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-BACKGROUND-

"This is a science-fiction flick on the same budget as
Rodriguez’s EL MARIACHI and it has a good deal of
charm to it, and some surprising aspects that you just
wouldn’t expect."
- Harry Knowles, Ain't It Cool News

 

On this site, you can watch numerous scenes from the latest
Mike Conway movies. For TERRARIUM scenes, scroll down, just a bit.

THE AWAKENING scenes are on the Message Board page.
scroll down to "Benson Shoots."

Newly added are the best scenes from THE BLACK
CRYSTAL!
You can see these on the Downloads page.

 

 

Someone finally did it!! Yes, some rascals actually put
together a feature length MST3K parody of TERRARIUM.
Unfortunately, it's not for sale to the public..., yet. You can view
a scene, right here.

TERRARIUM MST3K RIPOFF

 

Surely that Tom Cruise movie was a coincidence! We're quite
honored to have the same voiceover guy that the Spielberg
trailers get...

Trailer #1 (WAR OF THE WORLDS)

Trailer #2 (WAR OF THE PLANETS)

 

 

TERRARIUM, aka WAR OF THE PLANETS - Should
you see it? Depends on what you like. Scroll down and you
can watch several scenes.

Mixed reactions. Some people really like WAR OF THE
PLANETS, while others can't stand this low budget opus.
One thing is for sure, everyone likes the Special Features'
DVD, which includes the fabulously violent ROADKILL.
It's like a Roadrunner cartoon, except with real people!


PRISONER 810 and KILLER'S LAIR are the other two
shorts. Best of all, the cool indie doc, A SPACESHIP IN
THE BACKYARD, is one of the best "making ofs" that
you'll ever see. Lionsgate couldn't include the Special
Features, but you can get it on this site, for just $5, plus
shipping! Order Page.

 

WAR OF THE PLANETS is available at Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Best Buy and many other stores. If
you like these scenes, then give it a whirl.

There is some violence in some of these clips, so be warned.


(SPOILER ALERT!!!!) SCENES FROM THE MOVIE,
with director notes:


CRASHLANDING. (4mb steaming Quicktime) Upon reaching the Tau Ceti solar system, an asteroid strikes the ship's sensor dish, triggering an emergency computer landing:

WAKING UP. (2mb) The crew wakes up, after 15 years of cryosleep. Instead of reviving in weightless orbit, the ship has crashed, sustaining damage to both the computer and ship structure. Gravity is taking its toll on the astronauts' weak bodies. On top of being trapped, one of the other astronauts, Rita, is missing and her bunk is bloody.

FIRST ATTACK. (3mb) Trying not to just be gory, I focused more on the psychological experience of each attack, which is that most of the astronauts can not see what's happening, so they experience it through the intercom system, but are helpless to do anything. The biologist gives her assessment of the carnivorous, apelike creature. The deduction is that it attacked Rita and Debbie, so it will be back.

SECOND ATTACK. (3mb) The I.V. nutrients and electric pulse stimulation are slow going. Realizing that they have to get out, quick, the atrophied astronauts try exercise. They are pretty much limited to basic isometrics. As predicted, the creature returns. I chose to have this scene take place almost entirely from Nicole's point of view. She covers her ears to block out the intercom, but she can't escape the experience.

THIRD ATTACK. (3mb) So far, the creature has taken only women. A few of the colony-minded men decide that they must distract the creature, so that it leaves the women alone. However, a few crewmembers have spilled their guts about why they really left earth, forever. One of those is Kim, who confesses to past suicidal tendencies. "Please gentlemen, don't do me any favors." Once the creature pulls Robert out, Kim realizes that he can free everyone and decides to call the creature over to her.

ESCAPE. (3mb) Robert is wounded, but manages to free the crew. They aren't strong enough to stand, but they can move around. The creature makes it a close call.

GETTING THE WEAPONS. (4mb) Trapped in the Command Module, the crew realize that they won't last long without the food and weapons, located at the opposite end of the ship, in the Storage Module. After waiting out the creature, they make a break for it, with disasterous results.

EXITING THE SHIP. (2.6mb) The crew finally makes it outside, only to discover that they are trapped inside a huge terrarium barrier. It looks like the hairy carnivorous beast was put in the terrarium to test the astronauts' defenses, by an advanced alien race of evil "grays."

CREATURE GONE. (2mb) The evil "grays" enter the terrarium, at will, and take the creature's body (in addition to earlier crew bodies "This is why that creature was always hungry."). The crew uses nightvision to search the terrain. Notice the last, rather amazing shot of the animated crewmembers, exiting the ship.

BRANDON ABDUCTED. (1.5mb) Two crewmembers stand guard. The aliens return.

ALIENS BLAST BRANDON (3mb) The crew desperately search for Brandon, who turns up on the other side of the terrarium barrier, with bloody hands. The crew is unable to hear him, but, apparently, he killed an alien.

NIGHTVISION SHOOTOUT. (1.5mb) The crew tunnel under the barrier and set up sniper positions, as they evacuate supplies from their booby-trapped ship. The "stealthy," almost invisible aliens are pretty advanced, but can be seen with the nightvision.

ALIEN AUTOPSY ROOM. (3.7mb) The aliens surround the ship, but the captain blows them all to hell. Dena, waits at the rendezvous point - an abandoned underground structure. Unfortunately, the ship explosion causes Dena to fall through a second structure, which isn't abandoned. She finds Kim, who was earlier abducted. The aliens experimented on her pretty extensively and all she wants is not to be touched, again.

