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Chris Barsanti on 'The Sci-Fi Movie Guide'

The Sci-Fi Movie Guide
Visible Ink Press

Brought to you by Visible Ink Press

This new book title can be found on

1. What was your interstellar gooey inspiration and motivation for creating your new book, "The Sci-Fi Movie Guide The Universe of Film from Alien to Zardoz"?

The inspiration for the book was highly Earth-bound. I've been a film critic for many years and a sci-fi fan for most of my life. So when Visible Ink asked me if I wanted to update this book, which was first published back in 1997, I jumped at the opportunity.

2. Loving the book thus far and have found a lot of titles I've never heard of. What are some obscure films in here that some may have never heard of that you would recommend from your perspective?

A couple of the lesser-known sci-fi gems that I covered in the book and are well worth seeking out are: "Sound of My Voice" (2000), about a filmmaking couple who go undercover in a cult to unmask their leader, a beautiful woman who claims to be from the future, but end up questioning their own beliefs; and "A Scanner Darkly" (2006), Richard Linklater's creepy trippy animated take on the Philip K. Dick novel about police-state surveillance and schizophrenia.

3. I saw Chopping Mall the other day and loved it. What are some other movies in that vein that you can share with us?

Maybe the highly weird "Night of the Comet" (1984). It has less of the slasher-flick vibe to it, but plays around with some of the same Valley Girl shtick. Plus: zombies!

4. What are some great alien invasion films and aliens possessing bodies flicks that you can discuss with us?

John Carpenter did two of the best: his remake of "The Thing" (1982) and "They Live" (1987). Both are supposedly about invasions by other species but are really highly intelligent, skin-crawling metaphors about humanity's penchant for self-destruction.

5. I enjoyed the Frankenstein movies in the book. Here lately I've had a Frankenstein fetish. It used to be Dracula but now Frankenstein. Would you talk to us about Frankenstein films?

Every robot-gone-bad or computer-gone-bad story is at its heart a Frankenstein story. It's the same lesson about mankind's hubris and desire to play God. Whether it's monsters being created out of stolen corpses or artificial intelligences launching nuclear missiles, I don't think we'll ever get tired of seeing stories about the dangers of technology.

6. I love Terry Gilliam films and I was wondering if you could get into Brazil with us and your interpretation of that film?

That's a pretty big question. Brazil is simply put one of the most stunning, darkly comedic, heart-rending stories ever put on screen. Unfortunately for Gilliam, it came a little too early in his career. I think he said everything he needed to say with that movie and everything since then has felt somewhat repetitive.

7. This is a wild card question. What films would you like to talk about from your book that we haven't discussed yet?

There have been a lot of exciting sci-fi films being released over the past few years, and not just the junky teen dystopia films (Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.). "Cloud Atlas," "Coherence," "It's a Disaster."

8. What are you up to next book wise or projects wise and also any links you'd like to share? Thank you for this interview.

I have a mystery novel I'm working on that's tentatively titled "Wait for Yesterday." Also, in January I'll be publishing the 2014 edition of my annual "Eyes Wide Open" film guide series.

Eyes Wide Open 2013: The Year's 25 Greatest Movies (and the 5 Worst) - Kindle edition by Chris Barsanti. Humor & Entertainment Kindle eBooks @

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