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Let's talk about "Starcrash".
June 26, 2014 7:58 PM   Subscribe

We have previously discussed "Starcrash" (trailer) here on the Blue, but we have only scratched the surface. After all, we're talking about nothing less than Roger Corman's answer to "Star Wars", and even that description does not do the film justice.

Let's start with our cast: Our female lead is a former Bond girl who is required to strip down to a black Barbarella outfit about ten minutes in and pretty much stays that way for the rest of the film. Her navigator is a former child evangelist who disclosed all his money-bilking secrets in an infamous Oscar winning documentary. David Hasselhoff, then just 26 years old, gets to fight robots with a lightsaber. The villian is named Zarth Arn and is played by one of the assassins in "The Godfather" (and is a reliable scene-chewer). And we haven't gotten to the robot that talks like a Texas sheriff.

Of the larger talent in the film, Christopher Plumber wanders in looking stoned and dressed for a production of "Julius Caesar" and can vocally stop time. And John Barry (!) composed the memorable soundtrack that attempts to imbue majesty on star fields made of multicolored Christmas lights.

Yet despite (or because of) all this silliness, the film is very watchable and entertaining. Those who bear witness to the film give it props for really going for broke while other copycat films of the period would rather half-ass it (though some apologists get a little carried away).

For those who wish to see it for yourself, Netflix has it streaming and it can also be found on YouTube.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (41 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I cant imagine watching the whole movie. I couldn't get through the trailer. Yikes! I think this may be a better movie to read about than actually watch, the linked articles are amazing.

Why Star Crash is better than Star Wars:
Reason 6. THE DIALOGUE IS PURE POETRY
Christopher Plummer gets the movie’s best single line of dialogue and he gives it the full dramatic sound and fury that a great Shakespearean would: “Imperial Battleship, halt the flow of time!”


Yep, that's some fun reading.
posted by cccorlew at 8:15 PM on June 26


Never has a movie been so deserving of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. Unsurprisingly, fans have given doing so the old college try.
posted by belarius at 8:16 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


As I recall, this "film" contains the best line in all of SciFi:

"Ready the Doom Weapon!"

(You should now realize what you're getting into if you choose to watch this without the help of two snarky robot friends made from special parts.)
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:18 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


I have seen this. It's tons of fun, but lacks a certain lucidity. I could write more, but I'm going to have to see it again to refresh my memory.

So long as we're talking bizarre and silly movies, a friend tipped me off to War of the Robots last week. And of course, tomorrow we're covering Robot Monster for the weekly MST3K FanFare viewing....
posted by JHarris at 8:21 PM on June 26


I saw this at The Village 8 theater in St. Matthews when it was first released. I can't remember anything about it, except Caroline Munro. Who could forget Caroline Munro?
posted by valkane at 8:30 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


If this movie draws no comparisons to Laserblast then I don't know if I can accept it as any answer to Star Wars.
posted by loukasven at 8:33 PM on June 26


As I recall, this "film" contains the best line in all of SciFi:

"Ready the Doom Weapon!"


I vote for: "Bring me . . . the bore-worms."

Or possibly: "Here, put this on. It was my mother's. She was buried in it."
 
posted by Herodios at 8:33 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Marjoe Gortner in this thing? I know, I know, I should click the links, but I'm trying to spur these aging brain cells into something like remembering stuff.

Yeah, he was in it. Wikipedia says he was an itinerant hippie. So he's got that going for him.
posted by valkane at 8:42 PM on June 26


"Ready the Doom Weapon!"

No, the best line is "Imperial battleship, halt the flow of time!" I first saw this movie at a summer "nerd camp" for middle/high school students, and that line was something of a catch phrase for everyone there. Half-waiting for some old camp friends to come out of the woodwork in this friend and announce themselves in this thread, because the internet's tiny like that.
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:43 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Holy crap. It looks like the highest budget Roger Corman movie of all time.

Low expectations or not, I'm impressed.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:47 PM on June 26


“Imperial Battleship, halt the flow of time!”

Not quite correct. The proper line is:

"IMPERIAL BATTLESHIP!!! HALT—the flow...of time!"

posted by Iridic at 8:48 PM on June 26 [13 favorites]


I now wish to stride around imperiously wearing a cape.
posted by arcticseal at 8:49 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Laserblast does have one of my favorite pieces of cover art ever.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:58 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Well, it's no Battle Beyond the Stars.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:22 PM on June 26 [9 favorites]


"Stop! No one can survive these deadly rays!"

"These deadly rays... will be YOUR death."
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:33 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


That trailer was fairly impressive. Well done 1979 Roger Corman, well done.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 9:34 PM on June 26


I've always wanted to read a blog where every week they review another one of these weird Star Wars knockoffs. Start with the US ones, and work their way out to the truly wtf non-enlish language ones.

Because I swear every time I hear about one, it's another one I haven't heard of. Even on netflix I think there's gotta be at least like 5, even just available to stream much less DVD.
posted by emptythought at 10:43 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


How come I have never heard of Starcrash before?
It looks awesome. Some high quality cheese to look forward to.
posted by dougzilla at 12:13 AM on June 27


I don't understand how movies and TV shows can try so hard to so slavishly copy Star Wars so exactly, but insist on copying all the wrong things in all the wrong ways, all while making an major effort to put back in all the painfully-70s artifacts and stylings that Star Wars was trying to avoid.
It's like oh hey - "Frozen" was a big success - let's tap that demographic by making a movie about frozen stuff, starriing Kim Kardashian as A Friendly Ice-Witch singing "Let it snow".... Wait - something's missing... oh I know - she has a pet snowball called Snowy, and she lives in, like, France! Nailed it!
posted by anonymisc at 12:30 AM on June 27


I don't understand how movies and TV shows can try so hard to so slavishly copy Star Wars so exactly, but insist on copying all the wrong things in all the wrong ways, all while making an major effort to put back in all the painfully-70s artifacts and stylings that Star Wars was trying to avoid.

