Stingray Sam (double feature with The American Astronaut)

Q&A with Director Cory McAbee after the double feature!

Stingray Sam  (double feature with The American Astronaut)


Stingray Sam is a cleverly made loving tribute to the serials of old (be they "cowboy" or "spaceman" ones), and a darnn funny one too. It's short, but sweet.

Kindhearted ex-robber Stingray Sam is trying to go straight. He hides from the law, working as a singer-slash-bouncer in a seedy nightclub on Mars, but the planetary economy is in decline and life is hard. Then, one day, his old pal The Quasar Kid shows up with an offer Sam cannot refuse: on a planet far, far away, a little girl is kept prisoner by an insane plutocrat. And if Stingray Sam and The Quasar Kid rescue her, their criminal records will be wiped!

Soon, these two space cowboys set out on what may be their most difficult adventure yet... Few films have me chuckling from beginning till end, but this one managed to do it. Well, except when I was laughing.

The Fifties' serial look has been recreated with obvious love, and the stark black and white photography really helps in selling it. The unique sparse sets and designs show genuine creativity and don't feel like they've been caused by a low budget. Information storage (for example) is done with bulky cumbersome devices, interfaced only through ancient coiled cables and huge plugs. Yet this is exactly what might look like science fiction in the Fifties, and this is used consistently throughout the film to set up some great jokes.

Some of the plays on well-known science fiction tropes are also very witty indeed, and even during the most ridiculous parts of the story some dry sarcasm can be felt. Exposition is often handled through paper-collage animations which (if anything) resemble Terry Gilliam's work for the Monty Python's television series. As opposed to the normal narrative, these parts are actually in color, yet instead of creating a design-clash these make the whole experience of watching an even more pleasurable one.

Don't be deceived by its cheap looks or stunning black-and-white-o-vision, Cory McAbee put more creativity and wit in his film than I've seen in ten movies twice its length and a hundred times its budget.

-A. Vijn, Twitch

Click to see "The American Astronaut" details.

Stingray Sam (double feature with The American Astronaut)

Sun October 10, 2021, 4:00 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium

Mask mandates are currently in place for campus auditoriums. Attendance will also be capped to allow for social distancing.

USA, 2009, English, B&W and Color, 61 min, Not Rated, Widescreen, 1.85:1, 35mm



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

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Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

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(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

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(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

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