More Trivia from Trancers
The 80's was arguably the last decade in which it was possible to regularly see true B-movies at the theaters.
IMHO, the coolest studio for these was Empire Pictures, headed up by Charles Band. They released a cornucopia of low budget, high concept sci-fi/fantasy/horror pictures to drive-in theatres and flea-pit picture houses until their bankruptcy in 1988.
The (arguably) best of these was "Trancers".
"Trancers" had all the ingredients of a classic exploitation picture: Tough guy hero, sexy heroine, diabolical villain and exciting story.
Stand up comedian Tim Thomerson stars as Jack Deth, a noir style cop from the 23rd century who is sent back through time by the ruling council of the future to protect the ancestors of these world leaders.
Landing in 1985, Deth teams up with Leena, played by Helen Hunt, and battles the sinister villain Whistler and his legion of Trancers, zombies influenced by mind control. Armed only with his wits, a trenchcoat, slicked back hair and a nifty watch which gives him the ability to momentarily stop time, Deth protects his quarry whilst facing such foes as cop-trancers, sun bed-trancers, and best of all, a department store Santa Claus!
The film was written by the then 22 year old Danny Bilson And Paul De Meo, who later wrote "The Rocketeer", and it's script paid homage to a number of sources, namely "Dawn of the Dead" and Raymond Chandler's pulp detective novels.
While the basic storyline is arguably similar to "The Terminator", Bilson and DeMeo's screenplay is filled with imaginative twists and turns, and includes all kinds of elements which give the film a unique, dream-like atmosphere, such as the afore-mentioned "Long-Second Watch", and Deth's method of time travel which involves being injected with a serum which regresses his mind into the body of an ancestor.
The film features entertaining performances accross the board, with Hunt being sweet and plucky, Stefani being sinister and creepy, and most of all, Tim Thomerson becoming an iconic figure as soon as he walks onto the screen.
Coming accross as tough, strong and capable whilst also hinting at a well hidden sensitivity underneath, Thomerson plays Jack Deth with a sly twinkle in his eye, never taking himself or the material too seriously. In fact, watching the film it is hard to understand why he never found fame larger than the B-movie audience.
As characters go, Thomerson's performance as Jack Deth is on a par with Bruce Campbell's Ash in the "Evil Dead" movies, or Kurt Russell's Jack Burton from "Big Trouble In Little China".
An entertaining exploitation picture with an imaginative script and a nice visual style, "Trancers", when viewed without high expectations, is an unmitigated treat.
Indeed, the film is even better when it is taken into account that it was shot in seven days on a budget of around $400,000.
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