Vanity Fear

A Pretentious A**hole's Guide to B-Movie Bullsh*t

Starcrash Part 2

But all is not as it seems on the ship, as it turns out that there is a traitor in their midst!  Thor shows his true colours (also blue, but a slightly different shade than usual) by braining Akton with a blunt instrument of some kind (Jesus Christ, you guys have fucking laser guns for crying out loud!  Use them!).  He then contacts his evil overlord, Count Zarth, and informs him that he has managed to bring an end to the emperor's important space-mission.

Little does he know that Akton is merely pretending to be unconscious.  It turns out that when you hit a brainless jerk in the back of the head, it doesn't have much of an effect.

I have to wonder why the count didn't ask his minion why he waited
until they got to the second planet to turn on everyone?
Seems like he could have saved those Amazons a lot of bother
and the unneccesary expense of having to replace a giant-breasted she-robot if he had acted right away.

Stella and Elle reach the ship, only to be informed by Thor that he's evil and not going to let them back on.  The sun is about to set, but Elle tells Stella that if she holds onto his hand while they lay down on the snow, he'll be able to put her into a state of suspended animation and keep her alive.

As they lay on the ground and wait for the sudden drop in temperature, Stella tells Elle that, "As an opponent, I always knew you were programmed to never give up, which was infuriating.  But now that quality must  You have to be the most faithful companion a woman ever had." to which the robot responds by saying "And I too respect you Stella.  You are the nicest human I've ever known.  Now is maybe the time for you to use your ancient system of prayer and hope it works for robots as well."

Did I mention that Elle speaks like a southern sheriff?  I didn't?  Well, he does, which adds a nice layer of absurdity to the above exchange.

And then the sun sets and the world freezes over.

That's some cold shit, yo!

While our newly-bonded duo becomes at one with their inner-fishstick, Thor is futilely attempting to get the spaceship off of the ground, but it appears that someone else has sabotaged it!

This distraction gives Akton just the opportunity he needs to get up and kick some traitor ass!

Kicking traitor ass apparently causes you to make the same face people normally use
when they've accidentally come across scat porn on the internet for the first time.  Who knew?

Thor attempts to kill Akton by blasting him with his laser gun (finally!  I mean why have them if you're not going to use them?) but Akton is apparently immune to--everyone say it with me!--cheap red optical effects and he instead is able to kill the bald blue Judas by reflecting those cheap red optical effects right back at him.

I sincerely hope that Messers Gortner and Tessier felt truly ridiculous when they filmed this sequence.

Now in control of the ship, Akton calls out to Elle, who rises up from underneath the snow and who has to act quickly if they are going to save his new best friend.

Movie time!

The look on her face at the end of this scene just kills me.
With our heroine now fully defrosted, Elle's attempts to leave the planet are stymied by the same sabotage that kept Thor from escaping to the clutches of his evil space-master.  As he and Stella try to figure out what is wrong with the ship, Akton just stands there like the smug asshole that he is.

I am so glad he dies before the movie is over.  I just wish it would happen much sooner.

After letting his friends twist in the wind for a good long time, Akton finally reveals that it was he who sabotaged the ship, since he knew that Thor was going to betray them.

How did he know?

Because he can see into the future!

Okay, so why then has he allowed such shitty things to happen to his friends?  Because, he insists, he must allow fate to take its course.  In other words, he's that asshole who just sits there and knows the answer to the question everyone else is searching for, but who says nothing, because they have to figure it out for themselves.


Amazingly, Elle and Stella are amused rather than seriously pissed off by this news.  I don't think anyone would blame them if they kicked the shit out of him right then and there, but they don't.  Instead the continue their space-mission and arrive at their third--and last--destination, the planet Demondia.

But before they can make it down to the planet's surface, they are attacked by the same cheap red optical effects that killed the anonymous crewman at the beginning of the film.

To make things even more "freaky" Cozzi also superimposes shots of the interiors of a variety of lava lamps over some of the action.

Akton appears to be immune to the attack, but the same cannot be said for Elle or Stella.

It hurts!  It hurts so very, very much!

