Starship Invasions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Starship Invasions
Starship Invasions1977.jpg
Directed by Ed Hunt
Produced by Ed Hunt
Written by Ed Hunt
Starring Robert Vaughn
Christopher Lee
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s)
  • 14 October 1977 (1977-10-14) (U.S.)
  • 25 November 1977 (1977-11-25) (Toronto)
Running time 89 minutes
Country  Canada
Language English
Budget $1 000 000[2]

Starship Invasions is a 1977 Canadian science fiction film produced by Ed Hunt and filmed in Toronto, Ontario. It was re-released in the UK as Project Genocide.


The plot concerns the black-clad Legion of the Winged Serpent, a rogue group of human-like telepathic aliens led by Captain Rameses (Christopher Lee). The Legion's home planet is about to be destroyed in the imminent supernova of its star, and Rameses is leading a small force of flying saucers to Earth to examine its suitability for their race. Performing several alien abductions, they discover they are descendants of transplanted humans, and the planet is perfect for them. They plan to make way for themselves after killing everyone through the use of a device whose signals prompt people to commit suicide.

Opposing any such plan is the Intergalactic League of Races, a highly advanced group of bald, big-headed aliens from Zeta Reticuli. The League operates a hidden observation base on Earth in the form of a golden pyramid deep beneath the ocean. Rameses lands at the base pretending to be a friendly researcher, and the League reminds him that under the Galactic Treaty he is to have no contact with humans. He is then disturbed to see a television broadcast featuring human UFO expert and astronomer Professor Allan Duncan (Robert Vaughn) discussing Rameses' abductions. He laughs it off, and indulges in the local entertainment.

Rameses' crew sabotages one of the League's saucers, which is later shot down approaching a US Army base. The League sends the rest of its ships to investigate, and Rameses and his crew kill everyone left in the base. One of the League saucers manages to return but its crew is killed in a shootout. A second destroys Rameses' own ship, but combat causes its computer to burn out and prevent further action. Rameses then calls in his fleet, in hiding behind the Moon, to hunt down the remaining League ship. He also deploys the "extermination device", an orbiting, global-scale version of the suicide device. The US armed forces discover it, but are powerless to prevent the ensuing suicide epidemic.

The surviving League ship requires repair, and decides to contact Duncan for help. He enlists the help of Malcolm, a computer expert, who repairs the ship using parts picked up in downtown Toronto. They are discovered shortly after taking off and are intercepted by one of Rameses' ships, but they shoot it down and it crashes into First Canadian Place. Duncan and Malcolm's abduction makes the front page of the Toronto Star. After repairs and refuelling they leave Earth in an attempt to enlist the help of other League ships. Malcolm's ad hoc repairs burn out shortly past the Moon, so Duncan's knowledge of the masses of the planets is put to use by Malcolm's pocket calculator to plot their course to the outer solar system.

The ship successfully reaches a League squadron, and they set out to attack the Legion. Rameses uses the computer in the League base to calculate superior strategies and begins to destroy the League ships. One of the robots in the base is only damaged, not destroyed, and re-takes command. He causes the extermination unit to destroy itself, and then directs Rameses' ships to collide with each other. His fleet destroyed, the super-weapon eliminated, and his sun gone supernova, Rameses crashes his ship into the Moon.

During the action the extermination unit had passed over Toronto, causing Duncan's wife (Helen Shaver) to slash her wrists. The League races to Duncan's home and easily revives her.

Production and release[edit]

The film had to be retitled twice. It originally was titled War of the Aliens, which closely resembled the 1977 blockbuster Star Wars. The title was changed to Alien Encounters, which resembled the 1977 blockbuster Close Encounters of the Third Kind.[3] Hal Roach Studios producers Earl A. Glick and Norman Glick bankrolled the production with $1 million.[2]

The music soundtrack was composed by Gil Mellé (Andromeda Strain).[4]

Starship Invasions was released in VHS format by Warner Home Video.[5] It was also released in 1987 on video in the United Kingdom by Krypton Force under the title Project Genocide.[6]

Its French-language title was L'invasion des soucoupes volantes.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Toronto Globe and Mail reviewer Robert Martin panned Starship Invasions, likening the film to "those dubbed Japanese movies usually seen on Saturday afternoon television".[3] It has low ratings on all major web sites[8][9] and is the subject of a Something Awful article.[10] Nevertheless, or perhaps because of this, it remains Hunt's most sought-after film.[11]


None of the aliens in this film are shown speaking, rather their voices are dubbed in to simulate telepathy. This results in lengthy periods of the characters simply staring into the camera.

Many elements of the film, including the design of the robots and the winged serpent emblem the black-clad villains wear, are taken from actual UFO accounts.[12]


  • Robert Vaughn as Professor Allan Duncan
  • Christopher Lee as Captain Rameses
  • Daniel Pilon as Anaxi
  • Tiiu Leek as Phi
  • Helen Shaver as Betty Duncan
  • Henry Ramer as Malcolm
  • Victoria Johnson as Gazeth
  • Doreen Lipson as Dorothy
  • Kate Parr as Diane Duncan
  • Sherri Ross as Sagnac
  • Linda Rennhofer as Joan
  • Richard Fitzpatrick as Joe
  • Ted Turner as Zhender
  • Sean McCann as Carl
  • Bob Warner as an Air Force General


  1. ^ The Globe and Mail, as per movie listings around this date.
  2. ^ a b Martin, Robert (10 December 1977). "No more cheap sex films, Hunt is big budget now". The Globe and Mail. p. 34. 
  3. ^ a b Martin, Robert (30 November 1977). "Alien futures market active". The Globe and Mail. p. F9. 
  4. ^ "Gil Mellé". IMdB. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Starship Invasions (VHS) info on
  6. ^ Project Genocide at BBFC
  7. ^ L'invasion des soucoupes volantes (Starship Invasions) at Regie du Cinema Quebec
  8. ^ "Starship Invasions", IMDB
  9. ^ "Starship Invasions (1977)", Rotten Tomatoes
  10. ^ "Starship Invasions", Something Awful
  11. ^ "Starship Invasions", Canuxploitation!
  12. ^ Huyghe, Patrick "The Field Guide To Extraterrestrials", pg. 20-21 & 60-61. Avon Books, 1996

External links[edit]