We originally ran this article in December 2017 to commemorate the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But here at B&S About Movies, Sam would much rather discuss the films that are inspired by, well, more like completely ripoff Star Wars. So, in commemoration of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker being released this week, it’s time for a redux of Sam’s insights of the ’80s clones of Star Wars.
Message from Space: Vic Morrow and Sonny Chiba appear in what was, at the time, Japan’s most expensive film ever made. If you love space disco, well, you may want to call the day off work to enjoy this one.
The Black Hole: One of the darkest Disney movies ever — a haunted house in space that has the gateway to Hell inside, guarded by demonic robots!
Starcrash: Faith healer Marjoe Gortner, a young Hasselhoff, Caroline Munroe, Joe Spinell and a ton of stop motion rule my childhood.
Battle Beyond the Stars: The Magnificent Seven in space, featuring George Peppard, John Saxon and Sybil Danning? Is there any wonder this is one of my favorite movies of all time?
And don’t forget . . .
Star Pilot: Originally titled 2+5: Missione Hydra and released in 1966, this movie was re-released to Drive-Ins in 1977 under its new title to cash in on Star Wars.
The Last Starfighter: One of the first two movies (the other was Tron) to use extensive computer-generated imagery, with 3D-rendered models by Ron Cobb who also worked on Star Wars.
Space Mutiny: You have to see South Africa’s “Star Wars” to believe it. Cameron Mitchell! John Philip Law! Reb Brown! And it’s directed by Dave Winters of Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare fame. A must watch!
Flash Gordon: Sam J. Jones, from TV’s The Dating Game, going toe-to-toe with master thespians Max Von Sydow and Topol? Go, Flash, Go!
Galaxy of Terror: Okay, so this Roger Corman sci-fi romp is more of an Alien rip-off (see our list of those films) that shares sets with Corman’s other Alien rip, Forbidden World, about a host of our TV and horror movie favorites menaced, maimed, mutilated and molested on the planet Morgantus. Meanwhile, on the planet Xerxes, a mystical, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back-inspired dude, “The Planet Master,” with a glowing red ball of light for a head is controlling “the game” that controls Morganthus . . . or something.
So we hope you’ll join Sam as he shares his insane ramblings on these movies, some of his favorite films of all time! Sure, other people can debate midichlorians and why people have a certain color lightsabre. Who cares! It’s time to embrace the ripoff side of the force!
In addition to discussing other ripoffs in the Star Wars cannons with our Ten Star Wars Ripoffs article, you can also celebrate Christmas with the Star Wars Holiday Special. And be sure to check out our review for Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). And, since you’re in the mood . . . there’s more Alien-cum-Star Wars space monster mayhem in our “A Whole Bunch of Alien Rip-Offs at Once” list.