|Copyright 1979 New World Pictures
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 2 June 2007 (updated)
- Stella Star - Caroline Munro! She might be a smuggler, but she is the best pilot in the universe and, unlike certain unnamed carpenters, she looks great in a black "Leather Goddess of Phobos" outfit.
- Akton - His powers are nearly limitless, just like his perm. Dies gracefully (if having someone scribble white lines over you could be considered "graceful").
- Elle - Well, I'll be darned if he ain't the best durn southern Robot since that little feller in "The Black Hole." Destroyed, but rebuilt good as new and just as southern.
- Simon - David Hasselhoff! The Crown Prince of the Universe. Do not make fun of how much makeup he wears; it is obvious that he has had fencing lessons.
- The Emperor - Christopher Plummer! Have you ever been surprised by a respected actor appearing in a really awful film? Yeah, well, they have mortgage payments too.
- Thor - Bald chief of the intergalactic police. Unbeknownst to all the good guys (except Akton), he is a traitor. Shot full of death rays.
- Amazon Women, Jumping Cavemen, and Black-Clad Evil Minions - This movie has everything!
- Count Zartharn - He intends to overthrow the Emperor using his terrifying lava lamp weapon. Unfortunately, he is still aboard his space fortress when it explodes. That means he will probably not rule the universe.
|This is one of my favorite bad movies. It lacks any sense of reality, is rife with ridiculous dialog, and is filled with special effects that are extraordinary in their cheesiness. I have never grown tired of watching it and recommend it without reservation to anyone who enjoys other than fine films. Heck, even those who usually avoid the type of movies celebrated on this website should give it a try. It is that good at being bad. I love this movie. I wish it was a girl, so I could break her ankles and keep her chained to a bed in a remote cabin. There, with no worry of discovery, I could read her my poetry (about her) and feed her sauteed songbirds caught especially for her consumption.
I think I am going to cry.
Okay, creepy homages to "Misery" aside, you absolutely must see "Starcrash." Let me explain why.
People who love bad special effects will believe that they have died and gone to Heaven. Space is a glorious backdrop of colorful stars; it looks like somebody went nuts with a Lite Brite set (do not miss the constellation, in the shape of a "J," that is visible in almost every scene). Most of the explosions, including spacecraft being destroyed, are realized through impressive displays of fireworks. It is rare for more than five minutes to pass without a flurry of laser beams criss-crossing the screen that result in fantastic showers of sparklers when they hit. Last, but not least, are the spacecraft models. The ships are insane clumps of cans, thread spools, and spare parts from plastic model kits (including the old space shuttle Columbia kit that I built as a kid). Some of the sprues are just glued onto the outside of the models to add chaotic detail. I think I saw tank treads still attached to one sprue. The result is something shaped like the "spaceships" that are created by four-year-olds using basic LEGO blocks, except these masterpieces are painted a solid color.
The movie starts as an imperial DUPLO-class battlecruiser searches for Count Zarthan's secret base. Before the planet is pinpointed, the crew is attacked by the contents of a lava lamp. Three lifeboats manage to jettison before the doomed warship goes down with all hands.
Elsewhere in the universe, Stella and Akton are on the run from the intergalactic police. When Elle and Thor show up on Stella's videoscreen, the smugglers leap into hyperspace and start spouting incredible dialog at a frantic pace. They continously deliver crazy lines, with verve, for the rest of the film. Eventually, Stella does calm down and says a few lines without the need for an exclamation point, but Akton continues to speak like an overcaffeinated fiend until he finally fuzzes out (possibly a natural correcting effect of the universe - it probably realized that Akton was a mistake and simply erased him).
Getting off track here, but you have to understand what I mean by incredible dialog. I have watched thousands of these films. Very few movies reach the level of "Starcrash" in both the content and delivery of what is said by the characters and, when they do, it is only for short peaks. The bad movie dialog in "Starcrash" is like finding a plateau the height of Mount Everest.