A couple more...

MISSION SPEECH. (1.4mb) This is Roger's speech, which sets up the whole mission.

ORIGINAL TITLE SEQUENCE. (4mb) If you've read this far, this might interest you. An outside party created new the solar system sequence, on Lions Gate Films' WAR OF THE PLANETS DVD. You can see the original TERRARIUM version, as well as hear the main theme, on this link.

 

 

New!! This 5 meg video shows News coverage, before and
after the movie went to the theater.

 

 


WHAT WAR?

Before it was called WAR OF THE PLANETS, the movie,
TERRARIUM, was known as that little indie flick, shot in a
suburban Las Vegas backyard. Totally dubbed, except for
the video Press Conference scene, TERRARIUM was shot
with a silent Canon Scoopic 16mm camera.

TERRARIUM gained momentum on indie filmboards,
particularly when DVDs were given away on this thread:

Big TERRARIUM Promo

Viewers of the original, independent release seemed to like it,
not minding the dubbed actors and wooden sets. Most of these people were expecting a typical shot on video indie, but got into
a 16mm film, with the cool concept of atrophied astronauts,
unable to fight off a carnivorous monster. All this,
before the halfway point of the movie, in which a major plot
twist, concerning the movie's title, comes to light! Faced
with an even bigger threat, the once weak astronauts break
out the assault rifles and face their enemy.

So, what changed? Well,. Steven Spielberg made WAR
OF THE WORLDS. What could other distributors throw
up against it, to ride the wave of interest? "Hey, what
about that movie, TERRARIUM, that we previously
passed on?" Yes, Lions Gate initially passed on it, until
Mainline Releasing/Lightning Ent. put a spin on it.

The title, TERRARIUM, was changed to WAR OF THE
PLANETS, even though there isn't much of a war. Now,
WAR OF THE PLANETS is in every big video store,
in N. America. The release is huge, beyond any indie
filmmaker's dream! The downside is that the box features
monsters, on the cover, that don't have anything to do
with the movie. The title is kind of misleading, but that is
what put it into stores, in large numbers.

A lot of viewers of WAR OF THE PLANETS were
expecting Hollywood fare and not some guy's ambitious
backyard movie. "Ambitious," because a banquet waiter,
named Mike Conway coerced his stepdad and roommate
to help him build a full sized 64' long spaceship set in the
backyard of Mike's house!

While the ship was still being built, Las Vegas city officials
ordered the monstrosity to be torn down. Mike Conway
grabbed his Scoopic and quickly shot his flick, before the
city could possibly arrest and fine him, for non-compliance!
20 tons of sand and boulders were trucked in. 90% percent
of TERRARIUM was shot in the backyard and garage!

With the city government waiting, Mike stalled, just enough.
All those ideas about 3 point lighting, dolly shots, etc. were
thrown out the window, with the bulk of the movie shot
in two weeks. Somehow, out of 6 hours of silent film
footage, TERRARIUM was put together. No one on this
shoot could have anticipated the huge Lions Gate release,
but there it is.

When Mike released his own TERRARIUM DVD, he
hedged his bet by loading it with a separate Special
Features disc, which included the incredible and well
recieved documentary, A SPACESHIP IN THE
BACKYARD, which details the ship's construction
and the film's eventual release in a movie theater.

Also on the disc were 3 short movies, ROADKILL,
PRISONER 810 and KILLER'S LAIR.

Lions Gate could not include these Special Features. This
is unfortunate, because viewers were missing the best part
of the DVD. The good news is that the Special Features'
disc is available through this website, for $5, plus $2 shipping.
Maybe, those of you, who have read this far, will get a
chance to see what made the original TERRARIUM a bit
special.

A paypal link has now been added to the DVD ORDER
page.

Verify your order, by sending your address info to:

midnightsunent@aol.com

 

 


12 astronauts volunteer to pioneer a colony, on a newly discovered planet. They awake from their frozen 15 year sleep to discover that the ship has crashed and that they are trapped in their cryotubes. To make matters worse, a hairy beast breaks in and begins devouring them, one by one...

What does it look like? Go to the Downloads page to see still photos and movie clips! You can even hear cuts from the soundtrack. EDIT: Here is the 2004 TERRARIUM trailer. This one kicks butt! If that's not enough, then check out this 30 Second Spot!

TERRARIUM is an 84 minute feature, shot on 16mm film. Made for $27,000, Terrarium which included buying a film camera, computer and, of course, a full scale, 64 foot long spaceship!

Terrarium was shown for 2 weeks at a Las Vegas theater. It was there that the film garnered some fans, including visual effects artists, Chuck Carter, P.J. Foley and Bart Anderson. The trio offered to do some effects shots to enhance the film.

Mike Conway was making an attempt at a no-frills movie, that had strong acting from the volunteer cast. The intention was to make a sparse horror drama, set in a spaceship. However, Conway agreed that the new visuals were needed and happily accepted the offer of free effects from guys, who previously worked on STAR TREK - VOYAGER and BABYLON 5!

EDIT: The 2004 version of TERRARIUM was substantially recut. Also, 24 new FX shots have been added, most by David Rosler of The Rosler Group.


 


These were the first humans they had ever seen...