Bad Movie Challenge: Starship Invasions AKA Project Genocide AKA War of the Aliens AKA Alien Encounter

I have a friend who said to herself, “Self, there is no way you can complete the Ironman Triathlon Challenge. It’s too difficult and there is just no possible way to reach the goal.” Well, a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, and a 26.22-mile marathon later, she achieved the unthinkable and crossed the finish line. In 1930, in a crummy rented gas station, Colonel Sanders opened his 35th try at serving high-quality chicken to motorists. Most told him to give up on his dream, but a couple of thousand buckets of greasy dinner delights later he became a millionaire by the 1950s.  In 1971, JVC engineers Yuma Shiraishi and Shizuo Takano wanted to watch Battle for the Planet of the Apes whenever they wanted to, but everyone said “Go to the theaters like we do, you bums!” Several tries later, by the 1980s they had crushed the Betamax and Videodisc markets to the back shelves of your local thrift shop (where they still reside to this day!). All I am saying is if you set your mind to it, you can achieve any dream possible. So, when you hit enter on your remote control to start the 1977 science fiction cult classic Starship Invasions, or a.k.a. Project Genocide, or a.k.a. War of the Aliens, or finally a.k.a. Alien Encounter, you can get to the very end! It is possible! Just hang in there! You can do it!

My friend got herself a tattoo when she finished Ironman, wanting to memorialize her endurance, so I am thinking about getting a tattoo as well for watching Starship Invasions, or a.k.a. Project Genocide, or a.k.a. War of the Aliens, or finally a.k.a. Alien Encounter. It was like climbing the Mount Everest of bad movie watching. When I finished the film (if you can call it that), I should have taken a photo at the finish line, as not since Ali knocked out Liston would a photo show more anger and bravery. Watching this film was like partaking in the Zombie Evasion Run, mixed with The Great North swim, followed by The Color Run, and finishing with one hundred and fifty burpees to get to the hour and twenty-nine ending mark!

Starship Invasions or a.k.a. Project Genocide, or a.k.a. War of the Aliens, or finally a.k.a. Alien Encounter is about… wait for it… wait for it… Canadian Aliens! Yep, Great White North accented creatures invade our world, curious to see what humanity is up to in 1977. Maybe from space, they heard a radio ad for Pet Rocks or heard Cher’s ‘Love the Devil Out of You’ or the Cinematronics’ Space Wars soundtrack. No matter the reasons, our invaders (headed by a non-speaking Christopher Lee) are the Legion of the Winged Serpent, Q-clad human-like telepathic space people who need to find a new home because theirs blew up. Of course, Earth’s endless supply of McDonald Styrofoam trash yards and sludge-slimed New Jersey shores are the ideal locations for a new planet. The only problem is those seven billion doggone annoying humans all around. Throw in a final last-minute sprint by Robert Vaughn as an important Scientist/UFO expert to save the day and Earth continues to spin around, free of bad clairvoyant dialogue.

Directed by Ed Hunt (who went on to give us classics like Bloody Birthday and Halloween Hell), this overtly long slice of Canadian bacon was bankrolled by the Hal Roach Studios for one million dollars (most of the budget going to Lee and Vaughn salaries). The main reason for the four hundred different titles was to cash in on whatever popular science fiction movie was playing at the time. Alien Encounter to cash in on Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and War of the Aliens to piggyback on Lucas’ Star Wars. No matter what the title is Starship Invasions, or a.k.a. Project Genocide, or a.k.a. War of the Aliens, or finally a.k.a. Alien Encounter played heavily in the drive-in and dirty theatre markets. Imagine ordering two science fiction movies for a weekend and realizing the separate titles were the same movie!

You can find Starship Invasions, or a.k.a. Project Genocide, or a.k.a. War of the Aliens, or finally a.k.a. Alien Encounter on many streaming services, like Tubi and Prime, and was recently treated well (not really) by the Rifftrax team.  If you can find the second generation European Betamax of Project Genocide, snatch up that copy and enjoy its bronze medal-worthy graininess!

Before you hit play on your SL-2000 portable Betamax with TT-2000 tuner/timer “Base Station”, slap on those two-sizes-too-small spandex workout clothes, drop the needle on your Jane Fonda workout vinyl, and conduct a Rocky-esqe montage through this Canuxploitation cult hit that is out of this world!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues, his thesis film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands and the short story Aurora’s Pond for The Creeps Magazine. Klink shares his talents as a teacher of Digital Media Design and Film and Video Production in Delaware.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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