Ha ha!

You just never know what he'll review next!

Saturday 8 October 2011

Burl reviews Starship Invasions! (1977)

Hi, Burl here with some science fiction for you! Ha ha, this crazy movie is called Starship Invasions, and it’s all about a battle of the UFOs! What a great opening scene the movie has: a chunky Mennonite farmer in overalls and a Sudbury dinner jacket watches a flying saucer land in the field right in front of him! He gets zapped by a blue ray and taken into the craft, where he gets brutally raped by a beautiful naked alien girl!

Later a sheriff asks him what took place when he was alone in the room with the naked lady, and he answers “I do vhut you do vhen alone in room vith naked lady!” “You mean you had sexual intercourse with this woman?” the astounded sheriff asks! “I chore did!” chuckles the farmer in fond recollection of his otherworldy tryst! Ha ha!

Soon, UFO scientist Robert Vaughan, well-known from The Towering Inferno, gets involved in the investigation; but quickly the focus changes to the main bad guy: the leader of the UFO people, Captain Ramses! He’s played by none other than the great Christopher Lee, renowned from The Virgin of Nunemburg, and he appears to be wearing his own product on his head, complete with reservoir tip! He communicates by telepathy, which is fortunate because it probably allowed Lee to feel just a modicum less silly while making the movie! Or at least he could divide his humiliation into two parts, visual and voiceover!

Anyway, Captain Ramses wants to take over the Earth, but thankfully some good aliens keep a starbase under the sea, and so we get a whole bunch of sci-fi intrigue and some great UFO battles! The good aliens recruit Robert Vaughan and his computer science buddy to help out, and meanwhile the bad aliens are causing mass waves of suicide across the world, starting with the farmer we saw at the beginning! It’s all faithfully reported by the Toronto Star!

You know how every time there’s a movie about making movies, and the movie-within-the-movie is supposed to be sort of goofy, they show scenes from it and it's usually a low-budget science fiction film that’s so crazily cartoonish that it seems like an anachronistic exaggeration? (Albert Brooks’ Modern Romance comes to mind as a good example!) Well, that’s this film! From the crazy alien outfits and the awesome sets to the mind control and the toy saucers, this is low-budget sci-fi silliness crystallized into absolute perfection! The consistently high level of earnest camp outrageousness actually becomes a little exhausting as the movie goes along!

It was shot by the portly cinematographer Mark Irwin, who filmed a bunch of David Cronenberg movies, so it actually looks pretty good for a Canadian cheapie from the tax shelter days! And the cast is great too – Vaughan, Lee, Helen Shaver, Daniel Pilon from Malpertuis, and of course the guy who played the farmer! There’s also a heroic robot who saves the day for the good aliens and the entire earth, and the climax involves Christopher Lee dolefully steering his UFO into the moon! Ha ha, spoiler alert I guess!

I give Starship Invasions two reservoir tips, mainly for its pluck and great ambition, and several hearty laughs for everything else! Watch the movie if you can get you hands on it – Burl so commands! Ha ha! 

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