So the other day I was reading through this old review guide to horror & sci-fi movies, and I found an intriguing entry. Called “The Aries Computer,” it was from the early 1970s and starred Vincent Price. Now, I thought I had heard of every Vincent Price movie—but not this one.
I hopped on YouTube to see if there might be a clip from the film. There wasn’t. I went on IMDB—there was an entry, so it did exist (I thought).
But precious few other info was available. Most notably—and suspiciously—there were no images in Google for the flick. There was also no Wikipedia entry, and no entry within the site’s Vincent Price filmography. (there was an entry in Italian Wikipedia, however—I’ll get to that mystery, as well as the IMDB thing, in a second.)
By this point…I’m starting to believe that maybe this movie actually didn’t exist.
Now I do a deeper online search, and come across a few obscure message boards with the vital info I’m looking for. And lo and behold: The Aries Computer indeed was never made!
According to a user on the lost films board NitrateVille, the film was part of a proposed package from a production company called Gold Key Entertainment. Twelve TV-movies would be made in all—based on the signs of the zodiac. (well, Cancer was switched out in favor of the Moon—go figure.)
These zodiac-themed movies would star the cream of the crop of early Seventies TV & genre films, including Adam West, Martin Landau, Joan Collins, and, of course, Vincent Price.
But they were never made.
And yet—the book that initially started off this little journey for me gave an actual review for the movie. The author (who will, as of this writing, remain nameless) said it was terrible!
So I go through the rest of the book and find more reviews for these Gold Key zodiac movies. And so now I’m like:
If he made up these reviews for movies that did not exist…how many flicks did he actually watch for this book?
Well, here is what most likely happened:
The Gold Key zodiac movie info—probably no more than the image I’ve included in this post—was given to one or more of the major film reference books at the time. These were those gigantic and rather boring-looking volumes you might have found in your local library many moons (or many Cancers) ago.
This was back, of course, in an era where you couldn’t just type in “The Aries Computer” in Google to find out if it ever was produced or not. So follow-up was never done on these movies, but rather they were included into the reference book(s) as if they were eventually completed and broadcast.
Those big reference books were then used by authors and researchers to base their work on—and that includes the author of the review I read.
Apparently, the IMDB also used some form of those reference tomes as a “foundation” for their listings of more obscure films. Since The Aries Computer had an entry on such a prestigious site as the IMDB, it was assumed it was really produced. Then other sites—like Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes—also replicated the (erroneous) information.
And, of course, Italian Wikipedia.
I have to note here that The Aries Computer—a film that does not exist—currently has a 6.3 average star rating on IMDB, based on the ratings of 18 users. That is only .4 less than Demolition Man…a film that does exist.