“The Doomsday Machine” was doomed from the beginning.
The Chinese have created a doomsday weapon that will destroy the Earth and will be activated in 72 hours. In the meantime the manned space ship Astra is scheduled to take off for Venus. At the last minute the project is taken over from the space agency by the military and half the flight crew is replaced by women, including one Russian.
After the ship is launched the crew members reason that the crew change was due to the possibility of saving the human race should the Chinese actually blow up the Earth. Then the Chinese blow up the Earth. As tensions rise the space ship continues on toward Venus. Meteors from the explosion head toward them. By maneuvering the ship to avoid them they are taken off course. They use up more fuel to try to get on course for Venus again. In doing so they realize that they can not make a safe landing on Venus unless they get rid of excess weight. The crew needs to be reduced to three.
They let the computer calculate who is to live and who is not. That doesn’t go well. One of the crew tries to rape another member and they both accidentally get jettisoned out of an airlock. Two others are lost when they go out to do some repairs on the ship. However they see another ship nearby and jump to it. It turns out to be a Russian ship that had been floating around in space. The pilot is dead but they manage to get the ship going. After that it’s just highly disappointing.
The look of the space ship changes. The voices of the astronauts change. The Russian no longer has an accent. There are no more scenes with actors in them where you can see any faces. There are major continuity errors and there is a reason for that. Production on the movie began in 1967. Production stopped before the film was completed. The popular presumption was lack of funds. The rights were eventually purchased and completed in 1972. By then there were no more original sets, costumes or actors and no more ending so… it looks like they made one up.
The additional scenes were done by stand-ins. Someone suggested that the two stand-ins on the Russian ship are actually two dudes. I don’t know the scenes are dark. Could be. Not only is the Russian lady’s accent gone, she’s now a guy? There’s also lots of stock footage from “The Wizard of Mars”. (so much so that David Hewitt got a credit for effects and he wasn’t hired for the movie.) Also used was stock footage from “Gorath” as well as NASA footage from Mercury and Apollo missions. That in itself is OK. I expect stock footage. What I don’t expect is added footage that is supposed to (A.) Add time to the movie so they do everything really slowly and (B.) Add an ending that is not really an ending. Add to that bad editing and you end up sitting there going what happened? I mean the movie wasn’t that good to begin with. Now it’s just frustrating. I’m OK with not good, I’m not OK with frustrating.
Who’s in this movie? Grant Williams, Ruta Lee, Bobby Van, Mala Powers, Henry Wilcoxon, and Denny Miller with cameos by Casey Kasem and Mike Farrell. A really strange mix but I’m OK with that too.
If you like really bad movies, or you worship any of the above people who are in the movie, or you are a masochist, or even if you are dying of curiosity. Then you might like “The Doomsday Machine”. Otherwise, I suggest you skip this one. Just remember everything from when the two astronauts enter the Russian ship to the final credits are not part of the original script or movie and were filmed 5 years after the original movie stopped production.