M4: Invaders From Cyberspace is the fourth and final installment in Ted Mikels’ Homeric Astro-Zombies saga. For me, it’s the silliest sequel of all. It changes so much, in regards to the story. Up until now, the astro-zombies have always been man-made or alien-made — human corpses brought back to life to be used as soldiers. Now, without explanation, they’re suddenly their own species, an extraterrestrial race that resides on a ringed planet known as Mozortsa V, which is doomed to collide with an asteroid.
Their time running out, the astro-zombies decide to come colonize Earth. They do this by stepping out of computer screens, and blowing stuff up with eye beams — two powers they never displayed before. They arrive in, and lay siege to, in this order:
Miami Beach, Florida
New York City, New York
San Francisco, California
This graphic implies that Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai are also under attack.
Most of the action this go-around consists of astro-zombies green-screened into shots of national monuments, followed by CG explosions. At times, it seems like this movie was nothing more than a way for Mikels to make use of his old vacation footage. If he truly, honestly traveled to all these locations specifically for this film, then I’ve got to applaud him. That shows dedication. I don’t think that’s the case, though.
After a while, the astro-zombies stop coming out of computers and start magically materializing wherever they please.
At around the forty-four minute mark, two police officers seek help from a psychic named Madame Bovary. All three are incinerated.
The next scene ranks up there with the hallway goblin from Troll 2, as far as I’m concerned. It starts off with the most pointless phone call in history. An older guy introduces himself. “Ay, Mrs. Green, how are you today? Hi, this is, uh, Captain Caruso, with the detective squad.” Is it just me, or is squad the wrong word? I would say Bureau. It sounds more official.
“So, anyway, alright, listen,” he goes on. “I have a couple questions. May I ask you some questions? Ok… the reason why I’m calling is, you happen to be a very lucky lady, because [you were] the only survivor in the house that day. Do you recall if, uh, Madame… (searching for a name) Buvré (throws his hand up like he knows he pronounced it badly) had, uh, said anything about, uh, whatever might be going on that can help this case?”
The woman on the other end of the line seems nervous. She’s holding a thermos. “All she said was to buy some lottery tickets. Everything was lookin’ good.”
“Well, anyway, listen, I, uh, I want to thank you very much. Uhm, if anything comes to mind that you might help us out, please give me a call, ok, whenever you get a chance, and let us know, cos we want to solve this problem. It’s pretty serious. Ok, thank you very much, Mrs. Green. You have a great day.”
Someone tell me what the point of this call is. He only asks her one question, then hangs up without learning anything. I love how he casually refers to the days-or-weeks-old triple homicide as a “problem”, then tries to recover with “It’s pretty serious.”
The master interrogator sets his phone down and turns to face his computer, where a menu of hyperlinks sits open in Microsoft Word.
“That’s not what I want,” he says to himself while he clicks away with the mouse. “Come on. Well… maybe, maybe, maybe this could be it.” he continues, like he’s on the verge of some breakthrough, some huge, profound revelation.
The funny part is, he’s reacting to nothing. His screen looks the same. The pointer’s not moving.
“Whoa!” he exclaims. “What’s after this?!”
He hasn’t even scrolled down.
“Come on. Maybe, maybe, maybe this— WOW!” Whatever it is that he sees, or thinks he sees, is so mindbending he can’t wrap his head around it. “Wow.” he repeats. “Oh my gaahhd!”
Something finally does happen. Little black boxes flicker all over. There’s still no change to his page underneath. “Whoa, wait a minute, nah nah nah. Nah, that can’t be.” He’s very disturbed by the boxes. Most people would turn their monitor off and back on, or press ctrl+alt+del. He half-cocks his head; his body language reads get outta here. “What is this? he asks. “I never saw this before. This is… What’s… What’s going on? Oh my god.”
The screen lights up. A surge of electricity shoots into his face. His last words — word, rather — is an Italian-sounding “Ayyyyyyy!” as his head explodes in a mess of computerized blood.
At least he’s no longer suffering. Let’s take solace in that.
His old age, combined with the stress of his job, had clearly taken a toll on his mental health. He was reading things that weren’t there. Having conversations with himself. He’d lost touch with reality. It was painful to watch. He’s in a better place now.
In all seriousness, I love this scene. The whole thing is so poorly acted and executed. It makes me laugh without fail. Wanna know what really gets me? It’s not that no one thought to scroll through Mr. Caruso’s page as to give the illusion that he in fact read it, it’s that someone edited this and went, “Yeah, that looks good.” This scene most likely cost zero dollars. They could have re-shot it so easily — in a matter of minutes, I’d bet. All they had to do was grab a new cutaway shot of the screen. Boom. Done. DVDs. But nobody gave a shit. Here we are.
That’s why this is my favorite moment from M4: Invaders From Cyberspace. The not giving a shit is off the charts. Check out Astro-Zombies 2, 3, & 4 if you haven’t.