To save the universe from the rule of evil Count Zart Arn (Joe Spinell), the
benevolent Emperor (Christopher Plummer) sends out 2 smugglers, Stella Star
(Caroline Munro) & Akton (Marjoe Gortner), the best
space-pilot-&-navigator-team in the universe, along with his officer Thor
(Robert Tessier) & police robot L to find Zart Arn's ultimate weapon, the
A trail leads to the Haunted Star System, where the emperor has already lost
a scout shilp, of which 3 escape shuttles have made it to nearby planets.
On the first planet they investigate, Stella & L are captured by the
Amazons of Queen Corelia (Nadia Cassini), & after they manage to escape,
they are attacked by her giant sword wielding female robot, which can only be
stopped by the timely intervention of Akton, piloting their spaceship against
the robot & bringing it down.
After an outer space battle against some of Zart Arn's guardships, our
heroes find the second shuttle on an ice planet, but while Stella & L go
onto the surface to investigate, Akton is overcome by Thor, who turns out to be
one of Zart Arn's spies, & he shuts Stella & L out of the spaceship,
letting them freeze to death slowly on the planet's surface - that is, if it
wasn't for L, who has some powers to keep Stella in suspended animation &
thus keep her from being frozen alive. UInside the ship meanwhile Akton, who
was thought dead by Thor, comes back to life miraculously & can defeat
Thor. As it turns out, Akton can see into the future & was thus prepared
for Thor's attack.
On their way to collet the third shuttle, Stella & company are attacked
by the Doom Machine itself ... & survive. Turns out the Doom Machine can
create monsters in one's mind that would drive a normal human crazy - but, as
Akton points out, "we are no normal humans !"
At the wrecking site of the 3rd shuttle, Stella & L are attacked by a
tribe of cavemen, who finally destroy L & put Stella into bondage - until
she is saved by a monster shooting laserbeams from its eyes, which turns
out to be, of all people, the emperor's son Simon (played by, of all
people, David Hasselhoff). The cavemen though soon catch up with them , but
luckily Akton arrives with his lightsaber & wards them off.
Soon the 3 of them find a cave where the actual Doom M achine is hidden -
but it's unfortunate that this was exactly what Zart Arn has wanted, he has set
a trap for the 3 of them & even got a message to the Emperor so he could
join the party - for the Doom Machine to go off & destroy them all ...
& to keep our trio of heroes at the center of the blast, Zart Arn has
his robots, the Golems, guarding them. Valiantly, Stella, Akton & Simon
fight the Golems & defeat them, even though Akton has to give his life, but
it might all be in vain, as the emperor arrives when it's just 48 seconds to
the blast - to short to escape ...
Fortunately though the emperor's powers include to halt time for a limited
amount of ... well time, so they manage to make a narrow escape after all. The
emperor then hurls his whole fleet against Zart Arn's flagship to halt him, but
to no avail, since Zart Arn proves to be too powerful.
There's only one way to stop the villain now: to pilot the Floating City,
pride of the Emperor's empire, against Zart Arn's flagship, to ram &
annihilate it (but at the loss of the city), & there's only one pilot to do
it ... Stella Star, who is joined by the newly repaired robot L ... need I say
it, good triumphs in the end.
Because of the very similar title, Star Crash was always ridiculed as
a low-budget rip-off of the then popular but utterly unremarkable Star Wars
- which is highly unfair, as Luigi Cozzi, an expert on fantastic cinema in his
own right, has taken no idea (with the possible exception of light sabers) from
Star Wars itself (which would be hard, as Star Wars is remarkably
devoid of original ideas in the first place), instead looked for inspiration
for his movie in similar sources - that being serials of the 30's & 40's,
most prominently the Flash Gordon-serials or Phantom
Empire, special effects movies like Seventh Voyage of Sindbad or
Jason and the Argonauts, of course Barbarella & the Doctor
Who-tv-series. Whereas though George Lucas tried desperately to
obscure the humble origins of his film (but failed miserably), Luigi Cozzi pays loving homage to them.
Of course, as ever so often with Italian sci-fi films, the budget was way
too low to allow the special effects extravaganza the script would demand - the
budget was only a small fraction of that of Star Wars (the original, not
the even worse souped up version) -, so occasionally, just like in the movies that
inspired Star Crash, very imaginative, inventive methods were used for
weird & wonderful effects, from oddly coloured shots of smoke to kitchen
appliances to Fisher Price-toys posing as futuritsic apparatus, with the
universe looking sometimes like a giant collection of differently coloured
Christmas tree balls in front of a black background.
Of course, you can hate this film for these shortcomings, or, as I do, love
it for its attempts to overcome them, for its nostalgic nonsense script, cheesy
sets & costumes - &, in all honesty, Caroline Munro in mostly very
brief outfits is a sight for sore eyes !