Saturday, June 13, 2009

Message From Space (1978)

It was the winter of 1978. Many new movies were being promoted and we were all excited to see them. It seemed like a golden age for science fiction. The year before brought us Star Wars
( I refuse to call it episode 4, a new hope as it was simply Star Wars when I saw it), and coming soon to the theater would be Battlestar Galactica, The boys from Brazil, Dawn of the dead, Invasion of the body snatchers, Superman, Attack of the killer tomatoes and this wonderful gem, Message from Space. And yes I was 12 and saw all of these in the theater. I don't think people cared as much back then or were just ambivalent to the ratings system.
I can't remember the exact date that I convinced my older brother to take me to see this but I am pretty sure it was very early in the year. I suspect the distributers wanted to be ahead of the pack in the hopes of getting a few dollars.
It was a wet night, our car ran out of gas and My brother had to walk to a gas station to get a bucket of gas. We didn't have a funnel so we used a newspaper... We get to the theater 10 minutes late and missed the best part of the experience, the trailers. It is probably the worst film I have ever had the pleasure of seeing on the big screen but I still want a copy of it. If you look closely at the images below you will get an idea of the experience. It is considered to be the most blatant rip off of Star Wars ever but has some unique elements as well like rocket propelled sailing ships.
It has a white clad princess, a super fortress flyby at the start, rogue pilots that act, well, roguish, plucky little robots and a climatic battle where we fly through a tunnel and blow up a planet, all the while having the proto-visual style of later productions from japan like Power Rangers. It also starred Sonny Chiba of all people.
I have a feeling I might have a little more appreciation for it this time around.

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