Amongst my favourite eighties movies is the low-budget SF thriller TRANCERS (1985), starring Tim Thomerson and Helen Hunt. It was another cheapie from master of low-budget fare Charles Band (sequels 2-5 were produced by his Full Moon Entertainment schlock factory).
It's derivative of BLADE RUNNER and THE TERMINATOR but its also - thanks to a great cast and a witty script by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo - a great deal of undemanding fun.
Thomerson is Jack Deth, a Trancer (mind-controlled zombies) Hunter sent back through time to modern day LA, occupying the body of one of his ancestors, to prevent a criminal mastermind changing the future.
After a hiatus, Deth returned for TRANCERS II (see the video cassette advert below) in 1991. To coincide, Eternity Comics issued this two-part limited series (and subsequent trade paperback collection) which borrowed elements from both films to tell its own Trancers tale. It's not excellent but - to date - its the only Trancers comic book adaptation.
TRANCERS II and III are fairly competent sequels which don't really threaten to match the quality of the original. Richard Lynch is the villain in the second, which is a good enough reason to watch.
TRANCERS 4 and 5 painfully miss the point of the appeal of the franchise, sending Jack to another dimension with medieval overtones. That sudden gear shift was to allow Band to film them, back-to-back, in Romania. Despite some impressive names behind the camera (Director David Nutter and writer Peter David), the results are pretty wretched.
All five movies are now available in a recommended R1 DVD box set. Apparently, there was a sixth outing for the franchise although Thomerson contribution was restricted to stock footage. It sounds awful.
According to an article in CINEFANTASTIQUE MAGAZINE, Band also shot a Jack Deth short sometime in the hiatus between the first two movies. That was going to be part of a direct-to-video Empire Pictures anthology but the production got trapped in legal hell when the company folded.
THE TRADE PAPERBACK COLLECTION:
TRANCERS II PRINT AD
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