But it turns out that our trio aren't pussies like those first bunch of dorks we saw get attacked by the killer lens flares, and they manage to make it past the danger zone with their lives and sanity intact.

Having survived the attack, they are now free to land down on the planet, allowing Stella to put on an outfit that works in theory, but not in practice.

When you see it up close, you'll understand what I'm talking about.

"It'll be completely see-through!" I can hear the film's costume designer gush enthusiastically to Cozzi.  "And you'll be able to see her blue underwear underneath it!"

"That-a sounds-a a-great-a," I can also hear our director responding back in his stereotypically thick Italian accent.

But it isn't great, because the actual outfit looks like someone threw a clear plastic tarpaulin over our lovely star and decided to give up after that.  And the blue underwear that's supposed to titilate us with its undisguised thereness, comes dangerously close to looking like granny-panties.

So, guess which outfit she spends most of the rest of the movie in?

The one thing the filmmakers had going for them, and they completely fuck it up midway through the picture.  I tell ya, some people shouldn't be allowed to buy film.

Anyway, let's get back to what's going down on Demondia (do you think it might be an evil planet just going by its name alone?).  As Elle and Stella search for the last of the three missing imperial ships, they are spied upon by a strange inhabitant of the planet.

By the name of all that is good and holy, you DO NOT want to know what horror lurks beneath that alien mask,
but you're going to find out anyway, so be prepared for when it happens.

Our two heroes find the destroyed imperial starcraft and as Elle goes inside it to see what he can find, Stella is jumped by cavemen.



See, I told you.  If Caroline FREAKIN' Munro can't make an outfit look good, it's a bad outifit.

There is an episode of the magnificent televised serial Angel (penned by the master, Joss Whedon) entitled "A Hole in the World" in which two characters (the show's titular protagonist, Angel, and his frequent foil, Spike) engage in a passionate debate over which they nearly come to blows.  It is only at the end of their verbal fight that we are let in on the subject of their argument: Who would win in a fight, cavemen or astronauts?  I suspect that when Whedon wrote this classic bit of comedy (which, according to his commentary on the episode was inspired by an actual continuing debate that took place for weeks in the Mutant Enemy writing room after one of the writers posed the conumdrum on its whiteboard) he had no idea that over twenty years earlier, an Italian Star Wars ripoff answered it conclusively.

With the element of surprise, the cavemen win.

Elle runs out of the crashed ship and pulls out his laser six-shooters, but it's to no avail.

This is a completely empty gesture.

Once again proving this film's hidden subtext that laser guns are no match for blunt instruments, the cavemen beat Elle down to his bare components and abduct Stella to take her back to their caveman hideout.

Apparently that metal structural beam from the spaceship is A LOT lighter than it looks.

Speaking of hidden subtexts, it is interesting to note two facts about this sequence.  The first is that when we call these attackers cavemen, we do so not because we disdain the political correctness of cavepeople, but because there is no evidence of any women in this society.  Add to this the fact that these cavemen show no sign of being attracted to the hottie they have trussed up helpless in their hideout (which is odd, even when you take her hideous outfit into account) and it becomes obvious that what we have here is a tribe of gay cavemen.

Now think back two planets earlier, to the planet of the Amazons, where we saw no sign of any men and evidence of a society that fetishized the female form enough to construct a giant robot version of it, and it becomes clear that the filmmakers are suggesting that by abidicating the traditional values of heterosexual society, the people who live on these planets were easily swayed by the charms of Count Zarth Arn.  Therefore they are arguing that homosexuality is evil and likely to make you more susceptable to joining Leagues of the Dark Worlds.

And you thought all those  film people were liberals.

Back at the gay cavemen camp, Stella has been hung upside down, while her captors presumably discuss how best to prepare her for dinner.

During this she keeps shouting "Help!" like some sort of helpless chick.  A major strike for feminism this move is not.

Unbeknowst to her, the creepy masked alien person who we saw spying on her and Elle earlier suddenly appears from the rocks above and proceeds to take care of the gay cavemen by shooting laser bolts out of its eyes.

Nice to see Luigi going with a purple optical effect this time around.  It's always good to throw in a nice change of pace.

