Starship Invasions

Tagged: Film

Film (1977; vt Project Genocide UK). Warner Brothers. Produced and directed by Ed Hunt. Written by Hunt. Cast includes Christopher Lee, Helen Shaver and Robert Vaughan. 89 minutes. Colour.

A small fleet of UFOs led by Captain Rameses (Lee) arrives at Earth searching for a new home for their race; their own planet Alpha's star is about to go supernova. After abducting some Earth people, Rameses's force, the Legion of the Winged Serpent, finds that his people are descendants of humans transported to Alpha ages ago. The Legion plans to eliminate humanity with a device broadcasting a signal about the world that will cause mass suicide. They are opposed by a second group of Aliens: the Intergalactic League of Races from the Zeta Reticuli system, operating from a secret Earth base Under the Sea. Rameses abducts UFO expert Professor Allan Duncan (Vaughn) – apparently based on real-life UFO investigator J Allen Hynek – to help him in their plans.

After several battles with the League, both on Earth and in space, the Legion's device is activated, but quickly destroyed by the League's teams. Many nevertheless commit suicide during its period of operation, including Duncan's wife Betty (Shaver). Rameses receives confirmation that his world's sun has gone supernova; he crashes his flying saucer into the Moon, destroying himself. Duncan has previously been rescued from the vessel by the friendly League aliens, who return him to Earth and use their highly-advanced knowledge of Medicine to revive Betty. Others who committed suicide presumably remain dead.

Starship Invasions is risibly inept and perhaps the worst film Lee ever starred in; he reportedly says he was misled about its quality when he agreed to the project. It exploited the renewed contemporary US interest in UFOs and took advantage of the impending Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), which it beat into theatres by a few months. [GSt]

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