Roger Corman is regarded as the king of low budget B-movies. Throughout his 50+yrs in the business, he has released dozens of low budget titles that has gained cult status. Along the way, he has been a starting point for many A-list actors and directors. One of his later films has been released by Shout Factory as part of their Roger Corman's Cult Classics collection. Battle Beyond The Stars was filmed in 1980 and had a mix of new and rebudding talent.
The film stars Richard Thomas (John-Boy from the Waltons) as Shad, an assistant meteorologist who volunteers to find mercenaries to defend his planet after a threat from the Malmori and their leader Sador (played by John Saxon). Along the way he is able to recruit seven parties interested in seeing Sador fall as well. Amongst them is the daughter of an ailing professor, a arms transporter (George Peppard, whose most notable role is Hannibal on A-Team) who's current client suffered at the hands of the Malmori,a race of clones, a wanted assassin (Robert Vaughn, Lee from The Magnificent Seven), a Valkyrie warrior and a reptilian slaver who seeks revenge against Sador for his race's destruction. A mighty battle ensues to save Shad's home world from Sador and his Stellar Converter, which can instantly turn a planet into a star.
The movie has a wealthy cast of established actors, but it's biggest secret might be it's budding production cast. Amongst them were art director James Cameron (yes, THAT James Cameron. The Titanic, Terminator, Avatar James Cameron), music composer James Horner and screenwriter John Sayles.
As for the movie itself, it's a fine piece of space drama. Modeled as a space version of the Magnificent Seven, the storyline rarely is too slow and can be followed along without difficulty. Being a B-movie, you won't find any groundbreaking cinema, but nonetheless it is produced very well.
If it's bonuses you're looking for, there's plenty to go around. Included in the special features is an interview with Richard Thomas, a 'Making of' featurette, radio spots, movie trailers, poster galleries and still photos. The DVD liner is also filled with international movie posters.
This classic is now available from Shout Factory in either DVD ($17.99) or BluRay ($23.99) format. Both feature 5.1 surround sound. They are also offering a free-iron on with purchase. If you're a fan of Roger Corman, love a good B-movie sci-fi adventure or just want to see a good picture without high-budget thrills, this is definitely worth putting on the shelf.