Across the Eighth Dimension is the most famous of all Buckaroo Banzai's adventures. It is the adventure where he fought Red Lectroids led by an evil Lord John Whorfin and saved the world from nuclear destruction. It is also an adventure where Buckaroo met Penny Priddy and recruited New Jersey.
This adventure was depicted in the movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension directed by W. D. Richter and written by Earl Mac Rauch and also in The Novel by Earl Mac Rauch.
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A night before Jet Car test, Buckaroo watches and old reel he had shot from unsuccessful and tragic 1955 Experiment, when his parents died after an explosion caused by a crude incendiary device planted inside the car. Next day, he will recreate the experiment to prove, that a man can really pass through solid matter.
On June 12, very early in the morning, Buckaroo is called to El Paso hospital where he helps his friend from Columbia P and S, Sidney Zwibel with a brain surgery of an Eskimo kid. After the surgery, Buckaroo offers Sid to become a full time member of Banzai Institute.
Meanwhile in the desert, everything is made ready for a Jet Car test and everybody is waiting for Buckaroo. The event is attended by General Catburd, Senator Cunningham and Secretary of Defense. They are there, because President thinks there might be military applications of the Jet Car. They do not know about the real Jet Car test.
Buckaroo arrives and gets into the car. He puts on a headband, and takes out an OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER from his briefcase. He puts it into a gyro cradle and gets ready. Soon the Jet Car starts and he is accelerating quickly. Inside the bunker, everyone is excited, that Jet Car works, but members of Team Banzai are waiting for phase two. Professor Hikita watches his OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER console. Suddenly the Jet Car breaks away from its course and heads for the mountains. People in the bunker, who do not know about phase two panic, but Team Banzai is waiting for the results of the real Jet Car test. A ray shoots from the Jet Car towards the mountain, interacting with its partiles, and the Jet Car disappears inside the mountain.
Display on Professor Hikita's OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER console reads CROSSOVER. Buckaroo is in the eighth dimension. He travels through there, seeing strange things and encountering strange creatures. All this lasts only for a short time and soon Buckaroo and his Jet Car appears on the other side of the mountain. People in the bunker are excited, because the have just seen something really incredible. Buckaroo stops the Jet Car and gets off. He examines the car and finds strange substance on the windshield and a parasite attached to the drive shaft.
In Trenton, in a home for criminally insane, John Whorfin in the body of Emilio Lizardo watches the TV, where they show the experiment over and over and they also interview Team Banzai. John Whorfin has a flashback to Princeton experiment, in which Lizardo and Hikita broke the barrier to the eighth dimension.
Since there is a working OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER, Whorfin decides to get away from mental hospital and visit his subordinate Red Lectroids at Yoyodyne. He instructs John Bigbooté to get an overthruster or at least get Hikita.
The day does not end yet, for Buckaroo, since he still has work to do. In the evening, he and his Hong Kong Cavaliers have to play a gig at Artie's Artery in New Jersey. They start playing and the audience is enjoying their music, but suddenly Buckaroo stops and asks if there is somebody crying. There is. It is Penny, who is out of money and has nowhere to go. Buckaroo decides to sing her Since I Don't Have You. During this song, Penny reaches for a small gun with the intention of killing herself, but someone bounces to her, so the shot goes up to ceiling. She is taken away (presumably by the police).
Next day, Team Banzai discuss Lizardo's escape in World Watch One (buss used y Team Banzai as mobile home) while travelling to the police station. In front of the station is Sidney Zwibel, to whom Perfect Tommy and Reno give a nickname New Jersey. Buckaroo and Perfect Tommy go into police station to see Penny. Buckaroo is taken away by how much she looks like Peggy. It is explained by the fact that Penny is Peggy's twin and was adopted, because her family was thought to have died during a fire.
Buckaroo takes Peggy with him to the bus and they move to the press conference concerning the Jet Car experiment. During the conference, Buckaroo gets a telephone call. It is a call from Nova police (they pretend it is a call from the President) and when Buckaroo gets a receiver, they send an electric shock to Buckaroo, transfering to him some information and also ability to see Lectroids i their true form.
Buckaroo writes something on his had and rushes back to the press conference where he sees John O'Connor and John Gomez and shouts at them. They run away, Buckaroo following after them. From behind the curtain behind Professor Hikita appears John Bigbooté and kidnaps professor and also shoots Reno in the shoulder. The Lectroids get away, but Buckaroo follows them on a borrowed motocycle.
Meanwhile, Thermopod is released from Nova police mothership. It flies over two duck hunters who shoot at it. It crashlands on a tree. Duck hunters follow thermopod to the crash site. Lectroids in the car receive signal from Thermopod and also get to crash site. They find duck hunters and John Valuk, who is dead because he fell on his head. John Parker however escapes and rushes towards Banzai Institute. Buckaroo also arrives at the crash site, gets to Yoyodyne van and releases professor Hikita. He gives professor the formula he got from Nova police and sends him to the Institute on the motorcycle. Buckaroo then witnesses Lectroids killing the duck hunters and trying to break into thermopod. John Gant, who is still trapped inside thermopod destroys himself.
