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Star Crash (1979)
The Adventures of Stella Star
Female Space Invaders
Scontri Stellari Oltre la Terza Dimensione
Starcrash
Stella Star

Nomination Year: 1992
SYNOPSIS:  An evil overlord seeks to overthrow the benign Emperor using a super-weapon that drives its victims insane before it kills them (perhaps it feeds the brain concentrated doses of this movie). Meanwhile, space action bimbo Stella Starr and her super-powered friend Akton are interstellar mercenaries on the run. They're captured by the Empire and forced to go on a search-and-rescue mission to find the Emperor's missing son. They are accompanied by Robot Elle, a Southern-accented automaton assigned to help them. They survive an attack of the super-weapon, locate the son (David Hasselhoff), and, with the help of the Emperor himself (Christopher Plummer), escape a death trap sprung by the evil overlord. Poignantly, Akton is killed in the process. Now the heroine must help the Emperor and his son storm the overlord's hand-shaped space station before an entire space city is destroyed.

"Wanna Run That By Me Again?"

"You Can Draw Obvious Conclusions from Simple Premises: You Must Be Able To See into the Future!"
Stella wonders why the traitor wasn't able to take off with the ship. Akton says it was because he, Akton, had removed (holds up an alkaline battery) this reactor. There's a pause as Stella comes to a conclusion: "Then you must be able to see into the future! How come you never told me?" Instead of the obvious response of "Say WHAT?" Akton calmly tells her: "Because you would have tried to change the future, and that's against the law."

"Alas, Poor Yorick"

Nothing Can Escape the Gravitational Pull of a Plot Hole
Akton has proven very useful, since in addition to being able to "see into the future," he has the powers of an oscilloscope (we're supposed to believe that he can fire energy from his hands, but the special effects are really cheesy). When the heroes are trapped by a couple of robotic swordfighters, Akton and his "light-saber" powers vanquish the mechanical foe, but not before he's struck by one of them, just a scratch, really. As he lies on the floor, the other two rush over to him.

Stella: "Akton! You saved us!"
Akton: "Yes, but now I must leave you."
Stella: "Akton, you can't be dying -- you can save yourself."
Akton: "Yes, but the future tells me it's time for me to go."
Stella: "But Akton, you never die!" [HUH?!?]
Akton: "I'll be here always." [At which point, Akton disappears in a burst of cheap oscilloscope effects.]

If you ask me, the actor (Marjoe Gortner) probably just wanted to be written out of the idiotic script.

Deus Ex Machina

Small Galaxy, Isn't It?
Hoo boy. Okay, take a deep breath. Here goes.

The would-be dictator's super-weapon takes the form of crappy lava-lamp effects superimposed on the screen. It drives its victims insane and then kills them. Our heroes (Leela, Akton, and Robot Elle) are closing in on the planet where David Hasselhoff has landed, and the Evil One doesn't like that. He unleashes the weapon on them.

As the effect swirls about them, Akton yells "Fight it!" Strain appears on their faces. Robot Elle cries, "My circuits! My circuits!" and shorts out. "Fight it, robot, fight it!" yells Akton. They all fall down. The effect ceases. The heroes stagger to their feet, exhausted but unharmed. Akton simply states: "We've just survived an attack from the most powerful weapon in the Galaxy!"

Leela beams. No explanation is forthcoming. Ever.

Smithee Award Winner!MegaMetaSmithee Award Winner! Deus Ex Machina

"Imperial Battleship! Halt the Flow of Time!"
All right. You may be wondering what could've topped the last one. If that didn't win, what did? Occasionally, we run across a film that just has to be nominated more than once in a particular category. Star Crash was just such a film. Okay. Another deep breath. Here goes.

Our heroes are stranded on a planet which the villain has mined with explosives. With Akton gone and their ship destroyed, they've got about a minute to live. All of a sudden, there is a fanfare and the door to the room slides open. In strides Christopher Plummer, Emperor of the Galaxy, with his entourage. David Hasselhoff (the son) rushes up to him.

David: "Father, you found us! But we must hurry! This planet is going to explode in thirty seconds!"

Christopther looks at his son fondly for a long moment. With the air of an old man reminiscing, he speaks, slowly: "Son -- I wouldn't be Emperor of the First Circle of the Galaxy if I didn't have a few powers at my command."

The Emperor steps imperiously (how else?) to center-stage. With great pomp, he raises his hand and, addressing no-one in particular, bellows: "Imperial Battleship! Halt...the Flow of Time!"

Vworp-vworp-vworp! Cut to the ship in orbit. A green beam stabs out and engulfs the planet.

Back on the surface, the Emperor speaks again: "There, my son. We have all the time we need. But the green beam loses its power. Within the space of three minutes, all will return to normal."

Our heroes, the Emperor, and his cadre of guards all troop out of the room. The ship leaves orbit just in time for BOOOOOMMM!!! The planet explodes in a welter of (I kid you not) upward-drifting smoke and sparks.

Inane Dialogue

Nuclear Exhaust Ports
Leela and Robot Elle descend toward a beach on an obvious crane, headed toward a downed spaceship. It's buried maybe six inches into the sand and has a skid-trail of at most 12 feet.

Robot Elle: "Nothing could have survived that. Look! Those nuclear exhaust ports have been gutted by fire!"

Now I'm no astronautical engineer, but what the heck else would one expect "nuclear exhaust ports" to look like? Whoever programmed Robot Elle ought to be vivisected for the cowboy accent alone, but this?

Smithee Award Winner!MegaMetaSmithee Award Winner! "Whoops!"

One. Two. Five.
The hilarious space battle where they count the enemy fighters and consistently count wrong.

Worst Special Effect

The Lava Lamp Weapon
The Ultimate Weapon is just a red lava-lamp superimposed upon the film, with cheezy sound-effects added. See above for details of its "awesome" power.

Smithee Award Winner! Worst Acting

People on 'Luudes Should Not Act
The final scene of the movie is all Christopher Plummer. He's seated on his throne as the Emporer of the First Circle of the Galaxy (whatever the heck that is). During his stirring final speech, the camera dollies slowly back.

"Once again, the stars...are clear. Oh -- some...dark power may someday once again rear its evil head. But for now...we can rest."

There's a languid half-smile on Plummer's face throughout the scene, as if he'd be having enormous difficulty in keeping from bursting into hysterical laughter if it weren't for the handful of Valium he'd swallowed in his dressing room a half-hour before.

Smithee Award Winner!MegaMetaSmithee Award Winner! Worst Picture

The Window of Opportunity
The other hilarious space battle, where the heroes fire missiles at the villain's hand-shaped space station. The missiles crash through the station's plate glass WINDOWS, and TROOPS jump out. Wouldn't explosives have been better?

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Caroline Munro  
Marjoe Gortner Preacher turned actor, his blond, curly head pops up in a lot of Bad Movies. 
David Hasselhoff Known for Knight Rider and Baywatch and just being himself.... 
Christopher Plummer Famous actor who doesn't seem to read the script before he accepts a job 
Hamilton Camp  
Robert Tessier  
Nadia Cassini  
Judd Hamilton  
Joe Spinell  
Director Claim to Fame
Luigi Cozzi  

Bryan Cassidy

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© 2011-2018 Bryan D. Cassidy, Greg Pearson, Matthew Quirk, and Kevin Hogan. All Rights Reserved.