Outer space, regarded as the final frontier, is often a source of fascination for filmmakers. The deep space black, the stars and planets have conjured metaphysical quagmires and dreams in the recesses of script writers and filmmakers minds. Some of these films are coated in candy colored flavor that give us more a sense of popcorn cinema than what it is like in outer space, but they can make for fun films and provide imagination theatre for young and old. One is just captivated by the mesmerizing images. Space films of the late 1970s were fun escapades for audiences who wanted to escape into the deep space black, candy colored. The success of Star Wars (1977) brought a surge of space films to the cinema.
Images of deep black space held behind an array of stars. Curiously shaped spaceships in missions and battles held us in spacetime wonder and entertained as pieces of bubble gum escapism for kids and their families. These films even had their own merchandising brands. Encouraged by Star Wars’ success filmmakers and producers made their own adventures in the outer reaches.
Left field for a moment. Another far out piece of escapism was The Muppet Movie. The puppet-like characters, voiced by such luminaries as Frank Oz and Jim Henson, originated from the well-loved television series The Muppets. It resulted in several follow-ups.
In terms of the space films at the time, Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack — a reedited version of three episodes of the Battlestar Galactica television series — was a sequel to the earlier 1978 film.
The Black Hole, Buck Rogers, Star Trek, The Humanoid and The Shape of Things to Come, which featured Jack Palance as a cartoonish megalomaniac, were other well-known ones of the late 1970’s.
Slightly bent science fiction The Day Time Ended and Disney’s Unidentified Flying Oddball (otherwise known as The Spaceman and King Arthur) added to the theatrical influx of sci-fi amusements at the time.
Most of the bubble gum space films of 1979 were for family audiences or children of a certain age and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was more amusing than its cosmic counterparts with a humorous robot sidekick and a tongue-in-cheek hero.
Yet for the sentimental in all of us, The Black Stallion, about a boy and his horse, was a success with family audiences and the critics—a far cry from the space films that filled Laddie’s imagination.
But who could forget this:
THE BLACK HOLE!!
There was something inherently fascinating about watching life in the space up there take place before our eyes.
By Peter Veugelaers