STARCRASH: Bad Film Podcast

UnForced Drama: Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer and David Hasselhoff confront cheesy space adventure in STARCRASH.

UnForced Drama: Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer and David Hasselhoff confront cheesy space adventure in STARCRASH.

Italy has brought us so many wonderful things: Fellini; lasagna; Silvio Berlusconi (that last is debatable). But among the many marvels borne of those shores, truly the most wondrous has to be the knock-off film, a genre that took groundbreaking, innovative American titles and replicated them with a low-budget zeal and enough questionable technical prowess to make them their own classics. Loved JAWS? Wait’ll you see TENTACLES, the Italian version that features a giant octopus (plus the all-star quadrifecta of John Huston, Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters, and Claude Akins!). Got nightmares from THE EXORCIST? You should check out THE RETURN OF THE EXORCIST, which, despite the title, has neither Jason Miller nor Max von Sydow in the lead, but does offer Richard Conte in his final performance.

And if you just couldn’t get enough of STAR WARS, then the ever-inventive Italian filmmakers were willing to feed your hunger with STARCRASH, a faithful replication of CHAPTER IV: A NEW HOPE — if by “faithful” one means cheesy special effects, hammy acting and a storyline so muddled that audiences couldn’t help but proclaim, “Y’know, THE PHANTOM MENACE wasn’t that bad.” Forsaking their Jedi code, Temple of Bad residents Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and I allow ourselves a flirtation with the Dark Side, one that here also claimed the souls of Caroline Munro, Marjoe Gortner, Christopher Plummer and (swoon) David Hasselhoff. In this episode, we unburden ourselves of an experience so devastating that even Lord Darth Vader would have cried, “Padme! Noooooooo!!!” Oh, wait, he did. Never mind.

La Forza può salvarti da film scadente!


THEME SONG: I Wonder If God was Sleeping by scottaltham
Song covered under Creative Commons

About the Author

Dan Persons

DAN PERSONS is a New York-based writer who first got bit by the Cinefantastique bug when he encountered the 1979 double issue devoted to the sci-fi classic FORBIDDEN PLANET. He contributed for many years to the magazine, first as a correspondent, then as an editor.

3 Responses to “ STARCRASH: Bad Film Podcast ”

  1. Oops — my bad. I referred to the Kristy McNichol movie that was loosely based on The Pirates of Penzance as The Pirates, but what I should have said was The Pirate Movie! And yes, the part of the film where somebody starts using a lightsaber is definitely a WTF moment of the highest caliber.

    Also, if you’re a fan of Italian knock-offs of popular movies, make sure that you check out one of my personal favorites: Devil Fish!!!

    Dan, I’m impressed that you found a picture of Caroline Munro in her translucent outfit over her sexy outfit. That look was SOOOOOOO ridiculous! Oh, and thanks for giving me an excuse to use Google Translate!!

  2. Bad as it is, STARCRASH always brings a smile to my face. I enjoy it, and have fond memories of seeing it in the theater — with the house music over the ‘lightsword’ robot fight. The tune was the Continental, and it synched up perfectly, bringing the entire audience to fits of laughter.

  3. Sorry guys, but John Barry’s score for STARCRASH in no way resembles anything John Williams did for STAR WARS. While not one of his standout works, to be sure, it is enjoyable and unmistakeably his own.

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