With his laser eyes the masked man is easily able to scare away the enemy and rescue Stella.  The two of them make a quick run for it.  When they are far enough away to rest, he sits down and explains that he is not a monster, but a man wearing an Energy shield mask and it is now time for him to take it off.

It's coming folks.

I am warning you, if you are of a nervous disposition, stop reading right now.  You cannot handle what you are going to see next.  Even those of you made of stronger metal will find it difficult to take, which is why I have decided to present the reveal in stages.  If at any time you feel yourself getting faint, then please look away and hit this link.

No one will call you a coward if you bail.

A wise person knows their limits.  Don't be a hero.

After this there is no going back.  Are you sure you're ready?  Okay....


That's right, the hero behind the mask is none other than the man known to one and all as Michael Knight from Knight Rider, Mitch Buchannon from Baywatch and that asshole who cried when Taylor Hicks was named the American Idol.

I will understand if you decide to stop reading right now.

For those of you brave souls who have the strength to continue, let's go on and forget about those who do not possess our brave hearts.

Hasselhoff explains that his name is Simon, but he will always be Hasselhoff to us.  He was the only survivor of the wreck Elle was exploring before his brutal robot death (or was it....)  Stella tells him that she's been searching all over the galaxy for survivors like him and for the evil planet that serves as the evil headquarters for the evil count's evil weapon.

Hasselhoff laments that he too was searching for the evil planet, but did not find it before his ship crashed when it was attacked by the cheap red optical effect, but before he can get too lachrymose about his horrible failure, he and Stella finds themselves under attack from a group of pissed off homo erectuses.  Having used up all of his mask's energy blasts in their first encounter, he is forced to fight them hand to hand and it soon becomes clear that the two of them are seriously over-matched.

But then, just as all hope seems to be lost, an asshole appears from up above.

And it is here where this Star Wars ripoff becomes its most rippy-offiest.

These guys have balls of steel.

And thus, with his special sabre composed entirely of light Akton is able to defeat the cavemen and is reunited with his pilot and the Hasselhoff she has managed to pick up along her way.

Hasselhoff thanks Akton for saving their lives and then urges them to return to the ship so they can continue on their mutual quest to discover the count's phantom planet. 

Akton smirks like a prick.

You know what's comin', don't ya.

The reason for the smug look on Stella's navigator's face is because he knows something the other two don't.

They're already on the count's phantom planet!

It's so obvious because the Amazon queen said that the planet was protected by two deadly guardians.  The first of which was the cheap red optical effect that protected the planet from space and the second was the crack squad of gay cavemen that protected its surface.

Don't you feel like a retard for not having figured it out right away?  Stella and Hasselhoff sure do.

Now it's simply a matter of finding the entrance to the hidden lair in which the deadly weapon is being stored.  And, wouldn't you know it, it's just a short walk away!

The most aggravating thing about this is that its obvious that the screenwriters thought they were being clever.

After our trio has made their way into the planet's core and entered its control room, Akton explains what it actually does.  It turns out that the living computers in this room are responsable for creating those cheap red optical effects that have been attacking people in space, but they aren't really cheap red optical effects--they're mental projections of cheap red optical effects that are inserted into people's minds, making them think that they're being attacked by cheap red optical effects, even though they really aren't.  Got that?  I hope so, because I'm not fucking explaining it again.

Both Stella and Hasselhoff insist that they must destroy the weapon at once, but Akton insists that destiny must take its course.  Before they can argue any further, two long-forgotten characters from the beginning of the film finally reappear, along with the Count and a bunch of his minions.

Remember how the last time we saw these two robots, the count was about to send them on an important mission they couldn't fail?
There's no logical way this could be it, so I wonder what it was he actually had them do.  Make an important Starbucks run perhaps?

It turns out that Zarth has been doing some thinking.  Since our heroes were so brave and clever that they easily made their way past the traps he had set for them, he would turn their success into his triumph.  In a tactical move that might only be understandable to the current American administration, he has decided to blow up the planet he has spent the entire movie trying to keep hidden! 

