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Battle Beyond the Stars - DVD - Warner Home Video Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Friday, 27 July 2012
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DVD Artwork from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema
Buy Battle Beyond the Stars from Amazon.comBuy Battle Beyond the Stars from Amazon.ca

AKA: Sador - Herrscher im Weltraum, Batalha Além das Estrelas, Batalla más allá de las estrellas, Bitka med zvezdami, Bitwa poza gwiazdami, Csata a csillagokon túl, Duel achter de sterren, I magnifici sette nello spazio, Kriget bortom stjärnorna, Les mercenaires de l'espace, Los 7 magníficos del espaci, Mercenários das Galáxias, Oi 7 yperohoi sti megali mahi tou diastimatos, Rumpiraterne, Vaarojen planeetta

Directed by:
Jimmy T. Murakami, Roger Corman
Written by:
John Sayles
Produced by:
Ed Carlin, Roger Corman
Cinematography by:
Daniel Lacambre
Editing by:
Allan Holzman
Music by:
James Horner
Special Effects by:
Frank DeMarco, Roger George, Hal Miles
Cast:
Richard Thomas, John Saxon, Sybil Danning, George Peppard, Robert Vaughn, Darlanne Fluegel.
Year:
1980
Country:
USA
Language:
English
Color:
Color
Runtime:
1h 40min

Distributor: Warner Home Video

Okay, okay!  Some of you may look at this and say, “Pah! Sci-Fi? Why, this is meant to be horror! Damn you Mr. Creepy!” and so on.  However, this film is perhaps the only "Star Wars" rip-off to feature the removal of an arm via a futuristic chainsaw (with lights on it), a severe stabbing with green blood, scar faced mutant bad guys raping a woman (only suggested but quite effective), and Sybil Danning dressed as a space fantasy dominatrix with chest valley on show.  Forget Caroline Munro in "Star Crash" folks, this is the real deal! There is a pretty horrific burning, ears bleeding, and most shocking of all, George (A Team) Peppard and John Boy Walton!  If that has given you a curious buzz then please read on.

Let it be known "Battle Beyond the Stars" is a Roger Corman film.  However, it’s a Roger Corman film with a decent budget, or at least the sort of talent who know how to make the most of a budget (It was estimated in the 2 mil region, though that could be a bit far).  James Cameron (yes that one) was also part of the FX team.

John Saxon plays Sador, the overlord of a galactic empire who takes his crew and army of scar faced and mistake like warriors, planet to planet with the intentions of enslaving the populations.  His ace card is the Steller Convertor, which is similar to the power of the Death Star only more graphic -- this baby literally cooks the planet slowly.  They arrive at Akir, a peaceful planet with a population of robe wearing crowds who don’t really know what to do in the face of such violence.  Zed, an old blind man who recalls more harsher times, loans his ship to Richard Thomas (Waltons), and a mission commences to follow producer Roger Corman’s great ideas and rip off "Seven Samurai"/"The Magnificent Seven"…

So off goes John Boy, with the company of a ship’s wise ass talking computer that sounds like Whoopie Goldberg sat in the audience in Jerry Springer’s studio.  He collects a bag of mercenaries and people who hate Sador, oh, and telepathic aliens who have no reason to come along apart from the experience.  These saviours of Akir are treated with fear by John Boy’s people at first (bear in mind, they include a mean spirited Robert Vaughn as Gelt, who is the same character he played in the Seven under the name of Lee).  Also included is a big loud lizard freak who has a tattooed sidekick and two bald headed electric fires with him (trust me on this), and there is Sybil Danning’s rather shocking tits.

They soon warm to their heroes, and after a little talk around the fire, the first attack comes.  George Peppard who plays Cowboy (!!) leads the ground force whilst John Boy takes to the stars with Gelt, the lizard, and a few others.  Here’s where the film really takes an adult turn, proving it was never really sure of its audience; we see a sonic tank that bursts eardrums so gushes of blood oozes out, and we see a hell of a wham to the guts stabbing.  After the battle comes, then there is the chainsaw arm scene (I’ll say no more).  The second attack is an epic balls to the wall space fight with many deaths and prolonged acting by John Saxon, who is a pure master in any roll he performs.  Oh, and Sybil Danning really screams at one point.

So, that’s the story.  As for the rest, I have to say that the effects are excellent for the era; decent model work, good rubber masks, great zap gunfire bolts -- the team has really taken care on this film.  The acting by all the main stars is spot on, they seem to really enjoy the material, but the under-stars let the film down; some of John Boy’s people are as wooden as Keanu Reeves.  The music by James Horner is well worth a listen to (one part has been sampled by cult NYC rap group Non Phixion on their track Futurama and was also reused in parts of Sorceress, a film with no connection to Corman I don’t think, and in "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom") and, apart from a really long drawn out section in which John Boy meets his love on a space station manned by androids,
"Battle Beyond the Stars" never slows its pace.  The horror elements work very well and help elevate what may have been just another George Lucas rip off, which it is, but it has a good script written by John Sayles who also adapted "The Howling" and "Piranha."  Additionally, this was my favourite film as a kid -- I think that answers a lot of questions. Umm...

"Battle Beyond the Stars" has been recently re-released on DVD and Blu-ray from Shout! Factory with a ton of extras but I only have an earlier German Warner Home Video DVD release (under the title Sador: Herrscher Im Weltraum) with no extras.  I advise anyone who wants to see it to get the Roger Corman Cult Classics release.

Getting back to what I said earlier about scenes being reused, I remember watching a cheap and nasty science fiction movie early in the evening back in the nineties.  It had a lot of wobbly corridors, etcetera, then suddenly lasers blasted and I recognised the effects straight away.  Apparently this was "Space Raiders" from 1983.  Now I find that some parts were recycled for "Vampirella," "Not of This Earth," "Star Portal" and even a 1983 video game called Astron Belt!  Good old Corman has his head screwed on doesn’t he?

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema


 

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema


Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Sador Herrscher im Weltraum (Battle Beyond the Stars) on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed CinemaNo 
Skull - Severed Cinema
 AUDIO: 1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed CinemaNo 
Skull - Severed Cinema
 DVD: 1 
Skull - Severed CinemaNo 
Skull - Severed CinemaNo 
Skull - Severed CinemaNo 
Skull - Severed CinemaNo 
Skull - Severed Cinema
 MOVIE: 1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed Cinema1 
Skull - Severed Cinema


 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 16:9
 Region: PAL R2
 Audio: German/English Dolby Digital mono


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - N/A

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