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
posted by mikelieman at 12:43 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I saw this at a drive-in in my mid-teens. It was a double feature withLaserblast. I read a lot of Starlog And Cinefex. This was one more brick in a long long wall.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:48 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I don't understand how movies and TV shows can try so hard to so slavishly copy Star Wars so exactly, but insist on copying all the wrong things in all the wrong ways, all while making an major effort to put back in all the painfully-70s artifacts and stylings that Star Wars was trying to avoid.


They just didn't give a crap. When you churn stuff out as fast and cheap as Corman did, you don't have time to worry about such things.
posted by octothorpe at 4:20 AM on June 27


I remember going to the theater to see this with my parents. About all I actually remember was the hand-shaped ship. Clearly I either need to watch it again, or never watch it again... I'm not sure which.
posted by Foosnark at 6:20 AM on June 27


Starcrash is one of those films that was better in theory than in practice. A frantic attempt to make Star Wars by throwing everything at the screen without much coherency or vision. It does have some fun moments though, the battle where the attackers board the ship by firing missiles containing troops through the windows(!) stands out in my mind.

But it suffers from the talk-is-cheap problem that most low budget knockoffs have - everyone is constantly talking about what a huge adventure they are experiencing and how much trouble they are having without the film actually showing much of it. Best watched with friends and beer - bring plenty of each.self-link review
posted by AndrewStephens at 6:32 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Movies like this remind you as to how deft a balancing act Star Wars (A New Hope) really was. Lucas managed to make a fond tribute to bad forties and fifties sci-fi movies without it being cheesy itself.
posted by octothorpe at 6:38 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Wait, did I make this post in my sleep? Thanks for making this, AMFBI! I love, love, LOVE this movie in all its delirious spaghetti space western-meets-Ray Harryhausen glory. This movie played a big part in my teen years, and I have managed to make all of my BFs watch it (for better and for worse). Both my younger siblings were subjected to it multiple times as well.

For all of you quoting that awesome line from the Christopher Plummer the Blinking Emperor, you didn't include this part that comes just prior: "You know, my son, I wouldn't be Emperor of the Galaxy if I didn't have a few powers at my disposal."

I know that I wrote about it on my blog many years ago, but am having trouble finding a link.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:52 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I'm just a few years too young for this (or the original Star Wars) to be something I saw in theatres, but one of my earliest film going memories is seeing Ice Pirates on the big screen. Is 1984 the end of the era of Star Wars knock offs?
posted by thecjm at 8:28 AM on June 27


I have this on DVD.

AndrewStephens has a sense of it with "throwing everything at the screen." I couldn't really tell you the overall plot, but I could list a bunch of individual sequences that occur.

Space is very colourful, I would like to see more space that looks like that.
posted by RobotHero at 9:21 AM on June 27


Even my 11 year old impressible self knew this was shit. Especially after watching Star Wars 3 times.

On the other hand, women in Bikinis.
posted by fordiebianco at 9:59 AM on June 27


Poor Akton. The downside of having the power to do whatever is needed to advance the plot is that you can literally die of becoming unnecessary to the narrative.
posted by ckape at 11:44 AM on June 27


octothorpe: "They just didn't give a crap. When you churn stuff out as fast and cheap as Corman did, you don't have time to worry about such things."

They Just Didn't Care

posted by Chrysostom at 11:58 AM on June 27


I just started watching this. Oh my god. As said above, by taking all the crappiest parts of Star Wars, they really managed to accentuate how good the good parts of Star Wars are. This really does need an MST3K/Cinematic Titanic/Rifftrax treatment (I really don't care which one, just somebody do it please!).
posted by gc at 1:41 PM on June 27


I've slipped Starcrash in at the end of the MST3K FanFare Robot Monster stream, it'll probably cycle through once or so before the main event.
posted by JHarris at 1:49 PM on June 27


So why is the lady dressed like Sean Connery in Zardoz?
posted by gc at 1:54 PM on June 27


Why isn't everyone?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:28 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


This movie is horrible. I can't believe you made me watch this. This is your fault, Metafilter.

I can't wait to show it to everybody.
posted by sixohsix at 2:49 PM on June 27 [6 favorites]


I just watched it. It's awesome.

In the opening scene, a nameless guard approaches through a corridor and enters a turbo-lift-like capsule. The capsule rotates very very slowly through 90 degrees, delivering the guard to a second corridor.

So, instead of walking down the hall and simply hanging a left to continue onward, the guard spends 20 seconds standing motionless in a rotating room.

And then, at the end of the second corridor, he climbs a flight of stairs.
posted by rlk at 6:07 PM on June 27 [6 favorites]


As has already been alluded to, if you read Starlog magazine in the late 70's, you knew about this and the other English language knock-offs. Getting to actually see them when you lived in a rural area with two theaters and a shuttered drive-in - now that was the hard part. We praised The Lord loud and hard when video rental finally came around...
posted by jkosmicki at 6:18 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


We're watching it now in the MST room. Yeah, just as goofy as I remembered.
posted by JHarris at 7:36 PM on June 27


I too am no longer a Starcrash virgin. Thanks Obama MetaFilter!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:37 PM on June 28


Also, the evil count has the BEST maniacal laugh. Plus the aforementioned cape striding abilities.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:13 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


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