Monday, November 23, 2020

The Astrologer (1975)

If your taste in ’70s schlock renders you susceptible to low-budget oddities infused with paranormal nonsense, then two things are true: 1) You share one of my shameful weaknesses, and 2) No amount of discouragement will prevent you from seeking out and devouring James Glickenhaus’ debut feature, The Astrologer. (This film is not to be confused with another picture, directed by Craig Denney, which bears the same name and was released the same year.) However, if you desire cohesion and logic and pace in your cinematic offerings, then The Astrologer is not for you. Either way, you’ve been warned. The Astrologer tracks two storylines, though the connection between them is murky. In the main storyline, Alexei (Bob Byrd) works for a secret organization called Interzod, which tracks the “zodiacal potential” of people born across the globe. Gibberish dialogue sorta-kinda explains the utility of this endeavor. Alexei is married to pretty young blonde Kate (Monica Tidwell), though he refuses to be intimate with her. Why? Well, because Alexei believes Kate is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary, of course! I mean, like, duh. Meanwhile, in the other storyline, Kajerste (Mark Buntzman) has been identified, based upon his “zodiacal potential,” as a figure of considerable menace. True to form, Kajerste—who has a tendency to stand shirtless by open flames while glowering darkly at the camera—occasionally compels people to kill themselves, hence this movie’s alternate title, Suicide Cult. Given all of these colorful elements (plus a moody score by future Terminator composer Brad Fiedel), Glickenhaus’ movie should be a pulpy rush. Alas, the combination of an anemic budget, dull staging, and flat acting makes most of the picture’s 89 minutes progress glacially. Once in a while, Glickenhaus locks into something lively (a weird montage here, a nude scene there), and it’s hard to dislike any movie that features the line, “Could you play me the transmission on the Crab Nebula?” Yet even given my affinity for this particular style of trash, I’m hard-pressed to describe The Astrologer as anything but a dud with a few fleeting moments of interest.

The Astrologer: LAME