Trancers (1984)

Look, there are bad Full Moon movies — there are more than a few — and there is also Trancers, a movie that has people in the future doing drugs to go back in time and the cop who polices the time stream, who is called Jack Deth, is played by Tim Thomerson and for some reason is a hardboiled film noir character in the midst of what is kind of a science fiction zombie movie that eventually also becomes a medieval parallel world story as the sequels keep on coming.

It was written by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, who really had some great ideas, writing — and occasionally directing — everything from Zone Troopers and The Wrong Guys to The Rocketeer and TV series like The FlashViperHuman Target and The Sentinel. Bilson was also the go-between for the Harry Potter games, making sure that EA and creator JK Rowling were on the same page. The team also worked for THQ, where they pushed for the video game company’s own IPs to gain prominence — THQ mostly made licensed games at first — including the great Saints Row series. Bilson also wrote Eliminators and Arena, but sadly died in 2016. The team’s last scriptDa 5 Bloods, became a Spike Lee joint in 2020.

Deth has come to our time from the 23rd century on the hunt for Martin Whistler, a psychic supervillain who can use his mental powers to make people into mindless Trancers, which Jack can detect with his special bracelet. Once they are triggered, these human bombs go from normal people to killers in seconds; as Jack would say, “Only squids get turned into Trancers.”

Our hero is currently in the body of Phil Dethton, a journalist ancestor, and gets an instant girlfriend in the form of Leena, who is played by Helen Hunt. That may surprise you. What is even more astounding is that she showed up for the sequel.

How can you not love a movie that has a member of Tony Orlando and Dawn — Telma Hopkins — as the engineer of a time machine? Trancers is full of ridiculous moments that somehow all work out and a lot of the credit for that goes to Thomerson, who was once in the Army National Guard with Brion James before becoming a stand-up comic.

Look, they’ve made six of these — and a short — and I could watch them all multiple times. I realize my taste is not the best, but I can honestly say that the Trancers films fall on the good side of the Empire and Full Moon release slates.

You can watch this on Tubi.

2 thoughts on “Trancers (1984)

  1. Not deliberately, but I have managed to live 40 years watching thousands of horror movies and somehow never yet watched this. Is it streaming free anywhere?


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