Star Party… OF DOOM!

By Phil Plait | May 30, 2008 10:24 am

So you know how it is. You and your other gorgeous, tan, and fit 20-something friends go out to a secluded site to have a star party and maybe make out a little.

But then of course — of course — wouldn’t you know it? Little blue shiny balls of weird stuff come down and abduct people and change the very laws of the universe itself!

Man, if I had a nickel for every time that happened at a star party.

But it happens at Star Party, or more accurately, the movie of that title. I watched the trailer online, and well, it doesn’t look that great. It has that whole I’m-a-horror-movie-where-stupid-people-open-doors-they-shouldn’t-and-scream-a-lot-and run-around-and-make-bad-decisions-until-you-want-to-scream-and-get-your-money-back feel to it.

But maybe that’s just me.

This is in fact a real movie (it has an IMDB page). It’s an indy film, though a lot of it looks pretty slick.

Still, I have to laugh whenever movie people try to portray scientists, or science enthusiasts. This picture is not a J Crew ad:

Yes, all us astronomers look like this, why do you ask?

The plot of the movie looks pretty silly, too, but it’s hard to tell from the trailer. I can find no copies of this movie online (including the torrents, not that I would ever use those). It came out in 2005, and obviously didn’t make much of a splash. I’m not even sure the production company, Dark Matter Productions, even exists anymore. The number listed on a website for them comes up with an answering machine that sounded very much like a totally different company.

So it sounds like this is one for the history books. Has anyone seen it?

Tip o’ the dew shield to BABloggee Heather Steingruebl, who grossly overestimates the import of these links.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: DeathfromtheSkies!, Humor, SciFi
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Comments (49)

  1. BlondeReb3

    Wow, not only do all astronomers look like that, but us historians do too! 😉 The two should procreate alright.

    As for the movie, I think I’ll pass…

  2. Don’t forget us software developers slash computer consultants. (Just look at Howard Wolowitz on “The Big Bang Theory“, named after a real computer programmer.)

  3. JackC

    That woman – second from the left! She is wearing a caffe… a kahff… a kaf… one of thems SCARVES! This movie must be BANNED!

    JC

  4. Steven Charles Raine

    No. But thinking of seeing things :

    Is something up with Sargas (Theta Scorpii) tonight??

    I think its brightened by about half a magnitude … & its not listed as a variable star either! See my (even more off-topic – sorry) post on the GLAST thread …

  5. Joker

    # BlondeReb3 on 30 May 2008 at 10:33 am
    Wow, not only do all astronomers look like that, but us historians do too! The two should procreate alright. As for the movie, I think I’ll pass…

    Pass what?! Wind? Water? The parcel … ? 😉

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist making that one.

  6. Granted, I understand that there are science-oriented prodigies who get their doctorates by the time they’re 23 (or some other young age), but I would wager that most scientists get their degrees around the age of 30. Assuming they went straight through school, and allowing 2 years for a master’s and then five years for the doctorate. Am I correct? So why do all these B-grade movies show scientists (doctorates, with presumably at least a couple of years of postdoc research under their belts) that are around 25?

  7. StevoR

    Gah to what Scott?

    Hey is that Willow from ‘Buffy’ there … ? 8)

  8. Nicole

    Ah, Munchkin. “I’ll trade you for the Cogpiece… OF DOOM!”

    Did you just say that dark matter doesn’t exist? 😉

  9. Kevin

    Look at the guy/girl ratio. Now, I’m not being sexist or anything, but I’ve never been to a star party with that kind of ratio. Usually it’s skewed to more guys.

    And yeah, they are too well-dressed to go to a star party.

    It’s funny you mention it’s a horror movie Phil. Years ago a bunch of our astronomy club members made a movie called “Murder at the Observatory,” which was followed by the not-as-good “Aliens at the Observatory.” I wasn’t involved in the second one (creative differences with the director/writer) but I can tell you that in the first movie, everyone died via some astronomy-themed situation.

    Sometimes a bad movie is so bad it’s funny, and worth watching.

  10. Cameron

    I like how they apparently went to the top of a mountain for their star party, presumably a remote location, and yet they are still in blindingly bright light.

  11. I’m waiting for The Stars are Right Party movie to come out…

    Also, a Squidzilla film.

    I’m glad I’m patient. 😛

  12. KaiYves

    I’d like to see “Murder at the Observatory”, Kevin.

