Also announced were The Morningside Phantasms, The Pheonixville Meteors, The Springwood Dream Warriors, Crystal Lake Juggernauts, Altair IV Robots, The Santa Carla Lost, Perfection Graboids, Dark Woods Force and The Haunted Hill Spectres
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!
Here we are once again Retro fiends, ready to dive into the strange cinematic world of Daniel Th1rte3n! Last time I talked about my number 10 pick, the futuristic superhero, Inframan! This time I talk about a hero from the past…who may actually be from the future after all…Confused? Read on and nothing will be made clearer, for my number 9 pick is Yor: The Hunter from the Future!
I first became aware of Yor’s world (more on that in a bit) when my parents took me to the drive-in to catch a double bill of Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone and Krull. Sandwiched between the films, in amongst invitations to have all manner of culinary wonders, was a trailer for what appeared to be the greatest film a Savage Sword reading, dinosaur loving kid could ever see! A blonde version of Conan appeared, firing laser guns, fighting dinosaurs (not to mention using them for hang gliders), and battling blue skinned cave men as well as torch bearing mummies…there was also some business involving a rocket ship and a medallion. Let me tell you, dear readers, my head nearly exploded.
For weeks after, Yor was all I could talk about. I begged to see it with such fevered abandon that my parents had no choice but to agree to take me to see it as soon as it arrived at the drive-in…except it never did. I waited patiently, checking the newspaper daily, to no avail. But one fateful Saturday morning I switched on the TV to be greeted by the stirring opening note’s of the De Angelis Brother’s Yor’s World, and for the next eighty-eight minutes I was transported to a land where anything could happen, and it often did…with no thought to rationality!
The film begins with Yor, a wandering barbarian with no memory of his past save for a strange medallion he wears, gingerly circumventing some rocks as his theme song plays, assuring us that this is Yor’s World (although as a kid I misheard the words as Yorswald…I just assumed that was his full name…). Yor soon rescues an elderly caveman named Pag and his comely charge Ka-Laa from a dinosaur that seems to be equal parts triceratops and stegosaurus. Yor is welcomed as a hero by their village, but the celebrations are cut short as a gang of murderous blue cavemen appear and steal Ka-Laa while murdering everyone in the village (save Pag and Yor who escape). Yor vows to rescue Ka-Laa which he does in the most spectacularly jaw dropping fashion imaginable…he turns a downed dinosaur/bat creature into a hang glider which he flies with pin point precision into the blue caveman’s lair (as his theme song cues up once again)!
As the story progresses, Yor encounters: a strange race of mummies, led by a blonde woman with a medallion similar to his own, a tribe of islanders whose entire village is wiped out by laser fire after an incident involving a “damn talking box!”, and a high tech facility where he learns that the prehistoric world he inhabits is in fact our Earth after being destroyed by a nuclear holocaust. We also shouldn’t forget the robots and the evil Overlord.
Now to give credit where credit is due, Yor’s disjointed quality is derived partially from the fact that the film was edited from a four hour miniseries shown on Italian television, but the film is an amazing amount of fun! If you’d like to make the journey to Yor’s World yourself, the film is available on DVD, and can be purchased here!
Next up a caving expedition goes off course and falls right into Lovecraft territory. Stay Spooky!