Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)

Three women make an emergency landing on a planet plagued with a fatal disease, but are captured by dictator Overdog. Adventurer Wolff goes there to rescue them and meets Niki, the only Earthling left from a medical expedition. Combining their talents, they try to rescue the women.

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone is a 1983 American science fiction-adventure film. The film stars Peter Strauss, Molly Ringwald, Ernie Hudson, Andrea Marcovicci, and Michael Ironside. The film’s executive producer was Ivan Reitman, and it was directed by Lamont Johnson. The film had an adventurous music score composed by Elmer Bernstein.

When the film came out in theaters, parts of it were shown in 3-D and the film became part of the 3-D film revival craze of the early 1980s. The film is about a bounty hunter who goes on a mission to rescue three women stranded on a brutal planet and meets a vagrant teenage girl along the way.

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)

About the Story

Set in the early 22nd century, the film opens with the destruction of a space cruise liner that collides with a meteor. The only apparent survivors are three beautiful women – Nova (Cali Timmins), Reena (Aleisa Shirley), and Meagan (Deborah Pratt) – who get away in an escape pod and land on the nearest habitable planet. There, they are quickly accosted by the hostile natives and taken aboard a sail-driven vehicle resembling a pirate ship on rails.

In space, an alert goes out for the safe return of the women with a reward of 3,000 “mega-credits”. A small-time salvage operator named Wolff (Peter Strauss) intercepts the message and heads to the planet. Joining him is his female engineer Chalmers (Andrea Marcovicci), who learns the planet – called Terra XI – is a failed colony that fell victim to a deadly plague and civil warfare. Wolff risks the dangers believing the reward will solve his debt problems.

After landing on the barren world, Wolff and Chalmers set out in a 4-wheel drive vehicle called the “Scrambler”. Soon, they join a battle in progress between a group of marauders (called the “Zoners”) and a band of nomads (the “Scavs”). The Zoners take the women before Wolff can stop them and fly away on jet-powered hang-gliders. Wolff learns from the Scavs that the women were taken into “The Zone” which is ruled by “Overdog” – their sworn enemy.

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)

Returning to the Scrambler, Wolff finds Chalmers – who is really an android – has been “killed”. Wolff continues on alone, but soon catches a teenage Scav named Niki (Molly Ringwald) trying to steal his Scrambler. She convinces Wolff that he needs a tracker if he is to survive The Zone and Wolff reluctantly takes her lead.

In the meantime, the three women are taken before “The Chemist” (Hrant Alianak), the chief henchman of Overdog who administers pacifying drugs to the girls and prepares them for Overdog’s pleasure. Elsewhere, Wolff and Niki make camp, but soon come under attack by a strange plow-like vehicle. Wolff manages to disable the machine and learns the driver is a former military acquaintance of his – a soldier named Washington (Ernie Hudson), who reveals he too has come to rescue the women. His only problem is that he crashed his ship and has no way off world. Wolff refuses to help his rival and leaves him to fend for himself.

Back in The Zone, the women are taken to see the Overdog (Michael Ironside), who is revealed to be a hideous cyborg, almost entirely machine, with two metal claws for hands. Still led by Niki, Wolff gets into more predicaments – from being attacked by mutated blob-like beings, to strange mermaid-like women and their giant water dragon. He even loses his trusty Scrambler and is forced to continue on foot. Eventually, they are found by Washington and Wolff finds the situation reversed as he now begs his rival for help. Washington assists, but only if Wolff cuts him in 50/50 on the reward.

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone Movie Poster (1983)

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)

Directed by: Lamont Johnson
Starring: Peter Strauss, Molly Ringwald, Ernie Hudson, Andrea Marcovicci, Michael Ironside, Deborah Pratt, Aleisa Shirley
Screenplay by: Stewart Harding, Jean LaFleur
Production Design by: Jackson De Govia
Cinematography by: Frank Tidy
Film Editing by: Scott Conrad
Costume Design by: Julie Weiss
Set Decoration by: Linda DeScenna, Carol Lavoie
Art Direction by: John R. Jensen, Michael Nemirsky, Brenton Swift
Music by: Elmer Bernstein
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: May 20, 1983