Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Starcrash (1978)

After Star Wars crashed into the public in 1977 it was time of everyone and their brother to jump in and make their own take on large-scale space opera. While Roger Corman is best known for his 1980 epic Battle Beyond the Stars, he also helped produce an Italian film that somehow managed to score Christopher Plummer in a lead role. Holy Moley! This is either a sign of cinematic apocalypse or one of the most amusing Star Wars rip offs ever put to film.

Alas for the Emperor of the Galaxy (Christopher Plummer)! The evil nasty and wicked Count Zarth Arn (Joe Spinell) has cooked up a super secret weapon and he is just about ready to unleash it. The Emperor sends an expedition force lead by Simon (David Hasselhoff) to find the weapon, but they are attacked by glowing red blob monsters and crash on multiple alien worlds.

Meanwhile, Stella Star (Caroline Munro) a sexy smuggler and her boy toy Akton (Marjoe Gortner) are on the run from the space police lead by Thor (Robert Tessler who looks nothing like the Norse god) and Elle the police robot (performed by Judd Hamilton and voiced by Hamilton Camp – I’m not making that up). They are captured, but their wily skills are enlisted by Emperor to find the lost spaceship and help thwart the evil count. These four mismatched heroes will face an army of amazons, crazed troglodytes, tons of explosions, hilariously goofy model work and of course the dreaded space bikini. In the end, there is no choice but to unleash the ultimate weapon: Starcrash! Will Stella Star survive this adventure to trek another day?

Good Points:
  • Filled to the brim with energy, oddity and laugh out loud dialogue
  • Crazy and colorful models, special effects and characters
  • A surprisingly good score by John Barry

Bad Points:
  • The script was possibly written by a 10 year old with some help from his older brother
  • Attempts to ape Star Wars without understanding what made that movie work
  • This is s stupid silly movie.

Wonderfully bad in all the right ways, Starcrash is worth checking out on bad movie night. Munro looks super sexy in her space bikini but ends up playing second fiddle to the amazing Akton and his glowing magic and light saber. Hasselhoff hams it up, but not nearly as much as Joe Spinell who makes the evil count one of the most over the top villains I’ve seen in a while. Some scenes imitate Star Wars closely but then go completely wrong with editing and flow. The costumes remind me of a dress rehearsal for Flash Gordon in 1980. The dialogue is just plain bad. Still I had a great time with this one and the 92 minute running time flew by. Imagine a cheesy sci-fi serial from the 1940s given a disco makeover by an Italian production company… you’ve got Starcrash. A perfect match for the equally colorfully cheesy 1983 adaptation of Hercules with Lou Ferrigno.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 2
Sound: 3
Acting: 3
Script: 2
Music: 4
Direction: 2
Entertainment: 5
Total:  4

Space bikini for the win!

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. I wasn’t aware Roger Corman was connected with this film. Since he is not lacking in irony, I wonder if the English title “Starcrash” was deliberately chosen as a cosmic equivalent to “train wreck,” which words it begs to conjure up. But like a train wreck, it is hard not to watch, and not only because Munro’s bikini rivals the one in “The Spy who Loved Me.” Not everyone appreciates an epically bad movie, however, so one must choose one’s co-watchers carefully. For aficionados though, this is fine wine.

    1. Yeah this was a great one. You've recommended that I check this one out before. You know your cheese my friend, you know it well. :)

      I would not be surprised if Corman and train wreck in mind with this one. I was describing this film to my wife, and it actually got funnier as I tried to describe the plot twists and hilariously random moments.

  2. Yes I saw this one not long ago, and loved... uh, enjoyed it. It was fun to watch though, as you've said in your humorous review, for many reasons. It's funny how some of the foreign films, Italian, Japanese, etc. take the concepts, are pretty imaginative, yet are lacking at the same time. As you said, it's on a certain level with Corman's Battle Beyond the Stars, which I also enjoy when I'm in the mood. I guess some would claim these as a guilty pleasures, but for me, sometimes I just want something crazy and fun.

    1. Yeah I would call this one a very entertaining film. Not a good film by any means, but one that is such fun to watch. It really reminds me of that 1983 Hercules movie. You watch the 1980 "Clash of the Titans" and how well it pulls off an mythological adventure, and then you watch "Hercules" and the contrast is... well hilarious.