Crash and Burn (1990) poster

Crash and Burn (1990)


USA. 1990.


Director – Charles Band, Screenplay – J.S. Cardone, Producers – David DeCoteau & John Schouweiler, Photography – Mac Ahlberg, Music – Richard Band, Visual Effects – David Allen Productions (Supervisor – David Allen), Special Effects – Players Special Effects (Supervisor – Sandra McCarthy), Makeup Effects – Greg Cannom, Production Design – Kathleen Coates, DV8 Design – Steve Burg. Production Company – Full Moon Entertainment.


Paul Ganus (Tyson Keen), Megan Ward (Arren), Bill Moseley (Quinn), Eva Larue (Parice), Jack McGee (Winston Wicket), Katherine Armstrong (Christie), Elizabeth MacLellan (Sandra), Ralph Waite (Lathan Hooks)


In the year 2030, following the collapse of the stockmarket, the all-powerful Unicom corporation has banned the use of computers and robots. Unicom dispatch rider Tyson Keen delivers a freon shipment to Lathan Hooks who runs a pirate tv station in the desert wasteland. However, while Keen is there, Hooks is killed. Keen then discovers that Hooks was a member of a group of freedom fighters who have been jamming Unicom’s signals and that Unicom has sent a ‘synth’ android to stop him. With a thermal storm closing in, Keen is forced to stay the night along with the others who work at the station – only to realise that the synth is one of their number and is methodically killing off the rest of the group.

Crash and Burn is a direct-to-video film from father and son Albert and Charles Band’s Full Moon Productions. Through Full Moon and their earlier Empire Productions, the Bands were responsible for the likes of the Ghoulies, Trancers and Puppetmaster films, among a host of other low-budget video-releases.

Crash and Burn is an oddity. Sitting down to watch the film without knowing anything about it, it is hard to work out exactly what sort of film it is. If one goes by the video box cover, which features a giant insectoid robot, the film gives the appearance of being another live-action Transformer saga, a la Robot Jox (1990), which the Bands released around the same time as this. (Band regular David Allen provided the Transformer effects in both films). Such however proves to be a case of false advertising as the Transformer robot plays a relatively unimportant part in the film and only has a few minutes screen time near the end. Actually coming to sit down to watch it, Crash and Burn starts out like a standard science-fiction action film with its establishment of a totalitarian mono-corporate future and decayed-civilisation setting (which is depicted with admirable economy and some fine photography).

It takes about half-an-hour of running time before Crash and Burn finally reveals itself as being a killer android story. This quickly falls into the cliches that preoccupy most post-Terminator (1984) direct-to-video releases. Bill Moseley overacts wildly in what has become the standard way for such androids to be played (as opposed to what one would imagine killing machines would be like – cold and emotionless). There is at least one good scene – even if it is stolen directly from The Thing (1982) remake – with the group sitting around a table cutting their thumbs to see who will bleed. Crash and Burn is better made in some places than the average direct-to-video Terminator clone but it is still a routine production nevertheless.

Megan Ward – one of the few promising talents that the Bands managed to discover – gives a perky and intelligent performance as the teen technical whiz kid. Screenwriter J.S. Cardone went on to become a director of some note, most notably with the vampire film The Forsaken (2001).

Charles Band has produced over 200 films. As director, his other genre films include:- Crash (1977), Parasite (1982), The Alchemist (1983), Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983), an episode of The Dungeonmaster/Ragewar: The Challenges of Excalibrate (1984), Trancers/Futurecop (1985), Pulse Pounders (1988), Meridian (1990), Trancers II (1991), Doctor Mordrid (1992), Dollman Vs. the Demonic Toys (1993), Prehysteria! (1993), Head of the Family (1996), The Creeps/Deformed Monsters (1997), Hideous (1997), Mystery Monsters (1997), Blood Dolls (1999), Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003), Dr Moreau’s House of Pain (2004), Decadent Evil (2005), Doll Graveyard (2005), The Gingerdead Man (2005), Evil Bong (2006), Petrified (2006), Dead Man’s Hand (2007), Decadent Evil II (2007), Dangerous Worry Dolls (2008), Evil Bong II: King Bong (2009), Skull Heads (2009), Evil Bong 3D: The Wrath of Bong (2011), Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt (2011), The Dead Want Women (2012), Devildolls (2012), Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012), Ooga Booga (2013), Unlucky Charms (2013), Gingerdead Man vs Evil Bong (2013), Trophy Heads (2014), Evil Bong 420 (2015), King of Cult (2015), Evil Bong: High 5 (2016), Evil Bong 666 (2017), Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017), Evil Bong 777 (2018), Barbie & Kendra Save the Tiger King (2020), Barbie & Kendra Storm Area 51 (2020), Corona Zombies (2020) and Evil Bong 888: Infinity High (2022).

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