B Movie Challenge: Battle Beyond the Sun

The blender: the kitchen’s little ninja master, dedicated to taking anything (and everything) you ever wanted mixed together and helps you suck it down smoothly like… well, a smoothie! But let’s be frank for a minute (or Roger, or Francis, or Aleksandr for that matter), this invention was not meant for everything. Some monstrosities should never be minced together  (kale, beets, and flounder cocktail anyone?) which is how I felt watching the Roger Corman sliced space-opera Battle Beyond the Sun or Nebo Zovyot (way better title!) as it was called in Russia before whizzed apart in a miracle mixer by Corman associate Francis Ford Coppola!

Buying films from foreign countries and repackaging them for the American market has been done since the early silent days (of course it was easy without any dialogue!) but when sound came into the fold it needed people with real chops to whizz these films for Teeny boppers to enjoy! Corman bought the rights to Nebo Zovyot and gave young non-bearded Coppola the task of not only re-editing the film, but also re-dubbing the entire film (taking out the strong Cold War themes the original film portrayed), editing out certain Russian languages on the spaceships and replacing them with NASA (‘Ya ‘Murica!), and shooting filler scenes with two monsters that were designed to look like a… well, let’s just say a rocketship going deep into the Milky Way (blast off)!

The plot depends on which version you are watching, so we’ll start on puree mode with Nebo Zovyot: The space race for the Russians is in high gear for them to be able to get to Mars before America can land their stinky feet in the red dust. As the Russians do everything by the book, the Americans rush their program and find their spacecraft in trouble (Uh, Moscow, we have a проблема). In trying to help, the Soviets rescue the American crew but crashland on a foreign Astroud., It becomes Survival (the real game) as the astronauts from each hemisphere work out their issues to get back home. As for Battle Beyond the Sun,  we up the level to high speed by setting it in the fictional North Hemis and South Hemis to not scare the kiddos too much (as they duck and cover under their school desks). Most of the plot stays the same, except this time when they land on the asteroid, there are alien monsters (in rubber-zipped suits) bouncing around. Of course, in this version, it doesn’t matter which side is the heroes, as Coppela did a decent job making this film as middle as possible (shouldn’t it be Central Hemis when they get back?). Like the edited film itself, grab a bunch of parts, mix in a cup of water, and set-top high ninja mode and we get one ultra cinematic milkshake topped with cherries and sprinkles (an offer you can’t refuse)!

Served in a chilled steel cup at sixty-four minutes, and directed originally by Mikhail Karyukov and Aleksandr Kozyr (with Karyukov going on to write the story for the AIP classic Queen of Blood), In true Corman style footage from this was re-used (or over-used) in another foreign mixer processed film Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (this time with Peter Bogdonvich’s hands on the Galaxie Osterizer Blender). Due to the film being in the public domain, you can find this “out of this world” Sci-fi semi-froyo-classic anywhere movies are streamed. So set your Vintage Green Proctor Silex Blender Model 83009 to five, add in some Bananas and canned Vienna sausages, and let this cut-up interstellar masterpiece slide down your gullet!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues and short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, Negative Creep: A Nirvana-Inspired Anthology, A-Z of Horror: U is for Unexplained, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Born and raised in Iowa, Klink lives with his family in Pennsylvania where he shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies.

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