The 1970s Sci-Fi Cult Classic That Takes An Actual Shot At Star Wars

By Brian Myers | Published


The surge of interest in sci-fi films that followed the release of Star Wars in 1977 produced a wave of low-budget genre films, many of which have been forgotten save for the cult followings that some have generated. The special effects and makeup present in these efforts were sometimes the only features that made these films worthy of watching, as strong plots and dialogue weren’t necessarily in strong supply.

One notable entry from the era was the 1978 B-grade film Laserblast, which received a bit of attention at the time after one of its characters destroyed a Star Wars billboard on the set.

Laserblast Is Fun And Simple

Laserblast has a plotline that lacks any level of complexity but is still fun to follow. The film opens in a desert in the southwestern United States while a green-skinned man is being pursued by dinosaur-like aliens that emerge from a spaceship. The man has his arm strapped into a laser cannon, which he fires onto the aliens without success.

Working The Mysterious Cannon


The two aliens disintegrate the man with their lasers and leave behind his cannon and a large pendant that he was wearing around his neck.

A teenage boy named Billy (Kim Millford) soon finds these two articles and figures out how to work the cannon.

The caveat about the cannon in Laserblast is that it cannot be controlled unless the user is wearing the pendant. That, and the pendant slowly transforms its wearer into a green-skinned monster that works off its host’s base emotions and leads him on a path of destruction and revenge.

A Low Budget Sci-Fi Film


Producer Charles Band had already established a reputation in the industry for penning and directing various low-budget science fiction and horror films.

He worked with screenwriters Fran Perilli and Franne Schacht combining elements from two popular sci-fi films released in 1977, Star Wars: A New Hope and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But Laserblast takes a literal shot at Star Wars during one scene where Billy sees a billboard promoting the film.

Destroying A Star Wars Ad


Billy takes careful aim with his alien cannon and fires on the Star Wars advertisement, destroying it in a fiery explosion.

Was it meant as a jab at the box office giant? Or was it merely a shout-out to the most popular film in the genre at the time?

Could Have Been Something More


Developed on a bigger budget and Laserblast could have been something more spectacular. The storyline was there, the special effects and makeup were surprisingly good, but mediocre to subpar acting and camera work that almost seems amateurish at times really worked to hold the film back. Overall, the film is deserving of 2.0/5.0 stars.

Laserblast On Streaming


Laserblast co-stars Roddy McDowall, Cheryl Smith, and Gianni Russo. One notable actor on the set was Eddie Deezen, who many audiences will recognize as the quintessential nerd character in countless films throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Deezen can be seen in Grease and Grease 2, as well as War Games, Teenage Exorcist, and the Leslie Neilson film Spy Hard.

Laserblast can be streamed for free on Tubi, Roku, and Freevee.

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