Producer/director Charles Band’s 1983 sci-fi film has connections to both Jaws 3-D and the classic sitcom Night Court
Over the course of a film career that stretches back 50 years, Charles Band has produced nearly 400 projects and directed several dozen – and in his memoir Confessions of a Puppetmaster (pick up a copy HERE), he says that one of the movies fans mention to him the most is the 1983 sci-fi film Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn… which happens to have fun connections to both Jaws 3-D and the sitcom Night Court.
Directed by Band from a screenplay by Alan J. Adler, Metalstorm has the following synopsis: On a desert planet, warlord Jared-Syn is trying to convince a tribe of mutants that he’s their messiah and gain unlimited power hidden in a crystal. Ranger Dogen and explorer Dhyana, who’s father was murdered by Syn, must stop him.
Band and Adler also produced the movie with Band’s father Albert Band.
The film stars Jeffrey Byron, Michael Preston, Tim Thomerson, and Kelly Preston – who was going by the name Kelly Palzis when she signed on, but chose the Preston stage name halfway through production. Also in the cast was Richard Moll, and Charles Band had this to say about him: “Another cast member was a gigantically tall, friendly young actor named Richard Moll. I wanted him to play Hurok, the leader of a tribe of nomadic warriors. Once we cast him, my effects guy told me that because of his elaborate makeup, it’d be much easier to shoot the big guy if he was bald. That was an easy sell for me—I mean, every six-foot-eight-inch nomadic warrior chieftain oughta be bald, right? It wasn’t an easy sell for Richard. “Oh god, this is going to devastate him,” his agent told me. “It’s pilot season.” Like every actor in Hollywood, Richard had high hopes for TV’s pilot season, and he also had a nice head of jet-black hair. I had sympathy, but I also had a movie to make. Plus, as I told Richard, being a tall bald guy was kind of an awesome look. I threw in another five hundred bucks, and Richard took the role and shaved his head. A bird in the hand, after all… Well, during the shoot Richard did indeed get a good audition for a new sitcom. And wouldn’t you know it, the producers actually loved him and his big bald head. To this day Richard is still best known as the bald, intimidating-but-gentle bailiff named Bull on all nine seasons of Night Court.“
Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn was released by Universal Pictures, and Band revealed that it was able to secure that distribution deal because Metalstorm was shot in 3-D and the studio was already planning to release a 3-D movie in ’83. Jaws 3-D. “I get a call from Bob Rehme, the head of Universal. We’d met a few times, and Bob liked me. Bob had heard I was shooting another 3-D movie, and as it happened, he was getting ready to go out with Jaws 3-D. He wanted something to send it out with. Back then, it cost a lot to outfit theaters with 3-D—you needed a special lens for the projectors and a special screen, so it made sense to follow one 3-D picture with another.“
Metalstorm was shot on a budget of $900,000 and Universal bought the distribution rights for $3 million. Jaws 3-D was released on July 22 and Metalstorm followed on August 19.
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