Well here we are fiends; we’ve arrived at the end of our trek through some of the strangest images ever committed to celluloid. Superheroes, warriors, monsters, maniacs, zombies, rockers, bikers, fish men and vampires have all danced before our eyes in a whirling panorama of exploitation gold! But what waits at journey’s end? How about a grand space opera made on a fraction of the budget of the biggest science fiction spectacle of the 1970’s, Star Wars. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Daniel Th1rte3n’s #1 film, Starcrash!
Have you ever watched a film where it was obvious that the director was having the time of his life making the movie, and would do whatever it takes to ensure that you have the same experience? Well, watch Starcrash and you will experience that with every shot Luigi Cozzi committed to film.
More Flash Gordon by way of Barbarella than Star Wars (which it is often compared to), Starcrash is an over the top space adventure that throws everything but the kitchen sink at the viewer over its 94 minute runtime. And oh, what it throws at us!
I first discovered this film completely by accident in the mid 80’s. It was a chilly Fall afternoon, I had just eaten lunch, and was looking for something to watch before I went outside to play. Switching on the TV, I was greeted with a multi-colored starscape, a barely dressed female Han solo, and a ragtag group of aliens and robots. I was hooked…and still am to this day!
The plot of the film concerns outrageously sexy space pirate Stella Star and her erstwhile companion Akton, whom while escaping Space Police robot Elle (who speaks in a southern accent), run across the remains and a survivor of a starship that was destroyed by a mysterious cloud of red energy while trying to find the location of the sinister Count Zarth Arn. Soon Elle catches up with Stella, and she is sentenced to incarceration for life on a prison colony.
Stella manages to escape from prison, but is soon found by the chief of police, a blue alien named Thor. Thor takes Stella to a starship where she is reunited with Akton. Shortly the group, also consisting of Elle (who actually isn’t such a bad guy..err..robot after all), is contacted by The Emperor of the Galaxy, who gives Stella a mission, destroy the Count’s secret weapon, and in the process rescue his son! And with that imperative, things really get crazy!!
Stella and friends run afoul of amazons, a giant robot (reminiscent of Talos from Jason and the Argonauts, a favorite of Cozzi’s), extreme hypothermia on a planet of ice (2 years before Hoth would appear in The Empire Strikes Back), and treachery, as Thor is revealed to be a spy for Zarth Arn.
Soon our heroes arrive on the Count’s planet after surviving the same red energy attack that has destroyed previous intruders into the Count’s airspace. Upon landing Stella and Elle venture out to explore but are attacked by barbarians! Elle is destroyed, and Stella is captured, though she is soon rescued by a man in a golden, laser shooting mask. The man reveals himself to be two things: 1. He is Simon, the Emperor’s son, and 2. He is played by none other than the Hoff!
Stella and Simon are soon joined by Akton, and the trio make their way to Zarth Arn’s secret underground laboratory, where they come face to face with the Count, who reveals his nefarious plan to use the group as bait to lure the Emperor to the planet, which he will then destroy, at which point Arn will make himself the new Emperor. Arn then leaves the group under the watchful eye of his robot soldiers. Akton duels with the robots with a laser sword (ok, that part is like Star Wars). Unfortunately in the battle, Akton is mortally wounded. The Emperor soon arrives, but he is prepared for the Count’s trap. Using a time stopping ray, the Emperor delays the impending disaster, allowing our heroes to escape.
After arriving on board the Emperor’s flagship, Stella is reunited with Elle, who was rebuilt by the Emperor’s troops. Soon a massive battle breaks out as the Emperor sends his starships to destroy Zarth Arn’s space station. I know what you’re thinking, but I assure you this is crazier than anything Lucas dreamed up, for instance: The Count’s space station is a massive metal hand, which can clench into a titanic fist! Another moment of pure insanity: The Emperor gets his troops aboard the Count’s ship by firing them into the ship in torpedoes (which harkens back to Meilies 1902 classic “A Trip to the Moon”). The tide of battle soon swings in Zarth Arn’s favor, as most of the Emperor’s troops are destroyed. This leaves the Emperor with only one option: a Star Crash!
Will our heroes survive? The only way to find out is to experience the fantastic fun of Starcrash for yourself! I simply cannot recommend this movie enough, it’s colorful, crazy, and insane, in other words it’s perfect escapist fantasy entertainment! You can purchase Starcrash here!
As a special treat, the art for this article was a collaboration between myself and the amazing Sean Hartter! I hope you all dig it!
Well that brings my Top 10 films to a close. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the list (and your lists as well!) Stay Spooky!