Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Favorite Era: Starcrash (1979)

Once again we venture into the world of cheesy Italian versions of hit movies with the wonderfully daft riff on Star Wars, Starcrash.  Caroline Munro (herself alone worth giving this film a good review) is Stella Star, our ostensible hero for the evening though she doesn't do nearly as much as one would expect from a lead character.  Joining her in her fight against evil are former child evangelist Marjoe Gortner as Akton, her mysterious alien sidekick, Judd Hamilton as a robotic cop and the immortal David Hasslehoff.

Opposing them is the evil Lord Zarth Arn, overlord of the universe, played by the late Joe Spinell and Christopher Plummer also has a supporting role as Emperor of the universe.  Add to that a soundtrack from John Barry and  this easily beats seven shades of crap out of Galaxina!

Not that that's a tall order, as anyone who has seen that film (including myself) will tell you.

Luigi Cozzi directs and I have to say that he may be my favorite director of Italian genre pictures, right along with Lucio Fulci and Enzo Castellari.  When you go into one of his sci-fi movies, you pretty much know what you're going to get.  Cheesily awesome starscapes (he uses the same ones here that he does in the Hercules movies), lots of action and blissful insanity.

The plot is fairly episodic as Stella and Akton are enlisted by Plummer's Emperor to find his missing son Simon (The Hoff!) and stop Zarth Arn and his super weapon (concealed in a planet), going to several different planets and getting into wild, cheesily fun battles.  To be honest, the plot of the actual Star Wars movies aren't much more deep than this one.  The only real difference is one of budget as the pacing here is just as breakneck.

Munro is hot as usual, though her voice is dubbed for some odd reason, as is Joe Spinell's.  Actually, in the case of Joe I can see it since an evil overlord of the universe probably shouldn't sound like a numbers guy from Brooklyn.  Come to think of it, I think most of the actors are dubbed here.

Still, even dubbed the guy manages to deliver a wonderfully hammy performance, even if he doesn't really do all that much besides stalk around his fist shaped ship (because he's evil) and shout.

The rest of the cast has fun too with Gortner turning in a wooden but entertaining performance, Plummer doing his usual and...Well, that's about it really.  Hasslehoff doesn't get to do much but the simple fact that he's there makes this a must-see for fans of cheese.  To be fair, he does take a turn with a lightsaber, so there's that...Which is nice.

Action is pretty damn good, some nice space battles and one scene where Akton cuts loose with a lightsaber.  It's just simply, goofy fun.

The same can be said for the movie as a whole.  Sure, the f/x are cheap, the plot is goofy, the dialogue inane and the acting wooden but honestly, it's such a blast to watch it just doesn't matter.  Pacing is good, Caroline Munro is scantily clad throughout, we get giant robots, Amazons, if nothing else it's a lot more fun that The Phantom Menace!

Starcrash is one of the more entertaining bad films you will find.  It's worth checking out, just don't expect anything brilliant.


  1. It is one of the best out there, I agree. Cozzi's rip of of Alien/s, Contamination being a, close second. Cozzi claims (in the book Curved Space) that he hadn't seen the movie yet, only read reviews etc. before making Starcrash. All the better, he gets to draw ideas from all sorts of sources other than the original and come up with something better than all of them.

  2. Agreed, I think the film is all the better for that. Sometimes it really helps to be unfamiliar with the original source material.


About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.