During their flight, Stella and Akton encounter one of the launches we saw earlier. Stella swims across to investigate and discovers a lone survivor whose mind was damaged by exposure to the lava lamp weapon. The pair of rescuers are evaulating their new vegetable when Thor's fighters surround their ship. Stella is sentenced to life in prison at hard labor, while Akton gets off lightly with a two hundred and twenty-year sentence.
Prison life is not kind to Stella. She spends all day carrying a gurney loaded down with radium for the nuclear furnace. Not the best line of work for a woman who wears outfits that bare a lot of skin. Heh, maybe "life in prison" was something of a misnomer and "carrying radium fuel until you puke your internal organs out" is more accurate. The lovely criminal is spared the nuances of radiation poisoning after inciting a prison riot and escaping. She makes it out just in time; a prisoner shoots the reactor with a ray gun and the prison blows sky high. Then a ship lands directly in front of Stella. The Emperor's only son was aboard the lost battlecruiser and he is willing to pardon both of the smugglers if they help find the missing prince. Thor and Elle will accompany them on their quest.
Of course, the only individuals who can find the Emperor's son and destroy the Count's secret weapon are a pair of criminals, one of whom just contributed to the destruction of an imperial prison and contaminated half of a planet with radioactive fallout. It worked for "The Dirty Dozen" (except for the nuclear meltdown and ray guns).
Why not here?
Using data from the recovered launch, the searchers identify the location of the lost battlecruiser and the other two lifeboats. Stella and Elle investigate the first crash site. They find the launch, but they also encounter a party of Amazons on horseback. The female warriors appear benign until the group returns to the Amazon base. There, the queen, who appears to have a beef with Elle, blasts the robot with a laser pistol. Stella is subdued after an awesome judo chopping battle with the Amazons, but is saved from mind bending torture when Elle proves he not only looks like a Honda, he is also built like one. The pair beat a retreat to the ship, though they have a difficult time avoiding a colossal female robot that chases after them.
How do I know the robot is female? It has huge metal boobs, with caps for nipples. When was the last time you saw someone build a "male" robot with man boobs?
The second planet surveyed, where the battlecruiser crashed, is even more hazardous. It is a world covered by ice and snow. Once more, Stella and Elle venture out and locate the wreckage. This is also a bust, because the debris field is nothing more than some scraps of metal and frozen bodies. Unbeknownst to the away team, Thor has knocked Akton unconcious and taken control of the ship. Upon returning to the ship, Stella yells for Thor or Akton to open the outer hatch (yes, they are yelling to be heard though the hull) and is stunned when Thor tells her that he intends to be Zarthan's right hand man. A mysterious fault in the ship's computer prevents Thor from lifting off, but Stella is sure to freeze to death outside. Fortunately, Elle has a plan. He takes Stella's hand and both of them lay down on the snow. Using his circuits, he keeps her body temperature regulated to prevent death.
Years ago, the idea of Elle keeping Stella warm by holding her hand amused me. Recently, I read about a DOD project to improve the basic foot soldier (or Marine, as I would have it). One invention was a ball that could be cooled or heated. By holding the ball, a person's core body temperature was regulated, allowing them to survive in ice water or avoid heat exhaustion in a desert environment. Facinating stuff, but I still doubt that Elle's internal Stella heater would actually prevent death on a world where the temperature drops "thousands of degrees" at night.
If these people use Celsius, that means the temperature is below absolute zero.
Akton proves the old adage "You can't kill Marjoe Gortner with a stun wand set to 'slaughter'" when he sits back up and quickly defeats Thor. With the bald traitor out of the way, he contacts Elle and uses his fancy navigator powers to carefully thaw out Stella Star. Reduced by one, the party continues on to investigate the last planet on their list.
