Archive for the 'Kid Films' Category

Super 8: Mikey Walters’ Target: Earth (1979)

As if there weren’t enough evidence* that Mikey did more before he turned 13 than I’ve done ever, here’s a movie he shot during the summer after 6th grade. He gave me some production notes to go with it.

  • My dad shot the scenes that I was “acting” in. Shot in order, no editing.
  • Original film had no sound, but I made a cassette tape using the Star Wars soundtrack and various sound effects. The tape is long lost, but I “recreated” the sounds for YouTube.
  • Stop-motion titles and credits.
  • Nerf ball planet, Earth image cut out of National Geographic.
  • My idea of kitbashing was gluing two battleships together (standard plastic model kits) and painting them white.
  • The famous black helmet that we both had is featured!
  • The control panel includes a Merlin.
  • Please ignore the hanging potted plant when the ship takes off.
  • Lasers were scratched directly onto the film.
  • The doomed city is an HO-scale train set and a bridge building set that I loved to play with.

We think the top button on the control panel says ‘power’. The other two say `take off’ and `fire’. The dials and graphics on the control panel were cut out of Mikey’s dad’s old Air Force training manuals, and the buttons were capsules from vending machines.

As for the movie itself, the violence the director perpetrates on our poor planet is shocking! The slow head turn of the caped figure (who in no way resembles Darth Vader) is unnervingly menacing. And what about that innocent kid, sadistically vaporized right out of his clothes? Is there no mercy? No. Only death and destruction, and the realization that all men are mortal, that everything we build will eventually crumble.

By the way, Mikey hadn’t seen 1954’s Target Earth, a classic robot invasion movie starring Richard Denning, before he made his existential sci-fi flick, although he says he might have come across the title in Starlog.

*Mikey’s homemade D&D modules are here. His published (and now playable!) Atari BASIC video game is here. My interview with him is here.

***

If you made a movie as a kid, I’d love to feature it. Contact me at 2warpstoneptune@gmail.com.


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