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Jul 01

Starcrash

POSTER - STAR CRASH (2)Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
Year: 1978
Country: Italy / USA

aka: Female Space Invaders, Star Battle Encounters, Star Crash, Stella Star, The Adventures of Stella Star

Director: Luigi Cozzi
Starring: Marjoe Gortner, Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer, David Hasselhoff, Robert Tessier

 

The ultimate inter-galactic adventure

 

Stella Star and her partner Akton is set free from a sentence of lifetime labour work by taking on a mission to find Simon, the son of the Emperor of the First Circle of the Universe. It is believed that the evil Count Zarth Arn might be behind the disappearance of Simon.

Count Zarth Arn is also believed to be building a lethal space weapon that will make it impossible to stop him from being the ruler of the universe. The only way to stop the evil Count is for Stella Star and Akton to find Simon and have him join them in a final space battle that will decide the faith of the universe.

In the “good ol’ days”, a hit movie meant that several rip-offs would follow shortly after. When Star Wars came out in 1977, it changed sci-fi films forever and a bunch of cheaper films that tried to recreate the same universe would follow, mostly with little or no success. The Italians always did the best rip-offs and their Star Wars “influenced” films would be no exceptions. Perhaps the two most famous ones are the charming The Humanoid and this one – Starcrash.

Although Starcrash wasn’t entirely an Italian production, most of the crew was from Italy and the film has a very Italian feel to it. As with The Humanoid, the premise might be very influenced by Star Wars but the film still feels like an own entity. There is a very special charm to this film that makes it stand out, even from the Star Wars universe. I’ll even say that as pure entertainment I would rather revisit this one again in the future instead of the Star Wars movies, although it is of course not technically an equally good film.

The hero of this film is the gorgeous Caroline Munroe as Stella Star. She runs around in the universe in a very small and revealing dress and is surely a character that every teenage boy would want to have on a wall poster. It’s fun to see her in a film with Joe Spinell, since the two would also again pair up in the gruesome video nasty Maniac a few years later. Spinell plays Count Zarth Arn and he is dressed up in a ridiculous outfit and hairdo, making his menacing acting become very funny to watch.

And the cast keeps on impressing with Marjoe Gortner as Stella’s sidekick Akton, Christopher Plummer as The Emperor of the First Circle of the Universe and even David Hasselhoff as his son Simon. Yes, we get to see Hasselhoff fight with a light saber and you don’t really need any other reason for watching the film than that.

The man responsible for this film is the kind and charming Luigi Cozzi. He is one of the few filmmakers I have met and he was such a delight to chat with. I haven’t been impressed with his other work before seeing this, so it feels great to see that he delivered a film with Starcrash that are highly enjoyable. It also feels like he knows his sci-fi stuff when watching this as it doesn’t only take its influence from Star Wars, but also from the classic 50’s/60’s sci-fi films.

Starcrash is a surprisingly fun film, it is weird (Cavemen? Amazon girls? In space, what?) and even at times ridiculous, but it also has an excellent cast and is a project done with a lot of heart. Don’t just put it off because of its connection with Star Wars, give it a chance and you will probably be surprised to find this little gem entertain you so much. And again, it has David Hasselhoff with a light saber.

 

 ★★★★☆ 

 

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