In case you were wondering, Akton is 95% McGuffin. He knew that Thor was a traitor because he can see into the future. In addition to his navigational expertise, he has powers too numerous to catalog. At any time, Akton might randomly manifest sine waves above his palm, repel death rays, thaw out a frozen friend, or wield a lightsaber (don't laugh, it happens). If he can also bake a quiche, this guy would be a natural for "The Bachelor."
The third planet is the most dangerous of them all. As our heroes approach, the scoutship is attacked by the lava lamp monsters. Our protagonists survive, though Stella screams a lot and Elle malfunctions. Otherwise, they emerge from the attack completely fine (personally, I think that Akton's mere presence saved them - he is highly resistant to anything from the 60's). For the last time, Elle follows Stella to the planet's surface. They locate the lifeboat, but they are attacked by a tribe of hopping cavemen. Elle is bashed apart and Stella captured. I am uncertain if the cavemen intended to use her for food or entertainment, but it is a moot point. Simon appears and zaps the cavemen with laser beams from an "energy mask." However, defeating the cavemen requires Akton to come charging to the rescue with his lightsaber.
Oh, by the way, Stella does not know that Simon is the Crown Prince of the Universe, yet. She is clued in after the trio locates the machinery that generates the hallucinatory lava lamp monsters. Yes, the weapon is nothing more than an illusion. Makes you wonder why it worked on Elle, doesn't it? No sooner does Simon say, "We need to destroy this machinery." than the Count, accompanied by a platoon of guards and two robots, enters the room. The evil tyrant wanted them to find his secret base. His plan is to lure the Emperor there and then activate the planet's self destruct, blowing all of his enemies to pieces, FOREVER! (There are a few times during the movie that the Count states he wants to blow someone to pieces "forever," as if that is often a temporary condition.) Anyway, the Count departs, leaving the two robots to prevent Simon and his compatriots from escaping. Akton challenges the automatons and is mortally wounded during the battle. Ignore the fact that a central character dies here, because the main attraction is David Hasselhoff using a lightsaber to fight stop motion robots!
Try saying that last line to someone who has never seen "Starcrash." People look at you as if a reproductive organ is growing out of your forehead.
Things look bleak, but the Emperor finally comes to the rescue and uses a nifty little ray that stops the flow of time, thus allowing everyone to escape before the planet explodes. With the Count mistakenly assuming that all of his enemies are dead, the time is perfect for a surprise attack. Imperial fighters swoop down on the Count's fortress, which looks like a claw and clenches into a fist during the battle, but the "torpedoes" are the best part of the battle. Golden torpedoes are fired at Zarthan's fortress. The missiles crash through glass windows and land in the Count's control room. Now, if these things were filled with baking soda and vinegar, one of them exploding would have killed Zartharn and wrecked the bridge. Instead, the torpedoes' tops flip open and two imperial troopers pop out of each one! A massive firefight erupts in the control room as the Count rallies his men with motivating quotes like, "Kill them! Kill them all!"
If you thought that Padawan Hasselhoff caused people to react with disbelief, you should see the look on somebody's face when a gold torpedo smashes through a window and men with laser carbines jump out. "What the HELL?" does not even begin to cover it. I have watched that scene countless times and it still causes me to collapse into giggles.
Eventually, the Emperor's forces are defeated. Saddened by the loss, but resolute to achieve victory, the Emperor proposes a desperate plan; they will use Starcrash. This impressive sounding term has a very simple meaning: they will ram the Count's space fortress with another, equally massive, object. Stella is the obvious choice for a pilot.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- You can build a model spaceship out of almost anything, even golf balls.
- Radium looks, in its natural state, like a huge bath bead.
- Running across a beach in high heel boots is not easy.
- In the future, nobody can count.
- Men with perms are immune to deadly lasers.
- Being frozen and then thawed out will not smear a woman's mascara.
- The most powerful weapon in the galaxy is a lava lamp.
- David Hasselhoff can shoot lasers from his eyes, but his aim sucks.
- It is possible to swim through space.