  13. brian j. parker

    Token nerdy guy with the big nose?… doomed. It’s too bad horror movies have become predictable enough that you can guess who will die from a single promo shot.

  14. Utakata

    Yeah…it looks like it has all the trappings of a porn flick.

  15. Doc

    It can’t be as good as “Night of the Comet”.

  16. Kimpatsu

    Not to worry, Phil.
    You can always become the Doctor.
    Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_qfKtbjF_g

  17. Marsha Allen

    Don’t worry, it’ll be on the SCI-FI Channel any day now.

  18. Nat

    Their head writer and director is a visual effects guy with (apparently) no actual writing or directing experience.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0192762/

    I smell bad things for this movie.

  19. starman91

    I don’t know, that guy second from left in the blue shirt, does look like he could be one of us. Maybe he is the head of the department.

    The rest must be the undergrads taking astronomy for their science requirements, because they heard it “was easy”.

  20. Sir Eccles

    Seamyst, looking at a general time line in the UK would give approximate ages as follows:

    Finish highschool – 18
    Finish undergrad (3 year course) – 21
    Maybe do a one year Masters degree – 22
    Spend three years on a phd – 25

    The fact that I never actually handed in a thesis at the end of the three years is the only reason I’m a Sir rather than a Dr!

  21. Brian Hart

    Phil, Phil, Phil:

    Don’t you know that The Doctor destroyed all evidence of The Toclafane’s invasion when he shut down the Paradox Generator? Only those of us who remained on The Valiant can even remember them!

  22. Michelle

    looks like yet another movie that went to the dark oblivion of movies to forget.

  23. ARP1234

    In reality that ugly guy with the schnoz wouldn’t be within 500 feet
    of these Arayan wet dream contestants. But he would fit in perfectly
    with any astronomy or chess or AV club.

    I bet he’s related to Screech from Saved by the Bell – not that I ever
    watched that show, I swear!

    Sadly, Phil, you have given this piece of dreck much more publicity
    than it should ever have deserved. I would love to think it might
    inspire a few people to look up, but who am I kidding?

    And I have been to enough star parties and observatory open houses
    to tell you that the only time a female that hot shows up is if she is
    either lost or with a boyfriend who is pretending to seem intelligent
    and cultured now that they are in the next phase of the relationship,
    i.e., more than just constant hot sex.

    And let me tell you about the time one of these bimbos showed
    up and didn’t know where to look through the telescope….

    I thought Darwin said only the fittest are supposed to survive and breed?

  24. andy

    It has that whole I’m-a-horror-movie-where-stupid-people-open-doors-they-shouldn’t-and-scream-a-lot-and run-around-and-make-bad-decisions-until-you-want-to-scream-and-get-your-money-back feel to it.

    That description reminds me of this awesome fake trailer from Grindhouse

  25. Nicole

    “And I have been to enough star parties and observatory open houses
    to tell you that the only time a female that hot shows up is if she is
    either lost or with a boyfriend who is pretending to seem intelligent
    and cultured now that they are in the next phase of the relationship,
    i.e., more than just constant hot sex.”

    Oy! I pretend to take offense to that! You just haven’t been to the right astronomy departments if you haven’t seen any hot chicks.

  26. Christopher Ferro

    Why are we assuming that because there are astronomers or star party attendees that they are Ph.Ds? Does the IMDB page state this (I am loathe to waste my time reading it)? If it’s as formulaic or bad as it appears to be, its more likely the “schnozz” guy is the astronomy geek and he someone convinced the others to come to “his” star party. Probably based in part on some crush he has on one of the women.

    CJSF

  27. Bwahaha. I didn’t expect it to be, but it’s available from Netflix! Rent it today, Phil!

    Movies like this make me wish MST3K was still on the air.

  28. aiabx

    Usually by the third night of a really good star party I’m hallucinating from booze and lack of sleep and find myself surrounded by beautiful women and strange lights from space.

    So, yeah, it looks pretty accurate to me.

  29. Mark Martin

    KaiYves said:

    “Iâ??d like to see â??Murder at the Observatoryâ??”

    Will you settle for Death From A Distance?: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027504/

  30. ARP1234

    Nicole, this may be sadly true….

