Corman was one of the first producers to jump on the science-fiction bandwagon created by the massive success of Star Wars (1977). Amid this, he produced Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), lavishing something like a ten million dollar budget on it. Like many post-Star Wars films, Corman simply uplifted the plots of other films and transposed them with robots and rayguns in this case, offering up a space opera version of Akira Kurosawas The Seven Samurai (1954) and its Western remake The Magnificent Seven (1960).
Having given Battle Beyond the Stars a budget ten times more than he usually afforded films, Corman cannily took the opportunity to recycle material from the film. Special effects sequences from it were appearing in other New World science-fiction films for years afterwards. Space Raiders was the most blatant example of this an entire film, just like Cormans rehashing of the Russian science-fiction films, that was based around recycling the special effects footage from Battle Beyond the Stars and the shooting of live-action inserts to create a new story around them. (Not satisfied with that, Corman also rehashes James Horners score for Battle Beyond the Stars).
Space Raiders has some bad reviews from most genre studies. Seen, it is a passable time waster that doesnt exactly engage the brain much but zips along in its own unassuming way. One only need compare it to some of the cheap Italian Star Wars copies that were being made around this era see the likes of Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977), War in Space (1977), The Humanoid (1979), War of the Robots (1979) and Star Odyssey (1979) to see what it could have been. Like Battle Beyond the Stars, Corman borrows from the classics in this case, the story of the boy joining the crew of roughneck pirates on an adventure is fairly much taken from Treasure Island (1883). There are all the hallmarks of a cheap Star Wars clone cut-priced sets that consist of the same stretch of corridor used over again, cheesy alien makeups, one-dimensional B-movie villains, rugged heroes with an array of quotable quotes (Vince Edwards who gives it his all). There are some lame contemporary touches the Star Wars cantina now becomes an intergalactic disco that advertises a singer named Patsy Clone, while we get a cameo from Corman regular Dick Miller as a holographic used spaceship salesman.
Director/writer Howard R. Cohen directed a number of other low-budget films for Roger Corman at New World, all genre films starting with the horror spoof Saturday the 14th (1981) and including the likes of Saturday the 14th Strikes Back (1988), Time Trackers (1989), Deathstalker IV: March of the Titans (1990) and Space Case (1992). Cohen also wrote the scripts for a number of other genre films, almost all for New Worlds, including Vampire Hookers (1978), Deathstalker (1983), Stryker (1983), Barbarian Queen (1985), Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (1985), Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell (1988), Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back (1989) and Lords of the Deep (1989).
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