- 2 mins - Neither of these men have ever had acting lessons.
- 22 mins - If he was your only son and rightful heir to the universe, what were you thinking?
- 27 mins - Notice the forklift tracks in the sand next to the shuttle.
- 34 mins - How does the temperature drop thousands of degrees? You mean it falls below Absolute Zero?
- 38 mins - The special effects guy must be asleep; those clouds are blowing through the mountains.
- 46 mins - How does knowing that Thor was a traitor provide concrete proof he can see into the future? Hello?
- 52 mins - Elle was not seriously damaged by a laser rifle earlier, but a caveman with a club takes him out!
- 75 mins - WHAT? The torpedo crashes through the window of the Count's fortress, no decompression occurs, and men jump out of it?
- 76 mins - Wait, did I just say window? Who put a window there?
- Stella: "What in the universe is that?"
- Stella: "Open this hatch!"
Stella: "Where's Akton?"
Thor: "Akton is dead and I'm leaving to join Count Zartharn as the Prince of the League of Darkness."
- Stella: "I can't. I can't leave you. You're the only human-like friend I've ever had. I don't understand. You never die..."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Stella: "Have you both gone mad?" |
Elle: "I only have logic and emotion circuits, no room for craziness. We have all been assigned to a top secret imperial mission. We must now leave and set Akton free."
||Akton: "We've just survived an attack of the most powerful weapon in the entire galaxy!" |
Stella: "We have?"
Akton: "Yeah. Count Zartharn, watch out!"
||Simon: "My name is Simon. I'm the only survivor from the wreck of an imperial mission." |
Stella: "Are you really? We've been searching for you all over these damned haunted stars."
||Zartharn: "Now, set the doom machine against the imperial space station itself. How long will it take?" |
Trooper: "Fifteen minutes."
Zartharn: "Then set it in motion. I want to wipe out the Emperor from the whole of the universe!"
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Watch as forces loyal to the Emperor press their attack on the Count's fortress. The good guys shoot "torpedoes" at the Count's ship, these "torpedoes" crash through plate glass windows, and MEN JUMP OUT! Holy freaking cow! How can you not love this movie?
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
Reply #57. Posted on February 16, 2009, 12:47:18 AM by Phaux The Fox
Posted on February 16, 2009, 05:54:55 PM by Flangepart
Media Center Theater 3000...not bad.
How can a true mistie avoid the desire to riff like the masters? Not at all!
Reply #59. Posted on March 29, 2009, 10:45:48 AM by RichXXIII
I am embarrassed to admit that I like this movie on a non-ironic level. As a pre-teen, I developed this idiotic little boy crush on Caroline Munro after she had a swimsuit photo spread in some cheapo sci-fi magazine after she was in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, a Bond film and had just shot Starcrash. So, imagine my delight when this stinkbomb landed at my local movie theater. I saw it and not only loved seeing Caroline in it, but for some reason liked the cheapness of the special effects. I thought the multi-colored stars were especially inspired - like cheap Christmas lights.
And the movie had plenty of exposed female flesh, so I was doubly interested.
This movie's hard to find now (Netflix doesn't even have it!). I saw it about ten years ago on VHS and experienced a mixture of embarrassed revulsion and nostalgia and noted that Caroline Munro can still make my heart flutter, even in those stupid costumes and spouting horrid dialog.
Reply #60. Posted on June 30, 2009, 09:30:28 AM by RC
I remember going to see this movie when I was younger. Hmmm...this may explane alot.
Anyway, after seeing it again, I have to marvel at one simple, yet oh so important, point: It is amazing that torpedos full of soldiers can crash thru ornate plate glass windows and NOT cause deadly decompression.
At least the Hoff traded up from bad makeup to a talking car, and then later to wearing red lifeguard trunks. Kinda explanes why he gets so drunk so often...memories are a really bad thing.
