On Borrowed Time: Trancers

Siskoid Cinema presents... On Borrowed Time, the shows that explores time travel in movies. On this episode, Siskoid and Rolled Spine's Diabolu Frank discuss 1984's Trancers, a B-movie that only SOUNDS like it's ripping off The Terminator, just in time for its 40th Anniversary this May. Join us for a trip into movie history for all the details!

Listen to the episode below, or subscribe to FW Team-Up on Apple or Spotify!

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK!

Subscribe via Apple Podcasts as part of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK.

Bonus clips: "Trancers" by Charles Band, starring Tom Thomerson, Brad Logan, Richard Herd, Helen Hunt, and Biff Manard; "Trancers Opening Credits" by Mark Ryder and Phil Davies.

Thanks for leaving a comment!

4 responses to “On Borrowed Time: Trancers

  1. This was great! I loved getting the extra info on the sequels (which I realize, I have never seen, which sounds like a good thing) and going over some of the similarities between this movie and other sci-fi flicks it lifted a few ideas from…allegedly.

    I am pretty sure my first time watching this was as a VHS rental when I was a kid. My mom would always take me to the video store where she would get a movie for her and my dad to watch, and then I would get to pick one for myself. I had already seen Superman 2 a dozen times, so she made me look for something new, and the cover artwork of this one caught my eye, so I snatched it off the shelf. I remember my mother had to make sure it wasn’t Scanners with the kid at to register before she signed off on it because she felt like I was too young to see heads explode. Meanwhile, this is the same lady who took me to see Poltergeist in the theater. Oh, I can’t see a head explode but I can be haunted for years by clown dolls, trees with branches too close to my window, and televisions? I was 8 Ma!

    Anyway, I loved this movie and probably watched it regularly between the ages of 9 and 15. At that time I actually preferred this film to the first Terminator. Probably because Trancers was less horror and more action. Jack Deth was easily one of my earliest movie heroes. Connecting him to Ash in Army of Darkness and Jack Burton from Big Trouble, other characters from films I watched way too many times as a young teen, made so much sense. And really, they could even be considered shades of Han Solo. Characters who are overconfident, brash, and probably fail more than they succeed. They almost save the day in spite of themselves. Which, in contrast to the heroes in films from my father’s generation, must have made for a very interesting thesis that probably exists somewhere.

    Although, to be fair to my dad, he was always more interested in the flawed heroes himself. Paul Newman in Hombre, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, William Holden in Stalag 17. All characters I was much more familiar with as a child that any square-jawed hero from the 50s. Now that I think of it, with my dad’s penchant for those kind of protagonists, and my mother’s love of horror, it’s no wonder I dug Trancers as much as I did. This pod is really unlocking some deep hidden truths about myself and I suddenly have the urge to lay down on a couch and talk about my recurring dreams and my fear of British children singing.

    lastly, I remember Peter David having a hand in the screenplay of one or perhaps two of the sequel’s and writing about it in his column, But I Digress. I think he focused more on his time on set; they shot somewhere in Eastern Europe and I think that experience stuck with him. He also made a few Quantum Leap jokes in The Hulk back then, so that tracks. Time is a flat circle indeed.

    Anyway, I am glad you covered this. A fun gem of a B-Movie that neatly fits into this series and it was a wonderful surprise to see it being covered. Thanks to you and Frank for doing it.

  2. As much as I hoped to scratch this itch on somebody else’s hour-long, I probably won’t be able to suppress the urge to go deeper into the franchise closer to the anniversary date on my own time. Peter David wrote the 4th & 5th Trancer installments, as well as a sci-fi western for Full Moon. They’re fairly inessential, especially the second half, but then so is anything else Trancers. I was also reading PAD’s CBG column in this period, and now I wonder if it’s in the reprint collection. I suspect that all those feet of clay types were reflections of the observed reality of all those square-jawed mid-century projections.

    1. It was in the reprint I had picked up. I think i picked it up from his table at a convention back in the 90s. I’m not sure if there was more than one reprint.

  3. It’s been forever since I’ve seen Trancers. Most likely I rented it on home video. I don’t think I’ve seen any of the sequels, though.

    I do remember The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything. I loved Mork and Mindy and watched it mainly because of Pam Dawber. That concept is ripe for updating, but maybe not if it would be compared with a subgenre of porn movies.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *