I was wrong.
I’d originally listed THE UNDEAD (1957) as a possible film (all rights to image to current holder), then decided it wasn’t, then thought I should check just in case … and yes, while the main plot concerns a modern-day woman experiencing her past life under hypnotic regression, she’s able to change her past to save her previous incarnation’s life, then one of the scientists working with her has to go back to fix it (a rather unconvincing grandfather paradox argument, that if she doesn’t die on schedule, none of her later incarnations can ever exist). Directed by Roger Corman, this drags a lot in the medieval sequences, but it still has a level of competence a lot of the clunky amateurish productions I’ve written about here can’t approach. “Thou art the author of the piece—and Satan be the critic.”
Case in point, SPACEBABES MEET THE MONSTERS (2003) is an unfunny parody in which a group of brain-dead volunteers go forward in time where they’re caught in a battle between terrifying alien monsters and hot alien women who have no experience of kissing. I wouldn’t have bothered if Netflix had listed the running time accurately (under an hour so I can ignore it); Patrick Macnee appears as the narrator. “You’re the foremost genius in the world—that’s why we’re willing to risk our lives as your time-traveling guinea pigs.”
LOVE STORY 2050 (2008) was one I did have on my list and only now got to. This is a Bollywood fantasy in which the death of the protagonist’s Great Love drives him to 2050 Mumbai where he attempts to convince her reincarnation that their love was meant to be. The early love scenes in the present worked better for me than most of the future stuff. “Zeisha is tomorrow’s woman that yesterday talked about.”
THE 25TH REICH (2012) is one I’d given up on seeing (I paid twice for it on a streaming service that didn’t deliver) and would have been happy in hindsight not to. Some films are so bad you must see them, this is so bad you mustn’t, despite a good concept (Nazis steal a flying saucer from when it first crashed and use it to change the outcome of WW II). Unfortunately most of the running time is devoted to the platoon’s endless and tedious talk (neither the writing nor the acting are good enough to support that dramatic decision), whether to keep the budget down or because the creators thought they could do something seriously dramatic. “Anybody can make history, Corporal Updike, but only great men can write it.”
I never had THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD (1995) on my list until I remembered recently that the magically animated plastic figure of the title is an actual time-shifted Iroquois (Litefoot) from the 1700s, not simply a toy coming to life. This starts slower than I remembered but holds up well as the protagonist delights in his new friend only to gradually realize he doesn’t have the right to play god with his “toys” (unlike the book, the Indian refuses to have Jack use the cupboard to give him a wife at the end of the story). With David Keith as a cowboy and Lindsay Crouse as the hero’s mom. “You don’t deserve that hair.”
JACK BROWN GENIUS (1994) is a Kiwi film in which a monk who died attempting glider flight gets his soul flung forward a thousand years where he tries to convince the eponymous inventor to redeem him by perfecting his research (“Otherwise, I am damned for the sin of self-slaughter.”). Not for the book—I don’t count ghosts—and so I used it as a talking lamp while working on other things (and can’t say I missed anything, it’s a very unfunny comedy)> “Careful boy—the wench speaks with the tongue of a serpent!”