Walt Jaschek gets killed by crazed miners in Colorado! Walt appeared as the doomed nebbish Harold Pilgrain in the 1984 indy action movie “Planet Gone Mad,” also known by its original title, “Spirits of Jupiter.” Filmed in and around Canon City, Colorado, the movie was directed by Russell S. Kern, with cinematography by Steve Flanigan. Hollywood stuntman Rex Cutter played the film’s hero, Big Jim Drill. Character actor Walt had a few scenes with Rex, his airplane, and the crazy miners who are compelled to kill. Walt did own stunts, including jumping out of that moving airplane, as you will see. Here are the full IMDB credits.
And now, that review.
“Jupiter Filled With Violence”
From the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, Friday, March 2, 1984
By Linda D. Smith
GT Features Writer
CANON CITY – The residents of this city turned our Thursday night for the premiere of “Spirits of Jupiter,” a film starring many of their friends and neighbors.
Rocky Mountain Studios and Producers Group Ltd., a Colorado Springs production company, filmed the movie in Canon City and surrounding Fremont County last year, relying on the local residents for talent and local scenery for backdrops.
Written and directed by Russell S. Kern of Colorado Springs, “The Spirits of Jupiter” takes the predictions of 16th century philosopher Nostradamas and applies them to 1984. In particular, Kern has taken the idea if the planets Jupiter and Saturn were to align, the result would be a gravitational pull that would wreak havoc on the people of Earth.
The story line has given the film makers a great deal of latitude in creating a fill full of violence.
In one scene after another, viewers see a bloody headless corpse, a man’s eyeball ripped from the socket by a crazed dog, and friends turning against neighbors with guns, knives and meat cleavers.
The story follows mine owner Big Jim Drill, played by Rex Cutter, who is spared the ravages of the gravitational pull. His first interest is in keeping his mine open, until things get so out of hands, he becomes more concerned about the survival of his family. The movie is filled with some very colorful and talented characters, including a modern-day Nostradamas, played by Richard Luna, Drill’s airplane mechanic, portrayed by Cliff Willis, and the fidgety mine supervisor, played by Walter Jaschek.
The roles of Dril’s son and daughter and filled by two Colorado Springs residents. Handsome Chopper Burnet, a drama student at Colorado College, portrays Drill’s son Robert with a great deal of finesse. Carol Engel, a regular performer at the Iron Springs Chateau, plays Jennifer Drill.
And when it comes to villains, James Aerni’s portrayal of police chief Julius Switcher rivals any melodrama house in the area. In the movie, when Switcher first succumbs to the gravitational pull, he gets the most sinister gleam in his eye when he takes off his boot and begins playing a game of Russian roulette with his toes.
Steven R. Flanigan of Colorado Springs, who is the director photography, has made tremendous use of the Canon City area in filming “Spirits of Jupiter.” The action sequences are well done and use a variety of vehicles, from cars and motorcycles to airplanes and helicopters. But Flanigan is best in the aerial sequences, capturing the beautiful countryside on film. Thursday night’s audience at the Skyline Theatre in Canon City seemd to relish seeing themselves and their friends on the big screen.
Colorado Springs residents will get to see and critique the film at its only performance here, at 4:30 p.m. March 9 at the Cooper Theatre. Tickets are $4 in advance from Budget Tapes and Records, Independent Records, big Apple Tapes and Records, or at the door.