Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Assassin (1986)

Henry Stanton (Robert Conrad, try to knock a battery off his shoulder ) is a retired agent from an intelligence agency not to be named that is brought back in when a top-secret robot named Robert Golem (Richard Young, the man who gave Indiana Jones his fedora) begins killing government officials. He’ll have help from an old flame named Mary (Karen Austin, Case of the Hillside StranglersFantasies) and he’ll need it, because Golem is unstoppable.

With a tagline like “Exterminate with extreme prejudice,” you know that this movie is totally remaking Terminator. It originally aired on CBS on March 19, 1986, two full years after Cameron’s Outer Limits pastiche played theaters*.

This was written and directed by Sandor Stern, who wrote the original The Amityville Horror and wrote and directed Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes and one of my favorite blasts of sheer Canadian craziness, Pin.

It’s a TV version of a blockbuster, so there’s not much here, but there is a moment where the villain uses an iron to close up his bullet holes before making sweet, sweet love to a woman he meets in the hotel. But hey, if you grew up on 70’s TV and thought Robert Conrad was the toughest man alive — he used to get enraged at teammates on Battle of the Network Stars who didn’t go all out — then you might like this.

*I say this because that movie owes plenty to Harlan Ellison. As the story goes, Harlan saw the movie, called Orion Pictures up about the theft and was dismissed by them. But Ellison knew screenwriter and producer Tracy Torme, who had told Ellison before the movie even came out that he had visited the set of the film and when he asked where he got the idea, Cameron said, “Oh, I ripped off a couple of Harlan Ellison stories.” Cameron also told the same thing to Starlog, but the magazine edited out the comments after a call from producer Gale Anne Hurd. As for Cameron, he’d later say, “Harlan Ellison is a parasite who can kiss my ass.” I’m shocked that he didn’t get sued again by the man who won a lawsuit against Marvel once that gave him one copy of everything they published; he would write them nearly every month asking why he hadn’t received the most minute of products.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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