The Catacombs Cosmos 1999 L'Enjeu

Cosmos 1999 L'Enjeu ("The Challenge") is a one-off fan-film made by Sylvain Labrosse and Yves Lapointe, two 16-year old French Canadian students in summer 1979. Filmed in partial stop motion with a Super-8 camera, the film is 13 minutes, 15 seconds long. Originally the film was silent, but versions from 2012 and 2014 include music and sound effects.

The film makers used the MPC Eagles, Moonbase Alpha and custom models, 12 inch/30cm tall Hasbro G.I. Joe (Action Man) and Barbie figures, and custom sets, props and costumes. While some movement is stop motion, the film-makers also filmed some shots "live" at 18 frames per second or (for some effects sequences) 24 frames a second. There are dolly shots (moved by hand), some simple double exposures and a few attempts at rear projection (for screens plus a version of the series shot with astronauts seen in the Eagle window). Like Gerry Anderson's puppet shows, a couple of shots show close-ups of a real hand holding a stun gun.

Sylvain and Yves had previously made another short stop motion film, a remake of Breakaway (A la dérive in French). They decided to produce an original story, expanding the number of sets including an almost complete Command Center set (in cardboard).


Sylvain gave a VHS copy to a colleague, Daniel Lavoie. Some years later, Lavoie worked with Eric Bernard, who had made some re-edited episodes of Space: 1999. Bernard rediscovered the tape shortly before the Alpha 2012 convention in California. He digitized and recut the film, adding sound effects and music, and presented it at the convention. It was then uploaded to YouTube.

After the enthusiastic feedback, Sylvain had the original Super 8 film digitized into NTSC. The film was stabilized, and film dirt and scratches were cleaned. Using Bernard's version as reference, music and sound were added. There is a year 2 style title sequence and end credits.

Sylvain: I decided to also add a few things that Yves and I wanted to do with film but just couldn't do because of lack of budget or the technology to do it. For example, stars. With proper film equipment, we should have been able to do our special effects like Brian Johnson and Nick Allder, with multiple exposure passes. We actually did but Super 8 film registration is awful and rewinding the Super 8 in a cartridge was stupidly complex. We were almost crazy to try it but it did work against all odds...

Sylvain's new version was offered to Network for their Year 2 Blu-ray release, and was included as an extra on disc 6 of the Network "Complete Second Series" Blu-ray released in September 2015.

The YouTube version of the film includes an introduction using scenes salvaged from the initial Breakaway film (total length 14 minutes, 24 seconds). This isn't present on the Network copy (length 13 minutes 22 seconds), which starts like the 1979 film.


The plot is closely based on The Beta Cloud with elements of other episodes.

An alien spaceship approaches Moonbase Alpha. Two Alphans (Alan Carter and Paul Morrow) take an Eagle to investigate. When they dock with the spaceship, they are attached by an alien monster. The monster flies the Eagle back to Alpha, and attacks Alphans in the Power Room. The alien steals the power core, and the lights in Alpha go out.

Alan Carter recovers and with a guard they shoot the alien and get back the power core. The alien pursues Alan and the guard but is tricked into entering an airlock. They try to eject him by explosive decompression, but the alien escapes and attacks them. He takes back the power core.

The alien has gone to the Eagle hangar. Alan follows him and seals the launch pad. The alien, in an Eagle, fires a laser to blast open the pad doors. He then launches the Eagle and lifts up through the lift shaft.

On the alien ship, Paul has woken up. The Eagle docks with the alien ship and the alien enters, but is shot by Paul. Paul takes the power core and escapes to the Eagle. The alien bangs on the airlock door, which opens, blowing him into space. Paul returns the power core to Alpha.


Thanks to Sylvain Labrosse

Space 1999 copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Page copyright Martin Willey