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Space 1999 - The Infernal Machine

episode 1.17
Mondbasis Alpha 1 - Die Tefelsmaschine

UK / Italy 1976
produced by
Sylvia Anderson, Gerry Anderson (executive) for Group 3/ITC, RAI
directed by David Tomblin
starring Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Barry Morse, Prentis Hancock, Nick Tate, Zienia Merton, Leo McKern, Gary Waldhorn, Clifton Jones, Anton Phillips, Suzanne Roquette
screenplay by Anthony Terpiloff, Elizabeth Barrows, created by Gerry Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, music by Barry Gray

Space 1999

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A weird looking spaceship (looking something like a paddle-steamer) approaches Moonbase Alpha 1 on earth's runaway moon, & a voice asks Alpha for help - no, demands help, since whoever-it-is has already taken over Alpha's computer. Soon Alpha's commander Koenig (Martin Landau), chief physician Helena Russell (Barbara Bain) & chief scientist Bergman (Barry Morse) are invited over to the spaceship ... only to find an old & frail man, Companion (Leo McKern) & an all powerful ship computer, Gwent (voiced also by Leo McKern), & Companion claims he has once programmed Gwent as an extension of his own self, but Gwent has grown way too powerful, become insane, & soon condemned Companion to be his companion on his travels through space. But now Companion is dieing, & before long he's acutally dead, & Gwent demands Koenig, Bergman & Russell to be his new companions, & he even demands that all his requirements (mainly energy supplies & the like) are met as well.

After the Alphans start a futile attack, they have to give in to Gwent's demands, as he seems quite capable of destroying the moonbase. Then though Koenig makes an important discobvery: Gwent is blind (though surprisingly he had no problems to shoot the attacking spacecrafts out of the air), & so via monitor can silently communicate with Alpha. And another thing, Gwent's power supplies are running down, so Alpha launches another attack to drain Gwent of his energy, & when they finally give in to his demands, Koenig refuses to put the power cells into place. Gwent makes more threats against Koenig & the moonbase, but he is so drained of energy that instead of putting them into action, he goes to sleep (?!), an opportunity which Koenig, Russell & Bergman seize to escape.

When later Gwent awakens again & finds himself power- & companionless, he commits siucide by flying into the next set of lunar rocks.


Quite some fun here: an almost anachronistic looking alien spaceship, the usual great miniature work, explosions aplenty, a silly, not really thought through story, and a computer that (repeatedly) laughs maniacally. What more could you want ? (... well, actually, there are quite a few things, but that's besides the point.)


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD