Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-02-19

Battle Beyond the Stars
Roger Corman’s SF Opus Magnum

This Sunday’s “Tales From SYL Ranch” (which is live 20:00-22:00 UTC on aNONradio.net) is a “reaction show” — but not the kind you think.

One of my favorite indie film companies, Red Letter Media, does a show called “Best Of the Worst“.  The premise is that four of them watch three terrible movies. They then have a round-table discussion where they dissect the awfulness in detail.

(Red Letter Media is responsible for the Plinkett Reviews. If you haven’t watched them, set aside about three hours for the Star Wars reviews. It’s a ride-and-a-half.  Your brain will love you for the rest of your life.)

“Best Of the Worst” is not RiffTrax. They train a camera on themselves and talk during the film, but they don’t include it in the show unless it’s particularly amusing. Instead, they just dissect terrible movies.

They’re really terrible. They’re not so bad they’re good … they’re just bad.

Usually, they’re just stultifyingly boring.  I should know: I saw most of them when they came out.

Because I’m an old man.  And not a fake old man like Mr. Plinkett, but a real old man like Abe Vigoda.

Space Raiders
A plot revolving around re-used special effects.

I generally agree with their reviews, however in the last episode they went wildly off the mark.  They reviewed a “film” called Space Raiders. This was a Roger Corman production.

If you’re not familiar with him, Corman is a well-known Hollywood producer/director who has about a thousand schlock films to his credit.

In 1980, he released a film called Battle Beyond the Stars. It had a real budget with real effects and real models. They weren’t up to Star Wars standards, but for a Corman film it was an Opus Magnum.

Corman being Corman, he then went on to use the music and visual effects in multiple films during the 1980s.

He shamelessly ripped-off the effects shots. He put them in over and over.

Space Rangers was a film written around a bunch of special effects.

Not having seen Battle Beyond the Stars, the RLM crew were impressed. This much money was astonishing for Corman.

What they didn’t know was that the only new shots in Space Rangers were a few matte paintings.

The Boob Ship
The “Boob Ship” was designed by James Cameron!

Battle Beyond the Stars has an interesting score. It was composed by Maestro James Horner.

It sounds like a strange cross between Star Trek – The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I think Corman told Horner he wanted something that sounded like Jerry Goldsmith.

You can easily see why Star Trek II director Nicholas Meyer was attracted to Horner.

The score is one of the most track-complete in my collection. There are different takes, alternate music never used, and some that’s in crappy mono.

In fact, the score is so complete that it runs longer than the length of the show. I’ve had to pull a few tracks — but nothing that really takes away from your enjoyment.

So Sunday, with limited interruption, is the entire score for Battle Beyond the Stars.

(There’s one political rant, though this time a reading of Scott Adams’ blog, “Imaginary News.”)

Join us on “Tales From SYL Ranch” 20:00-22:00 UTC on aNONradio.net to find out what happens when Roger Corman has James Horner money!


Note to Red Letter Media:

When are you going to screen the copies of 1974’s The Wrestler and Alongside Night that I sent you?  As always, my expertise in terrible movies remains at your disposal.

About William Stone

“No human being has the right — under ANY circumstances — to initiate
force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its
initiation.”