Judge David Johnson blasted through the blackness of a hundred million nights and ended up in Hoboken.
Our review of Starcrash, published September 10th, 2010, is also available.
Will blast you through the blackness of a hundred million nights!
The year was 1979. Star Wars had recently set the world on fire. Studios scrambled to capitalize on the film's popularity by churning out knock-offs. Few have achieved a cult status as weighty as Starcrash. Though it's quite possible many have made more sense.
Facts of the Case
If only these guys could have cribbed the opening title crawl from Star Wars. As such I was largely left baffled for a good twenty or so minutes. Here's what I was able to gather: a spaceship flying around the Haunted Stars is attacked by space hemoglobin, which turns out to be a mega-weapon crated by an evil count who wants to overthrow the benevolent Emperor and take over the galaxy.
Standing in his way is the beautiful Stella Star (Caroline Munro) and her cronies, who go on an intergalactic quest to find the missing ship and piece together the mystery to the count's diabolical plan. Our heroes meet Simon, the dashing and eyeliner-laden heir to the Empire (David Hasselhoff) and together they bring the fight to the Count and his evil minions by using the mythical Starcrash, which involves attacking from the fourth dimension or something, but as far as I can tell, it's just ramming a starship with a space city.
Leave no doubt in your head, Starcrash is moronic and corny and its theft of Star Wars is felonious (Lightsabers! Space fighter trench runs! Hyperspace!). But you, my friend, will absolutely get your money's worth. This is 92 minutes of unrelenting insanity; it's not boring, it's crammed with antiquated, but charming special effects and there are cavemen. Cavemen! Cavemen fighting robots!
Here then is my primer to the world of Starcrash and while I make no effort to convince you that this is a well-made film, or even makes sense, I defy you to come away from this review without a new-found respect for the Italian hallucinogenic market of the late '70s.
The Starcrash Glossary
Count Zarth Arn
Emperor of the First Circle of the Universe
Leather Space Bikini
Shout! Factory, in its continued series of Roger Corman releases, does right by the Starcrash fan base with this two-disc (Disc Two, the extras offering, is a DVD). The high-def picture (1.78:1) is solid, hit with the occasional flaw, but I'm willing to chalk that up to imperfect source materials. The trippy, hyper-colored look of the film comes across with verve on Blu-ray; it is an eye-flogging arrangement of over-produced visuals that sparkle in the boosted resolution. A DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is a fine supplement, effectively transmitting the cacophonous sound effects work and the genuinely solid John Barry score.
The extras stand out. The feature film sports two commentaries, with Starcrash expert Stephen Romano delivering the goods on each. The guy has a lot to say and is flush with anecdotes; he's worth listening to. You also get interviews with Caroline Munro and director Luigi Cozzi, a special effect featurette, a stills gallery, behind-the-scene footage with commentary, deleted and extended scenes (including an opening title crawl!), the official trailer with commentary from Eli Roth and Joe Dante, a 12-page booklet and the screenplay which is accessible through your computer. It's an awesome collection and only falls short of a perfect score because of the lack of a next-gen Blu-ray extra.
Starcrash is inspired cheese; campy, ham-fisted and illogical. It's also Z-grade schlock at its most hectic and sort-of a must-see. Fans should be more than satiated with Shout! Factory's loving treatment.
Not Guilty! Go for hyperspace!!!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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