Let's do the math here for a sec.  Are the deaths of a Hasselhoff, the universe's best pilot and her asshole navigator who can see the future worth the cost of the phantom planet that contains the weapon with which his entire plan for intersteller domination firmly rests?  No?  Well, maybe he's working with a different kind of calculator than we are.  An evil one.

But wait, there's more to his plan than at first meets the eye.  Our count knows something we don't and is thinking two moves ahead of us.

Goddamn it, he is just so adorable!

You see it turns out that Hasselhoff is no ordinary Hasselhoff--he's the emperor's only son!  And the emperor is on his way at that very moment to rescue him, but by the time he gets to the planet it will explode and rid the count of both his enemy and his need for mental projections of cheap red optical effects to be sent into outer space!

It's brilliant!  Way to go Count Zarth!  You da man!

Not surprisingly Stella and her friends do not approve.

"This is bullshit!"

As the count cackles happily over the perfect genius of his plan, he leaves the trio alone in the control room with the two adorable killer robots.  Even though the planet is set to explode within minutes, he orders his "gollum" to kill them, ensuring that they won't be able to throw a monkey wrench into his plans at the last second.

What proceeds can only be called an epic battle between an asshole and the cutest homicial stop-motion automatons you've ever seen.
Aren't they poetry in motion?

At first it seems as though Akton will easily defeat his two robotic enemies, but then....


They drop the motherfucker.

As Akton crumples to the ground, Hasselhoff grabs his special sabre of light and vanquishes the killer machines.

In the meantime, the emperor's ship has arrived at the count's phantom planet.

Seriously, dude, what are you doing in this movie?

With just minutes left before the planet is set to explode, Stella and Hasselhoff try to convince the mortally wounded Akton to allow them to carry him to safety, but he refuses because of some bullshit about destiny and blah, blah, blah.

And then, before you can say "Alec Guinness is Obi-Wan Kenobi," Akton's sacrifice is awarded with a trip to the other side of a force-like dimension

Nah-na-na-na hey-hey-hey-goo-ood-bye!

Just seconds after Akton's long-awaited (by me anyhow) death, the emperor arrives to save the day.  Hasselhoff warns his father that they have mere seconds before the entire planet explodes, but the emperor points out that as ruler of the entire first circle of the universe, he has a few tricks up his sleeves for situations just like this.

And voila, at his command his flagship shines a cheap green optical effect on the planet.

I bet you can't guess what this does.

Thanks to this special cheap green optical effect technology, time slows to a stop on the count's phantom planet, giving our good guys a whole extra four minutes to escape!  And while this might not seem like enough time to get out of the hidden lair, back to the caves and then to the planet's surface, where a shuttle awaits to take them to the flagship doing all of that time stopping, you'd be wrong--these folks are quick and they manage to get their asses away from that ticking timebomb of a planet with seconds to spare.

I can't even shave in less than four minutes.

With the emperor still alive and the count's secret weapon destroyed, it's now time to kick some evil butt!  To that end the emperor deploys a fucking endless battle armada composed of two different spaceship models.  After about what seems like 20 minutes of watching the same shots of these two models launching over and over again, the attack gets underway.

But it turns out that the count's evil handshaped space fortress is ready for them.

You gotta give it up for the count.  Dude's got style.

Not only are they able to defeat the emperor's attack ships, but the count's forces are also able to deal with their enemies when they gain entrance into the fortress in the most ridiculously implausable manner the screenwriters could devise.
Even when I was nine I saw this and said "There's no fucking way! Everyone would get sucked into space!"

"Don't-a talk-a to me-a about-a the science!"  I can hear Mr. Cozzi defend the film's apparent refusal to acknowledge the most basic realities of natural law.  "I-a am-a  an artist-a!"

I really don't mind his obstinence on this matter, I just wish he wouldn't insist on talking like that.  It's offensive.

As the battle rages and everyone who should at that moment be floating in the airless void of space is busy shooting at each other with their laser rifles (have they learned nothing from the film?  if it's taught us anything its that they should all be fighting with spears, clubs and swords!) our lovable evil count stays back behind his men while repeating the order "Kill them!" enough times that you can't believe one his "troopers" doesn't turn around and shout "Hey asshole, what the fuck do you think we're trying to do?  Teach them how to figure skate?"

