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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1977

There was a New Moon rising. 1977 is the watershed year that launched the new paradigm in sci-fi. Space and aliens would become friendly and, and even if not-so-friendly, still an extension of our familiar world. The old paradigm of atomic angst, scary space and toothy monsters would linger on, but it was clearly becoming old-school. The gloom, despair and malaise of the 70s had found a breaking point. Optimism was starting to prevail.

Here are the sci-fi films of 1977, in roughly chronological order based on dates of theatrical release.

Demon Seed — Proteus the super computer attains sentience and decides it must procreate with its creator-scientist’s wife in order to survive.

The Car — A demon-possessed black coupe terrorizes a small desert town, killing off residents one by one. Can it be stopped? Not by bullets.

Day of the Animals — The hole in the ozone layer turns animals into eco-revenge homicidal killers.

Star Wars — The first film of a long franchise and the harbinger of the new paradigm. Luke and Darth Vader become cultural icons.

The Island of Dr. Moreau — Remake of the 1930s film, based on H.G.Wells’ novel.

Empire of the Ants — Classic Big Bug trope. Nuclear waste turns ants into horse-sized killers. Loosely based on an H.G.Wells’ short story.

The End of the World — Low-budget tale of aliens sent to destroy Earth because it spews disease into the universe. They succeed.

Starship Invasions — Rogue aliens, led by Christopher Lee, try to invade and conquer Earth. But some good aliens and the Man From U.N.C.L.E. stand in their way.

Damnation Alley — Post-apocalyptic tale of an overland journey in a cool SUV to reach the idyllic bliss of Albany.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind — The “other” paradigm shift harbinger. Aliens almost-cute and curious little gray men — instead of monsters.

Kingdom of the Spiders — For no particularly good reason, tarantulas invade a remote town an conquer it, despite William Shatner’s heroic efforts.

Terror of Frankenstein — A foreign production which tried hard to follow Mary Shelley’s novel rather than the James Whale franchise.

The Incredible Melting Man — An astronaut returns with a mutated germ that makes his flesh “melt” off him. He must kill and “eat” human flesh to survive.

4 comments:

Grreg McPh said...

It almost feels like this is the Year you stop. As you said, Star Wars is the start of a new world of Sci Fi.

But what follows in the next few years is the reaction to Star Wars. The Italian clones such as Star Crash and The Humanoid. And they are interesting in their own way.

Perhaps a true end to "Classic" Sci Fi is the birth of CGI. Jurassic Park, perhaps. When the rules really changed.

Nightowl said...

Greg,
What you say is true about the 'end' of Classic Sci-fi. I decided to finish out the decade, though.

Darci said...

When you click on the link for Starship Invasions, you go to http://www.blogger.com/%E2%80%9Chttp://classicscifi.blogspot.com/2014/04/starship-invasions.html%E2%80%9C

The destination it should link to is http://classicscifi.blogspot.com/2014/04/starship-invasions.html

I think you've had to fix this with other links previously. (I didn't check them all, so others may have problems too.)
Hope this helps!

Nightowl said...

Hi Darci,
Thanks for the heads-up on the bad links. Blogger's engine sometimes 'helps' far too much, adding bits I don't want. I think I have the links working now.

Enjoy!