This, my friends, is a ‘cinematic experience’. This, my friends, is 1978’s ‘Starcrash’, a movie that should’ve theoretically closed the door on all ‘Star Wars’ copies but instead threw that bitch wide open. Theory being ‘if they can do this, then we can too because we can’t do worse’. And while I doubt, with all seriousness, that there’s a worse ‘Star Wars’ copy out there than ‘Starcrash’, not counting those Turkish rip-offs and ‘The Phantom Menace’, I challenge you to not experience this experience and not have your mind blown and your life permanently altered.
The good ship The Murray Leinster is doing some exploration when it’s attacked by some photoimposed red blobs from a lava lamp. It makes the members of the ship go nuts and then the ship explodes into space dust. Based on the gold helmets of the ship residents and the overacting of the guards going nuts and the lava lamp blobs… so far… best movie ever.
Next we meet the large, beautiful, unblinking eyes of our heroin Stella Star (Caroline Muro) and her navigator Akton (Marjoe Gortner). There are lots of reasons to see this movie, but the number one reason has to be watching Caroline Munro dress inappropriately and display her inability to grasp the admittedly difficult craft of acting. Stella and Akton, a pair of rouge scavengers, are on the run from the authorities led by Thor (Robert Tessier) and L the Redneck Robot. Seriously. Akton and Stella shake these fools by going into HyperSpace! Only to get caught. Sadly, Stella is forced into hard labor where she has to do some Sisyphus type shit and carry balls around while wearing leather straps barely covering her privates. Everybody else in this prison wears prison jumpsuits. Eventually Stella makes a break for it resulting in the deaths of just about everybody, including the poor prisoners, but Stella could care less and is on the run before she is snapped up by Thor and the L the redneck robot. They came to set her free on order of the Emperor. The murders of those guards and prisoners were completely unnecessary.
The Emperor of the First Circle of the Universe, as played with Shakespearean tragic remorse by Christopher Plummer, needs his son found considering he was the captain of that ship that blew up, and he needs to find the evil weapon of the evil Count Zarth Arn as played by Joe Spinell. Joe Freaking Spinell. A cat who spent the majority of his acting career playing gangsters and most notably the guy who made Rocky Balboa beat up people, is now playing an evil Space Count with Princess Leia side-buns. That’s outstanding.
Reunited, Stella and Akton, with their new friends L the Redneck Robot and Thor, must engage in all kinds of madness to save the universe. Amazons, Cavemen, Lava Lamp Blobs, stop motion robots with evil arching metal eyebrows and The Flying Claw just to name a few. And considering that Thor is played by the late Robert Tessier, who on his best day played a bad guy, you know he’s up to no good. And we still have to save the Emperor’s son… played by David Hasselfhoff! Right now you’re either thinking ‘Thank God I’ve already seen this movie’ or ‘Why has God abandoned me and not allowed be to see this movie?’
Make no doubt about it my friends, Luigi Cozzi’s ‘Starcrash’ is absolutely awful. If you saw ‘Star Wars’ in 1977 then saw this in ’78, chances are you would’ve shot Luigi Cozzi on sight. But if you saw this yesterday, being that I’m scribbling this 32 years after the fact, the joy delivered from this masterpiece is endless. We already mentioned Caroline Munro’s scintillating performance but Marjoe Gortner’s was equally amazing. Marjoe seemed to be on that stuff during the filming as he was prone to intense bouts of absolute giddiness followed by complete bewildered detachment. Almost as if he had no idea where he was, who that hot chick next to him was and why there were cameras in the distance pointed at him. Then there was the makeup artist who concluded that The Hoff wasn’t handsome enough and did everything in their power to make him look like a teenage girl. Eyeliner… please use responsibly. Christopher Plummer had this faraway look on his face, piercing blue eyes cutting through me from the television screen as if he was saying… ‘You’re mocking me, I know, but I’m getting paid for this where you paid to watch this. Who’s the idiot now?’ You got me there Mr. Plummer, you got me there.
Best part though? When the emperor froze time for three minutes so he and our heroes can escape the exploding planet. So he froze time with his time freeze ray for three minutes so they could get away, then before they left stood around and talked for about three minutes about how awesome the time freeze was.
Eventually they get off the exploding planet and the longest, lamest space battle will ensue complete with missiles that don’t have explosives but instead have people in them who get shot immediately when they pop out. Worst. Weapon. Ever. What kind of sense does that make? Wouldn’t it be easier to put explosive stuff in missiles instead of sitting ducks? It’s like me taking the gunpowder out of my bullet, putting a little bitty man in my bullet, taking the bullet out the gun, throwing the bullet at you, hope it lands on your shoulder and then having the little bitty man jump out the bullet and start shooting at you with his little bitty gun. ‘Starcrash’ baby. I will never be the same.