Earlier today, many people were somewhat startled by the image of Christopher Lee, wearing a Gumby-shaped ninja outfit with a winged serpent on it, gunning down a disco dancer. Where does this startling image come from? Why, the 1977 "Canuxploitation" classic Starship Invasions, of course.

I was personally unaware of this film's existence, until this morning — and I had to spend a chunk of the afternoon watching it. It's truly a fantastic movie. Above: the scene that image comes from, where Christopher Lee, as Captain Ramses, launches an attack on the peace-loving crewmembers in an alien base, including the women in the "relaxation center" who greet him with a chirpy "Hi!" just before he starts shooting them all. And the nice dorky robots. Also great: the scene where he warns the redhead not to get in his way. And yes, Christopher Lee (and all the other aliens in this movie) communicate telepathically, thus reducing the need for actual sound recording during filming.

Starship Invasions is a classic of our time. It starts out with a goofy French-Canadian farmer riding his tractor, when he's abducted by some of Captain Ramses' people, who use mind control to make the farmer have sex with a hot naked lady. Then, Captain Ramses decides he needs an Earth female too — leading to the scene at left where his people kidnap a family from their car, using their insidious mind control techniques and removing bodily fluids from the female. I love how Captain Ramses is like, "Let her speak. On second thoughts, don't."

The whole film is well worth watching, although you have to feel a bit sad for the film-makers, who probably thought they'd created the best space epic of 1977... and then a certain other film came out, making their "flying saucers and big bald-headed telepathic aliens" movie look rather obsolete. This film is chock full of 1960s and 1970s cliches that Star Wars more or less abolished, including the UFO abduction thing, space battle sequences that look cheesy rather than cool, and aliens saying things like "oh yeah, we built the pyramids," and "You humans use only 1 percent of your brains." Sigh.

The ostensible hero of the film is Robert Vaughn, playing a UFO expert who helps the good aliens to defeat Christopher Lee, but he mostly spends the second half of the film eating space vitamins and staring at a screen while making silly faces, so we can sort of gather that he's using his brain power to help the aliens. The actual victory over Christopher Lee is mostly scored, somewhat anticlimactically, by a damaged robot that suddenly lurches to life and solves all of everybody's problems. But on the plus side, the soundtrack is just amazing — MECO wouldn't need to do much to make this the grooviest record of his career.

Here's the whole movie, thanks to Youtuber Adam Proskiw: