Rebel Without Much of a Plot: Laserblast (1978)

February 26, 2021 | By

Now don’t get me wrong – Laserblast (1978) isn’t a good film, but as a good bad film, it has its merits, especially since it’s fairly short, which accentuates the incoherence of its muddled screenplay.



Whether it was intended to be a riff on Rebel Without a Cause (1955) with the loser teen acquiring a laserblaster for revenge, or a patchwork of ideas slapped together because the production had great desert locations, a camera car + house, a stop-motion artist, and then-cutting edge synthesizers, Laserblast has its share of positives in the cinema fromage genre, not to mention its place in the history of producer Charles Band and composer Richard Band – plus Joel Goldsmith.


Their incorporation seems odd, but David Allen’s stop-motion creatures are really good.


It’s also worth noting that when comparing indie studios to the established multinationals, the histories of the former are far more interesting, perhaps because indies were propelled by the vision & personalities of individuals or a mini-dynasties, the various genres they exploited and / or created, their subsequent success at drive-ins, and later home video and cable TV markets.

For example, Warner Bros. was quite massive by the 1980s, but once the last Warner brother had ceded control to a more formal team of suits in 1969, its’ history was dominated by mergers, catalogue acquisitions, distribution deals, and its own controlling interests in video & cable, and rebranding itself and upgrading its logo. (Personal note: the 70s Warner Communications logo is still my favourite, followed by the short-lived Kinney Services / Kinney National Company shield.)

The history of independent companies may not have extended through 50+ decades, but many lived, struggled, and died under the reign of some intriguing, colourful, and / or unlikely personalities – like Hemdale Film Corporation, the indie fused by actor-director David Hemmings (Blow-Up) and Michael Daly which thrived in the exploitation realm before inching upwards with Oscar-winning productions like Platoon (1986).

Band’s career ultimately settled towards Full Moon Features, but I’ve a soft spot for Empire International Pictures because its name so blatantly boasts of Big Things from a small company surviving on extremely odd exploitation fare, many shot in Italy. The company logo is also packed with the optimism of the 1980s – it’s glossy, golden, gleaming, and incorporates geometric objects like a sloped grid pattern and a ball, plus a generous drenching of purple, navy blue, and subtle infusion of pink.

And while the major studios of today are large multinationals whose identity is defined by slight changes in branding and further mergers & consolidations, the Band name and its main players are still tied to the extant company, Full Moon Features.

And the very fragrant Laserblast.

Coming next: the documentary The Last Blockbuster (2020) from Passion River.

Thanks for reading,



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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