MST3K and bad movie aficionados in general have heard of SPACE MUTINY, one of the worst sci-fi movies of all time. Much is made of Reb Brown’s nutty performance or how much of the spaceship looks like sewage treatment plant. But one cannot overlook one of the shining stars of this film: John Phillip Law’s unhinged performance as the villainous KALGAN.
John Phillip Law did not come to Space Mutiny as some talentless hack, the man already had 25+ years of acting experience. He starred alongside Jane Fonda in the sci-fi classic Barbarella, appeared in the cult horror film The Spiral Staircase and had a long stint on soap opera The Young and the Restless. Even as the scenery chewing Kalgan this is a man with genuine talent and a strong instinct for performance. Even as he stands by and watches other characters’ actions you can still see him acting, reacting, and immersing himself in the role. John knew he was in a low budget dud, though probably not anticipating the cult status it would later achieve, and he is clearly having a great time playing Kalgan. The bulging eyes, the maniacal laughter, he is a 80’s cartoon villain taken human form and this should be celebrated.
Space Mutiny is a glorious mess made all the more entertaining by a very game John Phillip Law. Sadly he passed away in 2008 after battling pancreatic cancer. In this small way we want to pay tribute to the man that brought this fabulous villain to the screen.