Film / Saturn 3
"I loved you in Spartacus!"

Saturn 3note  is a 1980 science-fiction film staring Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett, and Harvey Keitel. It was conceived and partly directed by John Barry, a production designer for A Clockwork Orange and Star Wars: A New Hope. This film takes cues from both. After some sort of dispute (accounts differ), Stanley Donen (of Singin' in the Rain fame) ended up directing most of it.

Saturn 3 provides examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: When Harvey Keitel's character Benson is trying to forcefully abduct Alex and take her to Earth, Hector goes fully haywire, grabs him by the wrist, and just crushes straight through it.
  • Artificial Gravity: The Space Station at the start has people walking on the ceiling as well as the floor.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: Based on the way Saturn moves through the moon's sky, it would have to be orbiting perpendicular to the rings. For some reason it's necessary to pilot a craft straight through the rings in order to get to the moon.
    • Additionally, the appearance of the moon's surface more closely hews to that of rocky, airless Tethys, rather than the thick, noxious atmosphere of Titan, where Saturn wouldn't even be visible in the sky at any point at all.
  • Badass Grandpa: Kirk Douglas was 63 when he filmed this movie.
  • The Bait: Alex (Farrah Fawcett) at one point stands in the middle of the lab, in front of a few floor panels of which the supportive grating had been removed. Hector just walks around them.
  • Bloodless Carnage: When Adam pushes Hector into the coolant pit whilst carrying the explosives, a massive blast with several parts of Hector is shown. But nothing belonging to Adam.
  • Brain Uploading: Hector learns, slowly, but learns quicker when connected to a human brain.
    • Hector implants Benson's interface unit into Adam, so he can "experience" Alex.
  • Cold Open: Benson is shown killing a pilot in order to obtain the Wetware CPU. A throwaway line in the scene indicates it's because Benson failed a psych eval and was booted from the mission, so he murdered and impersonated the replacement.
  • Damsel in Distress: Farrah Fawcett's character Alex. Constantly harassed by Benson, and later stalked by the Hector the Killer Robot, who possesses Benson's memories and bits of his personality.
  • Enemy Mine: For a brief period, the three humans collaborate to stop Hector, despite the tension building between them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Adam sacrifices his own life for Alex, since he was linked to the Robot and probably under its influence already. Forshadowed in his chess game with Hector as he lectures Benson on the merits of self-sacrifice.
  • Indy Hat Roll: There's one sequence where Alex and Adam have to run through a corridor full of closing doors that close in sequence, as the trope dictates; however, they don't quite make it and the last door closes in front of them.
  • Kick the Dog: Hector, you asshole!
  • Killer Robot: Hector.
  • May–December Romance: Alex and Adam are already enjoying this when Benson arrives.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Farrah Fawcett's Alex. So much that all the other characters (even the robot) are fighting over her.
  • Mile-Long Ship: Swooping from above and set to bombastic orchestral piece in an almost identical establishing shot as the opening of Star Wars.
  • Minimalist Cast: There are only five speaking actors onscreen, six if you count the Killer Robot. Three of them carry 99% of the movie, and one dies as soon as the robot starts going mental.
  • Murder by Inaction: When a gigantic ceiling claw ('cause all laboratories have giant ceiling claws) pins Benson down, Adam considers just letting Hector have him as he's about to close the emergency door on him. He turns out to be a better man than Benson, and goes back to save him.
  • Not Quite Dead: Hector gets dismantled at one point, but manages to reactivate himself later on, and use the lab equipment to put himself back together.
  • Reluctant Retiree: Adam is swiftly approaching his mandatory "abort time".
  • Same Language Dub: Benson is dubbed by Roy Dotrice.
  • Tear Off Your Face: Once Hector has appropriated Benson's voice there is a Wham Shot of him standing in a corridor wearing his head.
  • Trapped with Monster Plot: With definite overtones of Alien, this film followed a lot of leaders.
  • Triang Relations: The dreaded Type 4. Plus one robot mental duplicate as a backup "A".
  • Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Hector looks for all the world like a skinned, metallic corpse with tubes for veins and metal plates where its muscles would be. Slowly, more of it is revealed, until we come to its head... or lack of one. All it has on top are two insectile, twitching, glowing eyes on an arm. It doesn't talk — it merely flicks its eyes around to stare at you. When you combine those attributes with its measured tread, its deliberately inhuman movements and the fact that it's learning directly from the thoughts of the murderous, psychotic handler who has a stalkercrush on Farrah Fawcett, it invokes the eeriest elements of the Uncanny Valley, essentially recreating Frankenstein's Monster in space. But scarier. What happens near the end of the film isn't pretty either: Hector, his brain having been turned into a duplicate of his handler, has taken on his handler's madness as well, to the point that Hector tries to wear the man's head atop his own.
  • The Voiceless: Hector, at first. He later obtains Benson's voice, then Adam's, and he uses Alex's voice to send away The Cavalry.
  • Wetware CPU: Hector's three brains, which are stacked in a tube full of bubbling water.