Starcrash (1978) - The Best Star Wars Knock-Off Film Ever January 18, 2019 08:00
Back off Barbarella and make way for the official queen of B-movie science fiction Stella Star! Starcrash is held in high esteem by B-movie fans as one of the best worst movies of all-time, which is a little harsh considering it's more entertaining than anything that's been put out in the Star Wars universe following the original trilogy!
Hammer Horror starlet and Bond girl villain Caroline Munro stars in her first lead role as the famed space thief Stella Star. Thought of as one of the universes greatest pilots she is accompanied by her top navigator Akton, two stellar thieves very good at escaping the hand of the law, but their luck is about to run out when they're captured by the intergalactic police team of Thor and his rambunctious robot Elle. They are sentenced to life in prison but it's quickly cut short when their expertise is needed in an urgent mission for the Emperor.
The Emperor had a scout ship sent out commanded by his only son, Simon (David Hasselhoff), with the mission to obtain the coordinates of the dark lord Count Zarth Arn's secret planet where his greatest and most powerful weapon in the universe is stored! The weapon is the Doom Machine, emitting a radiant red glow, the machine imposes images of fear in the minds of those it comes in contact with rendering them insane! The Emperor's scout ship had the unfortunate circumstance of being attacked by this weapon and four small shuttles narrowly escaped before the ship was destroyed. With time growing short before Zarth Arn's imminent attack on the Emperor's planet, Stella, Akton, Thor and Elle must work together to attempt to find the missing shuttles hopefully leading them to Zarth Arn's planet and the Prince Simon.
Starcrash's claim to fame is being the greatest of the Star Wars knockoffs during the late 1970's. Ironically this was never the initial intention, the similarities between the two films were supposedly forced upon director and screenwriter Luigi Cozzi after the success of Star Wars, the initial script for the film had been completed prior to Star Wars release. In any case Starcrash would have been no match for Lucas's masterpiece, and the changes likely only helped to solidify the film in B-movie history and add to the overall camp which the film, which it wasn't short on to begin with. Take for example the police robot who talks like a back woods hick! But it's important to realize Starcrash is not intended to be a spoof, this is not Spaceballs, while ridiculous and low budget the film takes itself seriously and that's what truly makes it entertaining.
The shining light of the film is lead actress Caroline Munro, whose supermodel physique and skimpy, skin tight costumes only help make Starcrash that much more enjoyable. Frankly in the looks department Munro gives Princess Leia and her slave costume a run for its money. Without Munro its hard to believe Starcrash would be as highly popular as it seems to be today. Throw in other note worthy actors such as Christopher Plumber, who plays the Emperor, and everyone's favorite television actor David Hasselhoff (Baywatch, Knight Rider) in his first big film role. Call it irony that the film touted as one of the greatest B-movies of all-time would give birth to the career of one of the cheesiest television actors and hit singers (in Germany). But in all seriousness The Hoff probably gives one of the better acting performances in the film, second only to Plumber. Also noteworthy is Marjoe Gortner who plays Akton (sort of the Luke Skywalker of the film), his past history as a 4 year old ordained minister is about as strange as this film.
Overall, whether you want to look at Starcrash as an above average Star Wars knockoff, or as a highly entertaining B-movie, most individuals should be able to appreciate it for what it is, as production value of the film is quite impressive for something that had to of been created on a shoestring budget, and while it doesn't hold a candle to the original Star Wars classics I'd take it any day over anything that's come out of the franchise since, or the abomination they call Star Trek nowadays!