Film (1980; vt Earth's Final Fury; vt Time Warp; vt Vortex). Charles Band Productions/Manson International Pictures. Produced by Wayne Schmidt and Steve Neill. Directed by John "Bud" Cardos. Written by Schmidt, J Larry Carroll and Davis Schmoeller from an original story by Steve Neill. Animation by Dave Allen. Special effects photography by Allen and Paul W Gentry. City of Light created by Jim Danforth. Cast includes Jim Davis, Scott C Kolden (credited as Scott Kolden), Marcy Lafferty, Dorothy Malone, Christopher Mitchum and Natasha Ryan. 79 minutes. Colour.
After a brief prologue about how past, present, and the future actually coexist at the same time, we witness the simultaneous detonation of three supernovae roughly 200 light years from the solar system, and the first effects on Earth. These include increasing electromagnetic interference and a modest rise in radiation reaching Earth. Wealthy rancher Grant Williams (Davis) takes his extended family to his (then) futuristic home in the desert of southern California, a residence powered entirely by solar energy. With him are wife Ana (Malone), daughter in-law Marcy (Lafferty), six-year-old granddaughter Jenny (Ryan), and younger son Steve (Kolden). Oldest son Richard (Mitchum) is still at his job in Los Angeles. Grant has a pony as a present for Jenny, who is the first to notice a three-sided pyramid that appears near the stables and briefly draws the horse into itself, but releases the animal when she begs it to do so. Soon, UFOs are seen along with various strange lights as well as the brilliant supernovae. That night, small child-sized UFOs invade the house, and are briefly threatening; an apparent alien six to eight inches tall appears to Jenny. Increasingly strange events follow, including two Dinosaur-like Monsters battling outside until one is killed; the survivor attacks Grant and Steve in the stables while they seek horses to escape (the station wagon is behaving too strangely to be considered safe). Grant wounds the creature with a pitchfork and it vanishes in an energy vortex. Richard has given up trying to phone and starts driving to the residence, only to be forced off the road by two more UFOs which swoop over his car. Uninjured, he continues on foot, locating a horse around morning. Beth and Jenny, meanwhile, have also been swallowed by the energy vortex. A group of assorted vehicles appears in the yard: unoccupied aircraft and surface vehicles from different time periods, which soon vanish again. Mounting horses, Grant, Anya, and Steve ride away, noting a huge new Moon in the sky. They realize they have passed through a Timeslip or space warp: twin Suns appear in the sky, after which Beth reappears, and tells them all will be well. The beings she has met are friendly, millions of years more advanced than humanity. They meet Richard and Jenny, and continue travelling until they sight a City of varicoloured spires and domes shimmering with light; at least two additional moons are visible in the sky. The group makes for the city, concluding the film on a hopeful note.
The Day Time Ends was made in 1979 and released in 1980. Obviously its plot is muddled at best; apparently the supernovae created a temporary rift in the space-time fabric of the universe, although why it affected only a small portion of California is not explained. Director Cardos has developed a minor cult following despite his reputation for making films which are generally bad. This is no real exception, although the wild profusion of sf ideas throughout shows more ambition than most such films. One trivia point is the name of the Jim Davis character, Grant Williams – the actor who starred in The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). [GSt]
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