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The year is 3031 and the reptilian alien Red Eye (Andrew Divoff) has come to the Earth town on Oblivion to set up shop. When Red Eye kills the sheriff, the sheriff’s estranged son Zach (Richard Joseph Paul) and his buddy Buteo (Jimmie F. Skaggs) reluctantly return to Oblivion to face Red Eye. Can an empathic green horn and a grieving family man save the day or will evil triumph?

Charles Band’s production Oblivion (1994), is a science-fiction and western pastiche directed by Sam Irvin. Oblivion achieved instant cult status when it was released straight to home video supported by an ad campaign that anyone who went to a video store in the nineties remembers. Band sold the film on the strength of the ensemble cast, the make-up and creature effects (there are giant scorpions), and the popular sex appeal of Musetta Vander (who steals every scene she’s in as Red Eye’s accomplice Lash).

Peter David’s writing on Oblivion draws primarily on mid-twentieth century popular culture for its highly referential sense of humor, much in the same vein as W.D. Richter’s work. The supporting cast is a veritable “who’s who” of classic television and David’s script has these stars, George Takei and Julie Newmar, parodying their work on Star Trek and Batman. David even throws in a comedic reference to an old anti-communist slogan.

Cult film enthusiasts will find more to fawn over in Oblivion than just the Star Trek and Batman jokes. David Lynch fans will be happy to see Carel Struycken (the giant from Twin Peaks) as Mr. Gaunt and Irwin Keyes (from Lynch’s On The Air) as Bork. Cult movie legends Isaac Hayes and Meg Foster also appear with Foster getting some of the best stupid puns to ever appear on screen.

Putting all of the fandom aside for a second; Oblivion is, at its core, an homage to the westerns of the fifties and sixties. David’s script hits all of the beats perfectly and Irvin’s direction plays those beats flawlessly. Even a moment as ludicrous as the bingo/funeral scene feels as though it is in keeping with that aesthetic as it employs the kind of dry circumstantial humor one sees in John Ford’s later westerns like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).

As far as direct to video pictures go you can’t do much better than Oblivion. For a low budget movie the effects aren’t even that bad, particularly compared to Laserblast (1978). Oblivion was a video store staple that deserves rediscovery if for no other reason than it is just so much fun. It belongs with titles like Tammy & The T-Rex (1994) and Mankillers (1987) on lists of must see or must own video store classics. Oblivion is a masterpiece.