Friday, July 31, 2015

Starship Invasions





Special thanks to Jason who reminded me to look for this film.

I am still working my way through science fiction movies posted on YouTube.

Boy did I find a gem the other night. Then again I suppose that might depend on your definition of "gem."

It's called Starship Invasions. From 1977, the movie apparently had a theatrical release, but I remember seeing it as a TV movie. Even at a young age I knew it sucked, but I just couldn't quite tear myself away as it gave off that Star Wars vibe that I couldn't resist. Still can't.

The plot concerns aliens called The Legion of the Winged Serpent. They are led by Captain Rameses (played by the late, great Christopher Lee) in search of a new home as the star their own planet orbits is nearing the end of its life. The Legion conducts a series of abductions of humans and determines that Earth is indeed a suitable new harbor. Indeed, it appears that the Legion is descended from humans transplanted thousands of years ago. There's a problem for those who bear the standard of the Winged Serpent, however. That problem is called the League of Races.

Except the League seems to be composed of only one race: guys with small ears, black eyes, and big, bald heads from Zeta Reticulai. Yes, they resemble the Grays but are far more benign in action and demeanor. They conduct their observations on Earth from a pyramid beneath the Bermuda Triangle and caution Rameses and the Legion to have no interaction with humans. Anyway, Rameses sabotages the one of the League's saucers and it gets shot down by an American missile. As the League goes to retrieve their downed saucer, Rameses and his crew slaughter everyone in the base and then send for their own invasion fleet to track down the sole League saucer that managed to escape the base unharmed.

Meanwhile, the Legion deploys its "extermination device," a broadcast beam that manipulates humans into committing murders and suicides (as an aside, I remember all of content about suicide, especially scenes with families, to be a bit daunting for me at age seven. Kinda heavy for a science fiction flick of the time.) None of this escapes the notice of one man the world really doesn't want to listen to: a UFO investigator played by Robert Vaughn. The Grays are sure interested in him, though. The few that remain after the slaughter tap Vaughn's character to help them resist the onslaught of the Legion of the Winged Serpent. Space battles ensue, but will the Earth endure?

First of all, this isn't a good film. Not in terms of acting, not in terms of production value, but it does have entertaining moments with Star Wars-like space opera and a few hot space babes. While that is cheap fun, what really kept me enthralled was the sheer amount of UFO lore infused with the story. There is more UFO content in this than there is in Close Encounters of the Third Kind...and I love CE3K. But just take a look at everything Starship Invasions has in addition to basic UFO sightings:

Ancient aliens.
Beings capable of telepathy.
New Age views that there are "space brothers" looking out for humanity.
Alien abductions
Analysis of reproductive cells (highlighted in an especially humorous sequence when a poor, simple man is abducted for mating purposes.)
Zeta Reticulai and Grays (sorta).
A reproduction of the map that Betty Hill was shown during her abduction.
Undersea bases and UFOs that travel beneath the water
The Bermuda Triangle
Pyramids (one alien reports that it was the League that built the Great Pyramid at Giza.)
UFOs siphoning power from electrical plants.
There are silver robots in the undersea base that, of course, speak in monotone. Except that their design is almost dead-on for the Pascagoula entity.

All it needs is a few saurians to complete the UFO bouillabaisse. It might not have ended up being the greatest science fiction movie, but somebody really knew what they were doing on the UFO front. That alone was fun for me to watch and keep score at home. Not so sure the same would work for anybody else.

I would, however, enjoy seeing it handled by MST3K.


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