Reply #61. Posted on August 30, 2009, 03:52:15 PM by HerrSerker
When I first saw this movie emerald, it was on a Saturday afternoon before Pentecost on a German cable broadcaster. And I liked it. But I immediately fell in love with it as the torpedo scene was shown. So hilarious! Such a smack in the face to any rational thinking human being! And so likable! They repeated it the night after and I darted to my VCR to record it. Then I phoned to my best mate and told him about it. He also fell in love the next second. For the both of us it is the best movie ever filmed and we could see it over and over again without boring the heck out of us. I even purchased the original score soundtrack on vinyl without me having a record player at all, such is my appreciation. And I tell everybody, how great this film is. They look at me, like I
flew over the cuckoo's nest. Even more as I mention the role of Mr. Hasselhoff (who is not
—God be blessed—King of Germany [we are a democracy, you know
] but thinks he teared down the iron curtain with his song 'I've been looking for a freedom'
) But of course there is gorgeous Hillary Clinton, err ... I mean Carolin Munroe, and there is the terrible stop motion and sticks in front of stars and terrible actors and a plot that was not there and the crappy dialogue. The film has it all. Sex and Violence!
Did you notice that one can recognize David Hasselhoof without seeing his face under the mask by just seeing the way he moves?
One best part of it—I can't tell if this one is only in the German version—when Simon tells Stella to stay close behind him and shoves her in front of himself the next second
To all bad movie lovers, this is the very best, the pinnacle, the Mt. Everest with no oxygen. Watch it! Now!
Reply #62. Posted on August 30, 2009, 04:17:32 PM by HerrSerker
Wow I love this. I'm high on pills and alcohol, and wow.
"These deadly rays will be your death." - A(c)kton
One of the best qoutes ever.
Actually I believe the quote was
"Impossible! Nothing can stop these deadly rays!"
Thor said the latter and Akton responded the former
Reply #63. Posted on August 30, 2009, 06:42:02 PM by HerrSerker
And finally, think of what the term might stand for and what the emperor had planned with the floating city in the final battle: a 4-dimensional attack. This means, or should mean, that the floating city as a huge mass should jump into hyperspace and re-enter into normal space just a tick before the count's HQ so that he cannot dodge anymore. This should be the whole intention of the film but, as we can see, there is no hyperspace in the final scenes—this is not because they haven't invented it yet in the future, of course we have seen hyperspace at least twice in this movie before (every time looking different). So what about the Starcrash idea? It's gone! Phooey!
Reply #64. Posted on November 21, 2009, 05:29:06 AM by butcherbaby
haha! i am seriously ROFLMAO at your review! i saw this piece of dreck with my brother when it came out, we were about 11/12 at the time. we were star wars FREAKS and eager to see anything even remotely of the sci fi vein. even so, we were appalled by this film and immediately denounced it as the crappiest film ever made. to put that in perspective, we had seen the abominable "star wars holiday special" when it aired and LOVED it. for something to be even worse than that, well, that takes some real effort. you know when a movie full of half-naked chicks is totally despised by a boy on the verge of adolescence, that it is really, REALLY bad.
and you forget one thing that we caught right away as kids....not only was there a laser battle every five minutes, stella also seemed to change her outfit every five minutes as well. that was just as WTH for us as the two man torpedos.
i have to say that the ONLY good thing about that movie, when we saw it, was that it was playing as a double feature with ralph bakshi's animated 'lord of the rings'. though we found it rather confusing, it still interested us enough to go seek out the books, and turned me into a hardcore tolkien fan for life.
after reading your wonderful article, it brought back a lot of memories of the film-mainly of how much trash we talked about it for years to come. i don't think i've ever actually met anyone in real life who has ever even heard of this film, let alone seen it. maybe they just don't want to admit it?
after reading this, i think that i need to find it and watch it again just for the laughs.
and i agree with those who have no idea why it was never featured on MST2K, because it's like it it was custom made for such a thing!
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