Hyper Space (1989)

So, yeah. Roger Corman made Battle Beyond the Stars, then recycled the sets, the models, the costumers, and the effects shots into Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World, and Space Raiders, then lent it all out to Fred Olen Ray to make Star Slammer (1986). Sadly, ol’ Roger didn’t loan it all out to Silver Star Film Company . . . uh, oh . . . not the same Philippine purveyors of all manner of ’80s post-apoc and Rambo ripoffs by the likes of Jun Gallardo and Teddy Chiu? They actually tried to do a Star Wars-cum-Alien knockoff?

Yes. It’s true. Teddy Chiu’s — aka Page, aka Ted Johnson, aka Irvin Johnson (you know the aka-drill with Philippine auteurs) — Silver Star Films made the Kessel Run with director Carribou Seto, aka David Hue, aka David Huey (his credit for Hyper Space).

Oh, man. A Philippine Star Wars? Roll the tape!

Thanks, Paul! We can always count on you for a clean JPEG of an obscure VHS cover.

So . . . as in the Ridley Scott-James Cameron-verse, and as in William Malone’s superior, four years earlier rip, Creature (1985), space is run by a ne’er-do-well corporation in the 21st Century who sends out Dark Star-styled crews in long-range vessels to — instead of blowing unstable planets to harbinger colonization — dispose of Earth’s chemical pollution and nuclear waste into “hyper space,” otherwise known as “The Black Forest.”

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the ship malfunctions and wakes the crew out of their cryo-sleep and they realize they’ve drifted off course . . . and a fuel leak leaves them marooned in deep space . . . and the shuttle craft that can save them can only hold two passengers, aka “the life boat.” So, in between the Alien and Dark Star pinching, we’re also pinching ol’ Uncle Al Hitchcock’s Lifeboat, which, if you’ve been following along with our reviews during our May “Space Week,” got the Alien-remake treatment in 1981 and again in 1993 (yep, reviews are coming this week). And, wait a sec . . . since this is an an outer space “eco-message” film, we better toss Silent Running on the list. Of course, since everyone is turning on each other for those coveted shuttle seats, John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is tossed into the narrative mix.

Of course, while we love ’em: Lynn Holly Johnson ain’t no Tallulah Bankhead and Don Stroud ain’t no Humphrey Bogart. Oh, man . . . the careers this way-over-their-heads Philippine star mess destroys: Richard Norton (Equalizer 2000), Don Stroud (The Amityville Horror), and no, say it ain’t so Ron O’Neal . . . you were Superfly . . . Superfly! And Lynn? Yeah, you did The Sisterhood for Cirio H. Santiago back in 1988, but . . . oh, never mind. And for the wrestling fans — were talking at you, Paul Andolina of Wrestling With Film — we’ve got Big John Studd and Professor Toru Tanaka. And yes, that is a Van Patten brother, but not the one who portrayed Tom Roberts in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, that was Vince; we get James, here. Basically, it’s all of the actors that we get jazzed about at B&S About Movies . . . and it just hurts to see them desperate and scrounging for paychecks from Silver Star Film Company tackling, of all things, the Scott-Cameron-Lucas-verse.

Seriously. It breaks your heart. You just want to invite them all over to your house for the Thanksgiving weekend and put one of mom’s home cooked meals in their stomachs and embarrass them with your knowledge — and library — of their film careers.

The marketing and running times on Hyper Space are all over the place, with the initial U.S. VHS-versions running at 90 minutes. Then there’s two more versions: one at 81 minutes (with all of the nudity cut) and 87 minute-versions (that leave the nudity and cut the violence). Originally released in 1989, Hyper Space has been popping up in the foreign marketplace over the years as grey market DVD-Rs with the bogus “copyright” years of 1993, 1998, 1999, 2017, and 2019 under the titles Space Rangers, Space Rangers: Hyperspace, Black Forest: The Rage in Space, Black Forrest, and The Rage in Space. Oh, and don’t mix up the 1989 Philippine one with the somewhat coveted, North Carolina-shot Star Wars spoof Gremloids (1984) — which also goes by the the alternate title of Hyperspace (all one word) — written and directed by Todd Durham, who gave us the hugely successful Hotel Transylvania animated franchise.

Sadly, even with all of the grey market DVD reissues, there are no online streams nor a VHS rip of Hyper Space to share, leaving this bottom-of-the-barrel knockoff of a Corman-light Alien knockoff truly lost to the ages.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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