And thus our film explicitly shows us the horrors of war.

In the end the count's forces are too strong and the emperor is forced to watch as his soldiers' efforts come to naught.

Aw, poor guy.  And he tried so hard too.

Not surprisingly the count reacts to his victory with very little modesty.  He also takes the opportunity to order his men to, "Put in use our mightiest weapon--The Doom Machine!"  (wait, but I thought your mightiest weapon was--oh, never mind) "Send it off towards the emperor's capital world and DESTROYYYY THE EMPEROR'S IMPERIAL PLANETTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"I'm number one!  I'm number one!"

Stella, who has finally gotten out of that clear plastic monstrosity she was wearing earlier and replaced it with a red version of the same outfit she wore on the ice planet (albeit with the added flair of a cape this go around) is the first of our heroes to concede defeat.

"It's over," she whines like a big wussy girly-pants.  "We're finished.  We've lost."

"No," insists our plucky never-say-die imperial majesty.  "No, there's still a way.  There's one solution left.  I'm afraid we're forced to use it."

"What?" asks Stella, who should know better than to question an emperor.  If I were him, I'd cut off one of her hands for her insolance and general pessimism.

"Starcrash," the emperor answers her, while looking at his Hasselhoff, who apparently knows what his father is talking about.

"Fourth dimensional attack," he says completing his father's thought.

"Yes!" says his father.  "If we can re-enter space at the precise moment, the impact of surprise upon the count will be so overwhelming that he cannot halt us!"

"But father," Hasselhoff insists, "there is no weapon powerful enough!"

"Oh, yes there is," insists the emperor.  "The Floating City."

Don't you just love a good deus ex machina?

So, yeah, Stella is ordered to fly to the previously unmentioned, but now direly important Floating City and send it through the fourth dimension and crash it into the count's fortress and save the first circle of the universe from certain doom.

No, it doesn't make sense to me either.

As Hasslehoff and Stella fly to the Floating City, he is able to surprise her by reuniting her with a fallen comrade.

As annoying as Elle is, at least he isn't Akton.

Yeah, it turns out that those extra four minutes of time bought by the green optical effect were also enough to pick up our virtual cowpoke's pieces from the planet's surface and put them all together again.

Naturally Stella is overjoyed to see him.

After that they leave the Hasslehoff behind and get to the now-evacuated Floating City, fly it into the fourth-dimension, and escape before it crashes into the count's fortress by jumping into deep space via a large round escape hole.

(Allan is too busy shaking his head in disbelief to write a caption for this image)

The city flies into the space-fortress and the count, who has apparently been abandoned by his own men, is left alone to curse his defeat at the hands of the hottie in red spandex.

"She thinks she's so great, but she's not!!!!"

Stella enjoys his victory while she floats helplessly in space, wating to be rescued by the Hasselhoff.

They make it look so fun.  I want to try it!

Having been found by the Hasselhoff, Stella and Elle are brought back into the safety of an imperial starcraft where she is reunited with her new love-interest.  Elle looks upon their embrace with a look of robot-horror.

Well, it looks like robot-horror to me.

With our heroes safe and in love, it's up to our humble emperor to sum things up in his own imperial manner:
This guy got laid a lot.

So, that my friends is Scontri stellari oltre la terza dimensione aka Starcrash.

I hope you have found something in my brief discussion of it worthwhile, but if there is just one message I want you to be left with at this moment, it is this:

Caroline Munro was hot.

Thank you and good night.

While it's true that there were many films in the past that starred people famous for doing something other than acting, as well as entire film careers that were based on non-creative achievements (of which Audie Murphy's is probably the best example) I believe this was the first case where the subject of a documentary about himself used the notoriety he achieved from it to move on into the world of creative filmmaking.  I could be wrong about this, but I leave it to you to show me another example.

2 It makes me incredibly sad to report that the Kessel Run has its own wikipedia entry.  I'm not going to link to it--it just encourages them.