Laserblast (1978)

This was one of those films trying to cash in on Star Wars right after it came out.

Not that the film itself seems that much like Star Wars (although that really didn’t seem to be that important when it came to attempts to cash in).  However, the trailers did their best to emphasize the special effects, and it is hard to miss the fact that its star, Kim Milford looks an awful lot like Mark Hamill.  And, I would note, with his long, flowing blonde hair, like the Mark Hamill of the upcoming (and much hyped) Corvette Summer.

And I’m sure that wasn’t exactly a coincidence.

A boy finds an alien raygun, and, as he uses it, starts turning into an alien.  Eventually he loses control and goes on a rampage, shooting everything in sight.

And that’s about it.

Charles Band produced this one before he formed Empire Pictures, but clearly he’d already figured out what his niche in the world of cinema was going to be:  cheap, disposable films.  There really isn’t much here — certainly there isn’t enough plot to carry the film.

But where it does shine is in those moments with the aliens.  They look distinctly non-human, with a bird-like bipedal stance, have a lot of character, and their scenes mostly take place within the impressive miniature spaceship control room set.  This was David Allen‘s first film credit: he would go on to create the ED 209 for Robocop only a few years later..  He’s billed as the animator on this one, although, despite his billing, he may have just helped.  Either way, the aliens are superb.

But whether or not the handful of scenes they show up in are enough to make this one worth seeing is a question only you can answer.

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