The spaceship Atlas is sent on a voyage to Saturn. The trip is estimated to take five and a half years. On board is a crew of eight led by Captain Lofton (Adam West). When the abandoned ship returns sooner than expected, and with her log book missing, an investigation is launched to find out what happened to her crew. In charge of the investigation is Commander Nivens (David Wiley).

Dr. Janet Trask (Camille Mitchell) is a powerful psychic. Electrodes are implanted in her so that her visions can be monitored by computer. It is her job to do a psychic reconstruction of what happened on the Atlas. On another ship Janet’s visions and vital signs are being recorded. Janet boards the empty Atlas alone. At first her visions are flashes of various images. Some of the images are of the crew’s visions from a machine called “The Pleasure Center”. It is a chair that taps into the brain’s pleasure center giving the user a realistic euphoric dream. The crew uses it as a way to escape the monotony of space travel.

Eventually the visions that Janet sees are those of the final days when an explosion disables one of the engines and the ship loses fuel. To add to their worries communication with Earth is lost and the ship is off course. They determine that they don’t have enough fuel to make to Saturn and back. Their circumstances get even worse when they determine that in order to make it back to Earth, they need to get rid of excess weight. Slowly the crew’s psychological makeup begins to break down and they resort to a game of chance to decide who lives and who dies.

“Warp Speed” was released in 1981 and was directed by Allan Sandler. It is a low budget made for TV science fiction movie. The movie was produced by Allan Sandler and Robert Emenegger. Emenegger made a bunch of these low budget sci-fi films in the early eighties. Quite often he used the same sets or actors for most of them.

Strangely I found the movie both fascinating and boring at the same time. The story concept was interesting and some of the execution of it was good but some of the chronology was confusing. The film was also slow in spots and somewhat repetitive at times. There are some plot devises that didn’t make a lot of sense like throwing people out but keeping the table and chairs so you can play your poker game of death. The film is also a study of how people react under prolonged psychological stress conditions and the tedium of space travel when combined with close association with different personality types.

The budget was small so the special effects are not impressive. I myself didn’t have a problem with that. There are a lot of movies I like despite low budgets but some may have an issue with it.

Crewman David Ingalls is played by Barry Gordon. Gordon did the voice of Donatello for the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. Camille Mitchell, who plays Janet and Channing Mitchell AKA Cameron Mitchell Jr. who plays Jack Quantell are the children of actor Cameron Mitchell.