For Your Awareness: Starcrash (1978)

In 1977, the world of sci-fi would forever change with the introduction of the masterpiece Star Wars.  It would be a harbinger of great and well-known space exploration movies, such as Alien and Serenity.  These movies in their own right would receive critical acclaim and advance what viewers came to expect from special effects in space movies.  This blog is not in any way about such a film, instead; it is about a little known Star Wars rip-off called Starcrash, a film that was directed and produce by Italians, but involved a slew of American and British actors.  However, to call it a rip-off is a bit problematic, because to be fair, the producers of Starcrash realized the imminent success of the Star Wars franchise and rushed a film into production.  Using a large amount of character arcs and plot twists from the now famous franchise, Starcrash exists as one of those so terrible it is endearing films that makes its rounds at midnight movie showings and on best cult classics lists.  It appears to border between taking itself completely seriously and not trying to push itself beyond its clearly restrained budget.  Furthermore, you can imagine that any movie involving David Hasselhoff, but the best part of this film comes from an inspired performance of recent Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer.  Essentially, Starcrash is glorious in its seemingly unending amount of "what the..." moments.

I will not bother with a plot explanation here, because it clearly parallels Star Wars in many ways and part of the enjoyability is making these connections during the viewing experience.  Not to mention it has a John Barry soundtrack that is both zany and grandiose.  I will instead tell you to keep an eye out for a few things throughout viewing Starcrash.  First off, continuity is thrown out the window in the film, something that makes a sci-fi film function.  Pay close attention to the amount of ships mentioned in any fight, this will help prove my point.  Secondly, the character of Elle (L) is magnificent, voiced by British folk musician Hamilton Camp, who dons a terrible American Southern accent, and is undoubtedly one of the funniest and most likeable parts of the film.  Thirdly, the women in the films are all ex-models, including one former Bond girl, Caroline Munro, and boy do they go through wardrobe changes, in many instances for no apparent reason.  However, as I noted before, the best part of this film is without a doubt Christopher Plummer.  He delivers monologues with such gravitas that you wonder whether or not he realized that everyone else round him could not act to save their lives.  From turn of the neck line deliveries to yelling out to "stop the flow of time," Plummer's performance culminates in one of the most ridiculous closing monologues ever put on film.  I hope one day to find it on the internet, because I will probably attach it to everything I post. 

Please do yourself a favor and buy this film on Bluray, it is worth getting and sharing with your friends.  Plummer, painted models, scantily clad women and Hasselhoff all combine for the makings of a filmic drinking game.  Also, I hear the commentary is something of unprecedented nerdom.  Shortly after watching you will become a "Crashhead," I know I am myself.

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