11th Sep2017

‘Starcrash’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Caroline Munro, David Hasslehoff, Christopher Plummer, Marjoe Gortner, Robert Tessier, Joe Spinell, Nadia Cassini, Judd Hamilton, Hamilton Camp | Written by Luigi Cozzi, Nat Wachsberger | Directed by Lewis Coates (aka Luigi Cozzi)

starcrash-blu

The entire galaxy is in peril and infamous space-smuggler Stella Star, the greatest star pilot ever to command a vessel, is its only hope. The evil Count Zartharn from the League of the Dark Worlds has constructed a weapon of unlimited power capable of destroying anything in its path. Our heroine Stella Star and her loyal crew must navigate the darkest corners of the solar system to find the Count’s hideout and bring his reign of terror to an end.

The success of George Lucas’ Star Wars in 1977 led to a myriad of clones and quick cash-ins, the most famous (or infamous) of which was Starcrash. A heady mix of Barbarella, Star Wars and even the films of Ray Harryhausen, the movie is one of those films that people speak about under their breath for fear of being ridiculed, yet somehow still has a cult following – becoming more beloved for it sheer campness rather than its production values and story.

Where to start with Starcrash? Well if you’ve seen Star Wars you already know the plot – evil villain trying to take over the galaxy, a group of rebels band together to take him on. Only this time our heroes are led by a female protagonist in the Barbarella mold rather than a Han Solo type; the rest of our heroes are rounded out by a galactic prince (rather than Princess Leia); a C3PO style droid that looks like Darth Vader and speaks with a Texan(!) accent rather than British; an Obi-Wan-meets-Luke character that, despite his force-like psychic powers, still dies at the end of the movie; Starcrash even features a Lando-style twist ala Empire Strikes Back before the idea was even a blink in Lucas’ eye!

If you’ve never seen Starcrash then prepare to be astounded and amazed at its awesomeness sheer ineptitude! With bizarre and cheap special effects that look like they stepped off an early 50s movie serial: including the oft-quoted “Lite-Bright” star backdrops, to missiles that look like something out of Flash Gordon – and in what is the most weird sight ever, said missiles don’t explode but rather land and soldiers jump out!! It’s truly hard to describe just how bad the effects of Starcrash are…

But despite the poor quality of the script, the film stock, the effects, hell EVERYTHING!, there’s still a strange endearing charm to Starcrash that’s hard to pinpoint. Forget any ironic camp throwbacks to films of this ilk (Space Babes anyone?), believe me, and stick with the cheesy originals, which are certainly hard to beat. Of all the rip-offs and quick cash-in’s that followed Star Wars, Starcrash is easily the cheapest and worst made – but goddamn if it isn’t entertaining!

Last released 10 years ago(!) on DVD by Pegasus Entertainment, this new Blu-ray release of Starcrash – from new UK distributor Stratx (well I say new but rumour has it these guys are anything but) – isn’t much of an improvement. If you don’t own the US “Roger Corman Collection” Blu-ray or aforementioned DVD then *maybe* this is worth the upgrade. But otherwise stick to what you have.

Starcrash is out on Blu-ray now.

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