    As for another poster saying this film looks like the setup for
    a porn flick, there was indeed such a film (I heard about it in
    my Film and Society class at Columbia – yeah, that’s it!) that
    involved a very attractive co-ed who went to visit her astronomy
    professor (we knew he was an astro prof because his office had
    books and a telescope and some big photos of nebulae and
    Saturn on his walls) because she wasn’t doing very well in his
    class and wondered if there was anything she could do to
    improve her grade.

    Judging by the response, she either got a really good grade
    or neither of them cared. And I tell ya, that “professor” didn’t
    look anything like Schnozz Guy from the main flick of this thread.

    So see, there have been some excellent portrayls of astronomers
    in film. This one got the babe and everything!

    I think he might have even looked through a telescope or
    did some research or something, but I don’t remember really….

  31. Erica
    Bwahaha. I didn’t expect it to be, but it’s available from Netflix! Rent it today, Phil!
    Movies like this make me wish MST3K was still on the air.

    Actually, it hasn’t been released, and no date is given on NF.

    Also, check out RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic… former MSTies, with Mike on RiffTrax, Joel on CT…

    J/P=?

  32. BMcP

    Well of course all the actors are young, twenty-something tanned hunks and babes, people don’t pay $10 at the theater to look at fat, dumpy people unless they are villains or meant to feel pity for as part of the story.

    Sad but true.

  33. beagledad

    Of course astronomers look like that! Don’t you remember Daryl Hannah in Roxanne? She was– oh, wait. Yeah, I see what you mean.

  34. Quiet Desperation

    It can’t be as good as “Night of the Comet”.

    I’m *still* hunting down and, um, retiring the people involved in that film. The ones who raped League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen are next.

    I’ve said too much. This post did not happen.

  35. Mark Martin

    ARP1234,

    Go to YouTube and look up “Young Stephen Hawking”. You won’t be disappointed.

  36. Didn’t anybody look at the site? They’re *amateur astronomers* and a park ranger.

  37. Steve P.

    Definitely softcore.

  38. If all astronomers looked like that, there would be a lot more astronomers.

  39. Jim666

    Wasn’t Tom Cruise in Star Party? There are no ratings on IMDB. Maybe the act of viewing Star Party is lethal (like watching any flick with Tom Cruise).

  40. Not a ONE of those flashlights had a red filter on them.

    Which is odd considering it would be just right for a Horror movie.

  41. themadlolscientist

    Never mind the trailer. I’ll take the yellow car.

  42. Ronn Blankenship

    starman91 said:

    “The rest must be the undergrads taking astronomy for their science requirements, because they heard it “was easy”.”

    I’m not sure what they had heard, but pretty much every semester on the first night of class when I got there I would find a number of students waiting for me to sign add cards so they could get into the class because it had filled up usually on the first day of pre-registration . . .

  43. jess tauber

    Have any of you seen the classic film ‘The Heavenly Body’? (see http://www.classicfilmguide.com/index.php?s=pageA&item=169).

    No horror, just mild comedy. The only part where I smirked was when the comet hits the moon, and the tail is facing away from the impact direction, yet is still attached to the nucleus- wouldn’t having the moon in between the comet and the sun cause emissions to radically decrease in the moments before impact, detaching the visual tail? I don’t remember whether the dark side from the sun was hit- would be weird though if they got that wrong too.

    If Hedy Lamarr can be in love with an astronomer, then anything is possible- she was one smart lady, helped come up with a concept for spreading signals over many frequencies just in time for WWII, for which she got recognition only many decades later.

  44. jess tauber

    And for the Harvey Korman tie-in, it was HEDY, NOT HEDLEY!

  45. DenverAstro

    Well, I can say one thing. In that first photo, the girl is using a Meade ETX 125. It’s a piece of junk telescope and Ive never seen one of those used at a star party. At least not for serious observing or astrophotography. I doubt you would see a PHD in astrophysics using one of those in the field.
    The reason I can say that scope is junk is because I had one. I had a shyster sales guy talk me into buying one of those as my first telescope. I have learned much since then. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that you get what you pay for. I now use a 10″ Dob for visual stuff and a Televue NP127 on a Losmandy mount for photography. Now Im a happy camper :o)

  46. Ade

    I’ve gotta agree with Doc. Night of the Comet rocks, bad astronomy or not. It’s worth a watch for the ‘scary noises’ game, oh, and some serious cheerleader uzi action. Meh, easily pleased me.

  47. Mechanic

    I guess it would be a ‘real’ sci fi movie if the ‘schnozz’ got the girl in the pink shirt. We can only hope.

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