Space, Buck Rogers, Men In Black, Starship Troopers, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Star Trek.

To anyone who finds themselves in Ohio in the spring, I highly encourage them to attend this event. The people who put it on also organize a horror movie marathon each October, which is just as good of a time. To find out more about the event visit the official 24-Hour Ohio Science Fiction Movie Marathon website.

Cinemark Movie Club