Hollywood has plumbed the now-dry well of the asteroid disaster film. Films like When Worlds Collide, Armageddon and Deep Impact have trained us all to know what to expect when a giant asteroid comes hurtling to the Earth. If NASA can’t line up an experienced group of deep sea drillers to blow it up when it’s in outer space, a select few will be loaded into a giant rocket ship and blasted into space while the dross of humanity, like Elijah Wood, are forced to stay on Earth and try to eke out a horrific existence in the post-asteroid apocalypse.
Still, one asteroid disaster movie is rarely mentioned: the public-domain Samuel Z. Arkoff production The Day The Sky Exploded, which has the honor of being the first (and, realistically, worst) of the asteroid disaster genre.
The plot is wildly implausible right from the start: an atomic rocket goes crashing into the sun by accident, which causes a massive explosion that sends solar meteors hurtling to earth. If they strike, the planet will be reduced to smithereens. The only solution? The United States and the USSR must start blindly flinging nuclear missiles into space to destroy the meteors before they crash down in Washington and the Kremlin.
Like all of the entries in SciFi Scanner’s Public Domain SciFi Theater, you should be warned: good films rarely go public domain. You need to appreciate this for cheese-factor alone. But if you’ve got a dash of Mystery Science Theater in your soul, The Day The Sky Exploded is a good way to spend 82 minutes over a few beers this evening.
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