Wanted smugglers Stella Star (Caroline Munro) and her navigator Akton (Marjoe Gortner) are caught unawares during an unscheduled pit stop and finally taken into custody by the dedicated law-bot Elle (Judd Hamilton) after a long space chase. Convicted of their crimes, both are found guilty and sentenced to hard labor on separate planets.
Unwilling to be a slave to the system that incarcerated her, Stella attempts to make plans for an escape with her fellow inmates, subsequently attracting the attention of a guard and setting off a riot. The raucous battle gives her the perfect opportunity to slip away unnoticed and make a break for it but her freedom is cut short when Elle’s ship arrives. This time instead of locking her up though he brings an offer of amnesty for both smugglers from the Emperor (Christopher Plummer) himself so long as she and Akton agree to locate the Emperor’s son (David Hasselhoff) while searching for the location of Count Zarth Arn’s (Joe Spinell) “doom machine!”
Now Stella, Akton, Elle and his co-pilot Thor head out on an adventure to a group of planets nestled amongst The Haunted Stars. Each planet is more dangerous than the next, each featuring bizarre environments and creatures, and as they close in on the whereabouts of the Emperor’s son, they also find themselves closer to discovering the location of the evil Count’s device.
The very universe is at stake and only a Starcrash may save them all! Can Stella and her crew of dedicated heroes stop Darth…er…Zarth from dethroning The Emperor and crowning himself Lord of the Universe?
Luigi Cozzi, under the nom de plume Lewis Coates, has crafted something so inept, so mind-bogglingly trashy that one can only watch in equal parts amazement and shock as this steaming Star Wars rip-off hurls itself toward a great big cinematic fan. Never have I found myself so engaged by something so shitty, I simply could not take my eyes off of this film. I’m not new to Cozzi’s horrid work but never did I expect something so epically bad. Why in hell didn’t I turn this off? Was it Caroline Munro’s mouth-watering ‘space assets,’ the fantastic stop-motion animation or Joe Spinell’s painfully ugly Count Zarth? What exactly was it about Starcrash that I found so appealing?
I could probably just blame it all on my taste for trash cinema but the truth is it was just plain fun in a completely gonzo way, like those lame sci-fi serials of the 30′s. It featured wild, colorful lighting, inventive outfits (especially Caroline’s) and some cool monsters and robots. Considering this was a low budget exploitation film, expecting actual Star Wars caliber anything here would have been delusional but the special effects were quite impressive anyhow. Honestly I knew I’d be getting bad but this film is on a level of bad all its own. I kept wondering as the film progressed whether there really was a script at all because it plods about as if the cast and crew were making it up as they went along.
One particular sequence stands out to me as one of the stupidest I’ve ever seen involving torpedoes being launched at Count Zarth’s “Hand Lair.” Each torpedo slams through the hull of the ship, landing almost directly beneath the Count’s feet…and then…instead of exploding as torpedoes often do, they open up to reveal…ARMED IMPERIAL SOLDIERS. Wait, you fire torpedoes at your enemy loaded with…men? Not explosives? A civilization capable of temporarily stopping time and building floating cities hasn’t figured out what to put inside their torpedoes?
Truly this film is a gem of stupidity.
Starcrash features startlingly crappy acting and it’s only made worse by the dialogue, gross hair styles and leather man-thongs. You’re either going to love this film as the pantload it is or you’ll hate every minute of it, I just don’t see there being any middle ground. I can’t recommend it to general cinema viewers but I do wholeheartedly endorse the film and recommend it to trash/cult cinema fans and collectors. Shout! Factory has put together a fabulous 2-Disc release here overflowing with extras galore; it’s obviously a labor of love and one that should be appreciated by those capable of doing so. It doesn’t get any more comprehensive than this so grab it while you can!
While I don’t believe in the whole “so bad it’s good” shit that embarrassed cult cinema fans use to excuse the junk they love, this really does have to be seen to be believed because it is the best damn bad to be had.