Star Crash is an obvious Star Wars rip-off, designed to spend as little money as possible while cashing in on the space opera craze of the late 70’s. However, being a good Italian knock-off this pasta production doesn’t focus on the destiny of some blonde haired farm boy. Instead, Star Crash‘s story revolves around adventures of Stella Star (Caroline Munro). She’s a sexy, star fighter on the run. Joined by her faithful navigator Akton, played by former child evangelist Marjoe Gortner, Stella Starr cruises the galaxy out running interstellar police for no apparent reason. My gues is that she’s wanted for wearing skimpy space bikinis or for her poor acting abilities. If asked what makes Stella a rebel, I imagine that director Luigi Cozzi would explain it by saying, “Forget about it, just watch her jiggle.”
Watching flesh shake in zero-G’s is not enough entertainment for a full feature length film, so like all good space adventures you need a force of evil to reckon with. Star Crash is in lucky because they have Joe Spinell (Maniac) on set to chew through scenery. Playing the part of the evil and rather flamboyant Count Zartharn, Joe Spinell quickly realizes just what sort of picture Star Crash is destined to be and he lets loose with a one of a kind over the top performance. Sadly, no one told the slumming Christopher Plummer (Sound of Music) that Star Crash was going to be a stellar dud and the man pours heart and soul into his performance. Playing the part of The Emperor, Plummer tackles the role as if it were King Lear or MacBeth, which only adds to the hilarity. But as long as David Hasslehoff has the part of the Emperor’s only son and sole survivor of a brutal attack by Count Zartharn’s ultimate weapon, no one has to worry about delivering the worst performance in the film. Hasslehoff wins that award before he even opens his mouth. He also wins the award for most eyeliner worn by an actor, beating out both Marjoe Gortner and Caroline Munro.
And what sort of space adventure would be complete without robots? You’ve got to have robots. You need funny robots, you need evil robots, and you need…Well, that’s about it. Star Crash has both, but it also has a robot with metal breasts, robots made from spare Erector set parts, and a robot with a Southern drawl. It’s the last robot that really makes the film. A robot masculine robot with the feminine name, Elle appears to be a menacing figure, but his tall, dark looks are quickly undercut my his nervous, moronic lines of dialog. Each line a choice invitation to shoot beer through your noise. But one must put down their beer when Christopher Plummer trumps all of Elle’s dialog by commanding his Imperial Battleship to halt the flow of time. That’s the sort of dialog only a true actor like Plummer could deliver without cracking up.
While the dialog alone is enough to make you thank your patron saint that Roger Corman released this hunk of space junk, Star Crash wouldn’t be Star Crash if it weren’t for the kind of special effects that place a heavy emphasis on the word “special”. Just like some Olympics are special, the effects in Star Crash all deserve a medal and a hug. Where else but in the wacky universe of Star Crash can you find a strand of multi-colored Christmas lights used as a starfield? Where else can you find Revell model kits poorly reworked into oddly shaped starships, one that has the name Murray Leinster stenciled on its engine? Where else are you going to find torpedoes that…Well, I don’t want to ruin that surprise. Just put down that beer once again when you see space torpedoes.
Of course, I’m making this sound like Star Crash is all silly fun and games, but like Turkish Star Wars there is a message. And, while it is a message dubbed into English it is no easier to understand than that of Turkish Stars Wars, but for prosperity’s sake I include that special message here, for all to study and share – though I could never deliver it with all the conviction and grace that Christopher Plummer pours into each work:
Well, it’s done…It’s happened…The stars are clear…The planets shine…We’ve won…Oh, some dark force no doubt will show its face once more…The wheel will always…turn. But, for now it’s calm. And, for a little time…at least…we can rest
Truer words have never been spoken. After a night of Turkish Star Wars and Star Crash a little rest is just what I need. For no doubt next week two dark forces will be shown.