F03: Starcrash

Episode Running Time: 1hr 55min
Released: August 2003
Streamable: Teaser Trailer (58sec, 2.6MB, Quicktime 6)
Movie Links: IMDB, Amazon (DVD), Amazon (Blu-Ray)
Watch on-line: archive.org

An Embarrassed Christopher Plummer In this 1979 film, which bears no relation whatsoever to Star Wars, interstellar smuggler cum heroine Stella Star (who is neither Luke Skywalker nor Princess Leia) and her mentor/companion Acton (who is not Obi-Wan Kenobi) are caught and imprisoned by Texan police android Elle (who is neither R2-D2 nor C-3PO) and Blue Man Group reject Thor (who is distinctly not Chewbacca). For reasons that aren't worth mentioning, the prison business is quickly dropped and the four join forces to fight evil and locate Simon (David Hasselhoff not playing Han Solo at all), son of the Emperor of the galaxy (Christopher Plummer, who doesn't particularly rule the Rebel Alliance or the Jedis since the established empire is good in this universe, making for an entirely different and unrelated movie). Several lame planets are visited (which could not possibly be confused with Alderaan, Hoth, or Endor) and useless battles waged, until eventually various subsets of our protagonists encounter the Right Evil Count Zarth Arn (who is *so* not Darth Vader it's not even funny) and battle with model spaceships on strings to finally destroy Zarth Arn's Doom Machine (which would be the Death Star, except for some reason it's shaped like a giant hand) with a giant city and the universe's most unbelievably silly torpedoes. In the end, ambiguous romance sprouts between Stella and Simon because, well, they didn't really have an ending.

What's that you say? Starcrash didn't have enough Stella Star for you? Well, are you ever in luck! Thanks to the fine people at CreateSpace, you can now read the further adventures of Stella Star in Curved Space - The Adventures of Stella Star. I know, I know -- you're having a hard time believing your luck right now. Sit down, catch your breath, and whip out that credit card! You know you want it!

Prologue: Crow unveils his Video Toaster, an invention which turns bad movies into masterpieces.

Invention Exchange: The Mads introduce a complete line of Sacrificial Barbie cult fun figures. Crow's Video Toaster works wonders... but for how long?

Segment Two: Crow directs a Star Wars ripoff, suitable for framing.

Segment Three: At the SOL's local sci-fi convention, Mike finds a classic novelty song and much musical frolication ensues.

Flying through space Segment Four: Servo discovers that the Satellite's troubles are all a result of bad feng shui. He hires Zarth Arn, interior decorator and ruler of the League of Dark Worlds, to chase the ship's dank drearies away.

Segment Five: The refurnished Satellite proves to be fabulous. The 'bots fret over how they'll survive future films; Mike offers solace by demonstrating just how powerful he has become.

Stinger: Evil Vogue!

For many of us who witnessed the Star Wars phenomenon of the late seventies and early eighties, the original movie has a certain mystique about it. Objectively, it's a simple storyline, but its novel style captured the collective imagination of a generation. This mystique was clearly something that the producers of Starcrash observed to be lucrative, and so off they went, perhaps for the better part of a weekend, to bring a lame knockoff into the world. SC shamelessly steals from SW, bringing the novel ideas of the time into an environment that combines the groundbreaking spirit of Joanie Loves Chachi, the production values of Doctor Who's lean years, the finely crafted dialogue of General Hospital, and the plot twists of about half an episode's worth of Teletubbies. The incessant and technically unimpressive chase scenes through a Lite-Brite-induced hallucination of the densely populated part of space prove to be among the most interesting parts of the movie by default, simply for their lacking the presence of the universally insipid characters. And even these "ships flying through space" scenes are so exciting, no piece of its footage goes without being repeated at least once. Frequently five or six times.

Stella's Bad Hair Day In short, this is the sort of movie that causes one to wish to claw out one's own eyeballs with the nearest rusty pitchfork, and believe me, the temptation was great on many occasions, particularly on this, my inaugural stint as Editor. Let me explain the significance of that. On average, our writing sessions require two to four viewings of the entire movie to brainstorm lines, then distilling those lines into a coherent script adds about three more full viewings. Filming the theater segments takes another three or four, including runthroughs and retakes. But editing... the editing process encompasses approximately sixteen million bajillion viewings. Over and over again, frame by frame, line by miserable line, swirling in the brain ad infinitum.

As a psychological survival technique, I grew increasingly numb with each subsequent viewing, eventually withdrawing from society altogether and relocating to a small cabin in the woods in the unincorporated area along the U.S.-Canada border. Rejecting modern frivolities such as heat, natural light, artificial light, running water, clothing, and baklava, I remained in my hermitage for several months, surviving on wild berries and fungi, with my computer and VCR representing my only remaining worldly posessions, and forewent all non-editing activity. At one bleak point it became clear that Marjoe Gortner's smirking maw was growing in each scene, with the obvious intent of eating me, starting with the head, after which further progression of Marjoe's appetite would become largely irrelevant for my purposes. A minor dietary adjustment involving the omission of wild fungi reduced this ravenous obstacle, and soon the editing would be finished, a glimmering third episode emerging triumphantly out the other end of the metaphorically half-lit tunnel. And after relearning the relevant bits of the English language, and a Lord Greystoke-esque retraining in the customs and mannerisms of western civilization, I can once again blend in with other humans in the suburban Bay Area, exhibiting little evidence of my post-production ordeal, barring a distinctive facial twitch and a tendency towards run-on sentences.

That said, as a movie Starcrash still wasn't anywhere near as bad as Animal People. Hope you enjoy watching it at least as much as we enjoyed making it.