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.