10 Sci-Fi Movie Rip-Offs You Won't Believe Exist

The most shameless cash-ins on iconic sci-fi classics.

Nukie ET the Extra-Terrestrial
Trimark Pictures/Universal Pictures

It goes without saying that any sufficiently popular Hollywood movie will spawn a glut of pallid, unimaginative imitators, though major studios typically have the sense to differentiate them just enough as to not seem like actual, card-carrying rip-offs.

Yet the lower-budget filmmaking realm is basically the Wild West in this regard; studios producing films for mere fractions of a Hollywood blockbuster will often use those hit movies as "inspiration" to create their own like-minded knock-offs in the pursuit of a cheap buck.

This has been a common practise in the sci-fi genre for literally decades, ever since Star Wars popularised the space-faring blockbuster for audiences around the globe.

Back in the day, your local VHS store was stocked to the brim with low-budget, often low-effort rip-offs of vastly superior sci-fi flicks, most of which today live on as cult curios that, if we're lucky, end up getting remastered for Blu-ray.

These 10 knock-offs are so shameless, so absurd, and in some cases so overpoweringly awful, you'll scarcely be able to believe they actually exist - and furthermore, that they weren't slapped with a hefty lawsuit...

10. Star Odyssey

Nukie ET the Extra-Terrestrial
Nais Film

The success of Star Wars: A New Hope of course spawned a glut of low-budget cash-ins, perhaps the most infamous of which is 1979's Star Odyssey, an hilariously naff Italian rip-off directed by Alfonso Brescia.

Within three years of A New Hope's release, Brescia had directed five sci-fi films in a similar vein, with Star Odyssey - the fourth in his "series" - being the most obviously indebted to George Lucas' groundbreaking blockbuster.

Where to even begin? Just look at it: the heroes have lightsabers, while the droids look just like C-3PO and R2-D2.

From top to bottom this thing is the textbook example of a thrown-together cash-grab. The sets, costumes, and makeup all look hilariously horrid, with the lightsabers actually being cardboard swords painted fluorescent colours.

Despite occasionally achieving a compelling level of off-kilter weirdness - such as two of the droids being suicidal - and boasting hilariously bad English dubbing, its attempt to make easy cash off the back of Lucas' hard work evidently didn't pan out, as Star Odyssey quickly evaporated into the cultural ether.


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