SOLD OUT: STARCRASH (1979) – 21st November 2013: The Planetarium, At-Bristol

It’s an Italian-produced Star Wars rip-off starring David Hasselhoff! Why have you not already bought your tickets?!

Everyone has heard of the spaghetti Western, but in the wake of Star Wars there were numerous European-produced ‘spaghetti space operas’… and this is one of the most infamous! STARCRASH!

StarCrash original

Like George Lucas’s movie, the story focuses on a Dark Lord, some robots and a talented space pilot. However, there’s a twist! The galaxy’s most talented pilot is the beautiful Stella Star (played by former Bond girl and pin-up Caroline Munro). Sure, she spends the entire film wearing an intergalactic space swimming costume, but she’s got other more impressive talents that the Emperor of the Universe (Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer! Yes, Captain Von Trapp is in this film!) requires.

The evil Count Zartharn is out to take over the universe by use of invisible space monsters and the Emperor’s special investigator has gone missing. So it’s up to Stella Star, her mystical companion Akton (former child evangelist Marjoe Gortner), and Police Robot Elle (who speaks like he’s a redneck sheriff) to search the Haunted Stars and save the day.

There is so much to enjoy in this film that I don’t know where to start… oh wait, yes I do. DAVID HASSELHOFF IS IN THIS FILM!

Hoff with lasers

Before he was Michael Knight, Mitch from Baywatch or destroying the Berlin Wall with his freedom ballads, The Hoff appeared in this B-movie spectacle and then opted never to speak about it again. I don’t know why – it’s glorious! It’s an absurd brightly-coloured adventure that rips off every sci-fi film that has gone before it.

Caroline Munro’s Stella Star is Barbarella in everything but name and, like Jane Fonda’s character, steals every scene she is in thanks to her revealing outfit. Plummer, gloriously clad in a suit of gold (well, he is the Emperor of the Universe) still manages to deliver his ridiculous lines with grace and dignity, while Joe Spinell as the evil Zartharn opts to go the opposite way, yelling the likes of “I want to wipe out the Emperor from the whole of the universe!”

In fact, Plummer has been candid about why he took the role – so he could go to Rome. “Give me Rome any day. I’ll do porno in Rome, as long as I can get to Rome. Getting to Rome was the greatest thing that happened in that for me. I think it was only about three days in Rome on that one. It was all shot at once.”

Also, if you’re fed up with CGI-packed films, you’ll get a kick out of the model work, outrageous sets and retro FX (by that, read ‘Christmas lights’) that pack the film.

Of course, nothing in it makes sense. Sidekicks have miscellaneous magic powers that seem to change depending on the circumstances, robots have Texan accents, spaceships are controlled by giant brains and the dialogue is packed with abrupt exposition – “Look! A neutron star!” “Look, Amazons! On horseback!” (In fact, you could have a pretty good drinking game based around the number of times Stella says “Look!” ).


Did we mention Stella is captured by Space Amazons? And cavemen.

I could honestly sit here and list everything that is amazing about this film (e.g. The most powerful weapon in the galaxy is a lava lamp), but I don’t want to ruin the numerous mind-blowing surprises.

However I will say the music was done by Oscar winner John Barry (Dances With Wolves, Out of Africa, numerous James Bond films) and he reportedly was never allowed to see footage during production, because the filmmakers thought he’d quit the project…

And, in a perfect marriage of film and venue, we’ll be showing the film in Bristol Planetarium (that massive metal sphere in Millennium Square). So, for a sci-fi experience that you’ll never forget (and our last screening of the year), make sure you book your tickets asap.

The film will be introduced by Dr Mark Bould, author of Science Fiction and Film and Literature professor at UWE. 

When: 8.00pm, 21st November 2013

Location: The Planetarium, At-Bristol

Tickets: £5 in advance / £6 on the door (All profits will be going to Millie’s Trust)


“The entire galaxy is in peril and infamous space-smuggler Stella Star, the greatest star pilot ever to command a vessel, is its only hope. The evil Count Zartharn from the League of the Dark Worlds has constructed a weapon of limitless power capable of destroying anything in its path. Stella Star and her loyal crew must navigate the darkest corners of the solar system to find the Count’s hideout and bring his reign of terror to an end. Originally released the year after ‘Star Wars’, but with a ‘Barbarella’ budget, this piece of cult cinema is a sexy space classic and a must see for all sci-fi fans.”

“The single greatest sci-fi camp fest ever put on celluloid. This film boasts the perfect blend of goofy cheese and unhinged imagination.” R.L Shaffer IGN DVD

“This isn’t a bad movie like The Switch or Grown Ups, where even once is too much; this is the type to be savored again and again, like a patented Ed Wood mess-terpiece.” Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing

“Starcrash is one of those movies that shovels on the ineptitude with such verve that it does achieve a ‘must see’ sinful pleasure status.” Nathaniel Thompson, DVD Delirium