Last week, the wifey and I spent a couple of days in one of our favorite cities, Charlotte North Carolina. Among our many stops during the visit, we did a little shopping at a used book/movie store.
In one of the bargain bins, I found a 1970’s sci-fi movie called “Starcrash.” Although I’d never heard of “Starcrash,” I bought the dvd for a couple of good reasons: it was only $2.00, and because it starred Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer, David freaking Hasselhoff. This was too good to pass up!
The first shock of “Starcrash” came in the opening credits, when I was in disbelief that the great late John Barry did the music for this movie. I couldn’t believe the same John Barry that gave the world so many great James Bond scores, would work on a movie like this.
Anywho, “Starcrash” is the story of Stella Star (Caroline Munro), and her sidekick with the perfect perm, Akton (Marjoe Gortner). The two are space smugglers who are on the run from Thor, Chief of the Galactic Police (Robert Tessier) and the Police Robot L (Hamilton Camp), who for some reason talks like a cartoon version of a Southern Sheriff.
When their escape attempt fails through hyperspace fails, Stella and Akton are sentenced to hard labor. By this I mean Stella is stripped down to a pair of go-go boots and a tiny bikini. Aft first I thought maybe this is the way the prisoners dress, but no, Stella is the only one in the kinky get up. After 12 whole hours of hard labor, some of the other prisoners sacrifice themselves so Stella can escape, but she’s almost immediately caught by Thor and L. They were there to rescue her and the perm guy because the Emperor of the Universe wants to see them.
The Emperor (Christopher Plummer) commutes their sentence at the urging of L, who feels that Star’s services are needed to track down the survivors of some ship I forgot I saw at the beginning. The crew was searching for the evil Count Zarth Arn (Joe Spinell), and the Emperor’s only son was onboard.
So Stella, the creepy perm guy, L and Thor, search three planets for a crash site, and any survivors. On the first planet, Stella is captured by Amazons because the movie needed some more scantily clad women. She ends up being rescued by L, much to the chagrin of the Queen of the Amazons (Nadia Cassini), who sends a giant, poorly animated metal statute after them. Stella must and L are saved when Akton and Thor blasting the statue.
The next stop in their quest is an ice planet, where Thor returns to his evil ways by beating Akton to death. Thor then leaves Stella and L outside to freeze to death. Fortunately, L is able to sweet talk Stella, and uses his power reserves to keep her heart beating, however weakly. If that wasn’t enough, Akton rises from the dead thanks to the powers of his perm and ends Thor’s miserable life.
From there our heroes journey to the home of the last Neanderthals, or something. On the planet’s surface, L and Stella find the crashed spaceship, but are soon surrounded by a tribe of Neanderthals who smash L into tiny pieces. This pissed me off, because up to this point in the movie, L is the only character I gave a damn about.
Our lead star Stella has to be rescued (again), this time by a mysterious figure wearing a golden mask. Once they’re safe, the new man in Stella’s life removes the mask to reveal that he is…. a young David Hasselhoff! This version of the Hoff may be younger, but the hair is bigger than ever, and he’s wearing a ton more eye makeup than he needed to.
I’m not going to tell you where the story goes from here, mostly because I can’t do it without laughing. Also because if you really want to know what else goes on in this movie, then you should check out episode 6 of “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return” on Netflix.
Because “Starcrash” came a couple of years after the original “Star Wars,” its easy to dismiss it as a cheap rip-off. But “Starcrash” is one of those awful movies that you simply gotta love. “Starcrash” was pure fun, and despite its low quality, I’m glad I decided to buy it.