Lectroids discover Buckaroo and start pursuing him. He is however rescued by Scooter and Casper Lindley with a helicopter. They get back to Banzai institute where the rest of the Team Banzai are investigating Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. The Team discovers that all employees are named John and registered for social security at the same day, the day of broadcast of Orson Welles' The War of the Worlds which depicted aliens landing in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. Team Banzai realize that it was not only a radio drama but that aliens really arrived then and there.
John Parker gets to the Banzai institute and gives his package to Pinky Carruthers who has gate duty that day. The package contains hologram disc with a message from John Emdall who explains the situation to the team. Red Lectroids with their master John Whorfin are trying to get back to Planet 10 through the eight dimension and Nova Police will rather destroy the planet then let it happen, they would disrupt all Earth communication and fire a particle beam weapon at Smolensk, which would start a nuclear war. However, Buckaroo can try stopping John Whorfin and save the world from destruction.
John Bigbooté, John Gomez and John O'Connor, annoyed that they lost professor Hikita, arrive to Banzai Institute to try to get OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER. They jump over the fence but are seen by John Parker, who follows after them. He loses tem when he is inside and is found by institute security and brought to Buckaroo.
Three Red Lectroids meanwhile explore the institute. They kill Sam at the garage using poisoned barb and get to the building. They get to lab, where professor Hikita prepares a potion, that enables people seeing Lectroids as they are, and sees them. He panics and runs away with OVERTHRUSTER and gives it to Penny, so that Lectroids do ot get it. The team and Lectroids chase each other through the building. Lectroids shoot Rawhide with another poisoned barb and they capture Penny but do not know she has the OVERTHRUSTER. They get away.
The team realizes they now have even bigger problem. They contact the president to inform him about Nova police and the danger. They decide to attack Yoyodyne. President sends his secretary of defense to assist them.
The Lectroids try to get informations about OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER from Penny, but she does not know anything. They send her to the pitt and call Buckaroo to negotiate about exchange, Penny against Buckaroo and OVERTHRUSTER. Buckaroo comes to the Yoyodyne and is tortured at the Shock Tower to solve Whorfin's equations. However, he does not surrender.
The secretary of defense enters Yoyodyne and demands to speak to Bigbooté. He finds Bigbooté in the pitt. Bigbooté leaves and secretary of defense finds the OVERTHRUSTER in Penny's purse. He leaves Penny in the pitt.
The Team Banzai attacks Yoyodyne. When Whorfin sees that Lectroids are losing, he decides to try to break to the eight dimension using his own OVERTHRUSTER in a panther ship. He leaves and Buckaroo with John Parker follow him to the Panther ship. The ship takes of but since their OVERTHRUSTER is bad, they do not get to the eight dimension, but only above New Jersey.
Inside the panther ship, Whorfin and Bigbooté argue and their dispute ends with Bigbooté being shot by Whorfin. Buckaroo and John Parker find themselves in a small module that resembles thermopods. Whorfin knows they infiltrated his ship, so he greets them and releases the module. While they are falling, Buckaroo discovers that the module flies like a truck and is able to stop the fall and follow the Panther ship. With John Parker they start shooting at the ship and they manage to destroy it. Buckaroo then gets back to hi team using a parachute and John Parker flies back to his ship.
On the ground, Scooter Lindley takes the OVERTHRUSTER from the secretary of defense. New Jersey with other Cavaliers take Penny from the pitt to World Watch One. When Buckaroo lands, he finds Penny in the bus and they kiss.
Differences between Film and BookEdit
The original film does not mention Hanoi Xan at all. Hanoi Xan is mentioned in alternate opening – a short home film from Buckaroo's parents' experiment, narrated by Rawhide – and in some cut scenes. In one of them John Whorfin wonders who Xan is. However in the book it is Xan who gets Whorfin out of the madhouse.
Nova Police members are called Black Lectroids in the film and Adders in the book.
The reason why we see Lectroids as people is different in the book and in the movie. However, neither of them makes sense.
In the book when Whorfin tries to get to eight dimension with his overthruster, Emilio Lizardo escapes the eighth dimension and Whorfin gets Lectroid body.
It is Mrs. Johnson who rescues Penny in the book. In the film she is found by Buckaroo and New Jersey. Buckaroo then runs after the Panther ship and New Jersey takes Penny to the bus.
In the film Penny is thought to be dead and wakes up after ionized Buckaroo touches her. In the book she is never thought to be dead.
In the book, Mrs. Johnson finds surgical scars on Penny's neck. Those are explained in Against the World Crime League.
The book explains a lot more of Buckaroo's world than the film.