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The Curator of Schlock #33 by Jeffrey Shuster

Battle Beyond the Stars: Better Never than Late

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John Saxon returns to the Museum of Schlock in Battle Beyond the Stars, the story of how the evil Sador of the Malmori (John Saxon) and his army of deformed mutant freaks tried to conquer Akir,  a pathetic farming planet. Things were going okay for him in the beginning. Sador’s giant starship The Hammerhead makes short work of space weather reporters before descending to the planet. The crowd of peasant losers looks on as a giant projection of Sador’s disembodied head declares that he’s going to conquer them with his stellar converter. That would be enough for me to throw my hands up, let me tell you. John Saxon is scary enough, but a giant John Saxon head is downright terrifying.

Anyway, all hope is not lost. There is a young boy hero, unsure of himself, but pure of heart, who goes on a quest to find a bunch of mercenaries to help fight against the invaders. His name is Shad and he’s played by Richard Thomas, the same actor who played John-Boy on The Waltons. I like the name John-Boy better than Shad so we’ll call him John-Boy for the rest of the review. So John-Boy goes off in search of adventure in a spaceship that resembles a part of the female anatomy. The ship’s onboard computer is named Nell and she’s a bit of a nagging mom type. John-Boy tries to recruit the help of Dr. Hephaestus who makes robots that look just like people. Dr. Hephaestus wants John-Boy to mate with his beautiful young daughter Nanelia so he can get some grandkids. John-Boy has no interest in mating and goes his way.

At some point in the movie John-Boy runs into a space cowboy names Cowboy (George Peppard) and gets him to join the fight.

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Sador blows up a planet of Dinosaur men. Good riddance I say. I hate Dinosaur men!

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There’s a Valkyrie woman named Saint Exmin ( Sybil Danning) from a race known as the Valkyrie and she wants to recharge John-Boy’s capacitators if you know what I mean.

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There’s a race of clone alien guys who experience whatever the other is experiencing. Like if one eats a hot dog the others taste it. For their sake, I hope it was Nathan’s.

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Let’s see. Who else joins up? I seem to recall Robert Vaughn showing up at some point. I think he plays an ex-assassin or something. I remember when Robert Vaughn guest starred on Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. I think he played an ex-assassin in that episode too. Let’s see. Who else? There’s a last surviving dinosaur man that joins the fight. Sador kills him, too! Yeah. In fact, Sador and his goons kill everyone except for John-Boy. Will John-Boy manage to trick Sador of the Malmori to hook a tractor beam onto the female anatomy spaceship, which John-boy was smart enough to start the self-destruct sequence of? Maybe. And Sador and his ship will blow up. And everyone will be happy because John Saxon got what he deserved.

Ten Things I Learned from Battle Beyond the Stars

  1. You’re better off having good sets than good models.
  2. I need to start making references to Kung Fu The Legend Continues in every review going forward.
  3. John Saxon really can’t laugh maniacally.
  4. Dinosaur Men suck and they need to die!
  5. When the Operating Systems become sentient like the ones in Her, I want mine to act just like Nell.
  6. You can watch Battle Beyond the Stars and discover something new about it every time.
  7.  I lied about number 6.
  8. I lied about number 5 too.
  9. Assassins make the most dynamic characters. I mean, they kill people for a living. That’s hardcore!
  10. Some planets aren’t worth saving.

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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47) is an MFA candidate and instructor at the University of Central Florida.

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