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Great Sci-Fi Classics, Vol. 3 [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered
  • Interactive menus
  • Chapter selections
  • Digitally enhanced audio 5.1

Synopsis

Creature
Less than a year before James Cameron's turbo-charged sequel, Hollywood (or its overseas counterparts) still managed to find ways to retread the badly-worn theme of Ridley Scott's Alien, as evidenced in this 1985 low-budget item. When a mysterious canister is uncovered on Saturn's largest moon Titan, a dormant, eons-old monster is released, making lunch of both the explorers who discovered it and the rival corporation's exploration team which investigates their disappearance. The most enjoyable "creature" in this otherwise pedestrian film is the ever-leering Klaus Kinski, who plays the lecherous sole survivor of the previous expedition, but the only real source of entertainment -- the depiction of gooey, gory effects and gratuitous nudity -- is spoiled by inadequate lighting and static camera set-ups. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Phantom from Space
Phantom from Space is a far better film than its lurid title and skintight budget would indicate. The scene is Santa Monica, where the community is plagued by what seems to be a serial killer. Thanks to a pre-credits sequence, the audience knows that the murderer is a visitor from outer space, who becomes invisible upon shedding his spacesuit. Government agent Hazen (Ted Cooper) teams with LAPD lieutenant Bowers (Harry Landers) to track down the extraterrestrial fugitive. It gradually develops that the space man is not a predator, merely a very frightened and defensive individual, but by the time this realization is made, it's too late for him. Efficiently directed by W. Lee Wilder (Billy's brother), Phantom from Space boasts some very impressive special effects for a film of its type, courtesy of special-effects technician Alex Welden and optical effects specialist Howard Anderson. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Incredible Petrified World
Often tagged "The Incredible Petrified Movie," this science-fiction mistake was created by one of the more unsung "heroes" of bad moviemaking, Jerry Warren, a Hollywood "auteur" comparable to the legendary Edward D. Woods, Jr.. This time, Jerry depicts a group of divers "stranded" in some underwater caverns when their diving bell malfunctions. While the intrepid little group of two men and an equal number of women (including erstwhile "Lois Lane," Phyllis Coates) scamper about beneath the surface, Professor Millard Wyman (John Carradine) works feverishly on solid ground to find a new diving apparatus that may reach them before an underwater source of oxygen runs out. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Rocketship
In this sci-fi film, Flash Gordon and friends take on Mongo's sea monster, deadly ray guns, and robots to keep the evil Emperor Ming from destroying Earth. The film is also titled Flash Gordon. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

The Disappearance of Flight 412
US Air Force colonel Glenn Ford has a dilemma on his hands. He knows for a fact that two jets under his command were last seen chasing a UFO. But the military higher-ups have no intention of filling Ford in on further developments. Despite these stonewalling tactics, Ford steps up his own investigation--and uncovers an insidious right-wing plot to overthrow the government. Bradford Dillman, who has probably made more TV movies than Karen Valentine even, costars in The Disappearance of Flight 412. The film was telecast two months after Watergate, a time in which "conspiracy" movies were breeding like rabbits. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Phantom Creeps [Serial]
The bravura performance of Bela Lugosi is the main selling card for the 12-episode Universal serial The Phantom Creeps. Unhinged by the death of his wife, Dr. Alex Zorka (Lugosi) vows to avenge himself on the world with a variety of strange inventions, including a "disvisualizer belt" which allows him to carry out his perfidy under the cloak of invisibility. Zorka also terrorizes the countryside with an eight-foot-tall robot, which appears to have enlarged kidneys (no wonder he's so grouchy!) Defying both the US government and various foreign spies, Zorka charts his own villainous course, keeping one step ahead of the nominal hero and heroine, Captain Bob West (Robert Kent) and girl reporter Jean Drew (Dorothy Arnold). One particularly spectacular laboratory sequence was "borrowed" via stock footage from the 1936 Universal horror film The Invisible Ray, which also starred Lugosi. The rip-roaring climax finds the demented Zorka flying high above the ocean, carrying a vial of deadly explosives with which he intends to blow up the world (one wonders where he plans to land his plane). A feature-length cutdown of The Phantom Creeps (75 minutes) is also available on videotape. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Warning from Space
Translated into English, the title of this Japanese sci-fi endeavor is Unknown Satellite over Tokyo. The extraterrestrials on this occasion are weirdly shaped creatures with one eye in the middle of their bodies. The aliens take the form of human beings so that they can warn mankind of an imminent disaster: the earth is on a collision course with another planet. Once the creatures have conveyed their messages, a scientist races against time to create a bomb that will throw the other planet off its course. Alas, foreign spies, apparently unmindful that the destruction of earth will affect them too, steal the super-weapon, and the chase is on. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Day the Sky Exploded
A scientific experiment gone leaves the fate of the world hanging in the balance in this sci-fi thriller. The United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain join forces to launch a manned space mission, but things go terribly wrong and crew leader John MacLaren (Paul Hubschmid) is forced to abandon ship shortly after blast off. MacLaren safely returns to Earth, but the rocket continues to sail through space, eventually reaching the sun and causing it to break apart. The consequences are immediate and disastrous -- asteroids pummel the planet, Earthquakes and extreme weather conditions tear at the world's major cities, and the world's scientific community bands together in a last-ditch effort to stop the disaster before it's too late. Le Danger Vient de l'Escape (released in the United States as The Day The Sky Exploded features top-notch cinematography from European horror legend Mario Bava. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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