The Emperor’s starship is searching for the evil Count Zarth Arn (Joe Spinell). The Count has a weapon so massive that it can only be hidden by a planet. The starship is attacked by a weapon that drives the crew insane. Several of them manage to get to escape pods just before the starship is destroyed.
At the same time two small time smugglers, Stella Star (Caroline Munro) and an alien named Akton (Marjoe Gortner) are trying to elude the space police. On their tail are Chief Thor (Robert Tessier) and a police robot called Elle (Judd Hamilton). Jumping to hyperspace Stella and Akton find one of the starship’s escape pods floating in space. Stella boards it and finds one person barely alive. The two smugglers are captured by Thor and Elle. Convicted and sentenced to hard labor the two are separated and sent to different penal colonies.
Elle escapes but is quickly apprehended by Thor and Elle. This time she is taken to see the Emperor. Akton is also there and they are offered clemency and recruited to help the Emperor battle Count Zarth Arn. They are briefed on the Count’s weapon. Thor and Elle are assigned to help them find the missing pods and the Count’s mothership. While they are looking for the pods the Emperor asks them to look for his son, who was on the battleship that was destroyed, in case he made it to one of the escape pods.
One pod is found on a planet inhabited by Amazons. No one is found alive from the pod. Stella and Elle go out to investigate. The Amazons try to destroy Elle and capture Stella but, with Akton’s help, they manage to escape. They then locate where the mothership crashed on a frozen planet. Again Elle and Stella go out to inspect the pod. Again they find no one alive. When they try to return to the ship they learn that Thor is working for Count Zarth Arn. He has attacked Akton and is trying to escape the planet leaving Elle and Stella to freeze to death. Akton, however, is not dead. He kills Thor and saves Elle and Stella. The third pod is found on a planet inhabited by primitive cave people. On this planet they find one survivor who happens to be the Emperor’s son Simon (David Hasselhoff). Akton reveals that they are also on the planet that is in reality Count Zarth Arn’s weapon.
“Starcrash” was released in 1978 and was directed by Luigi Cozzi. It is an American space opera science fiction film. The film was originally made for American International Pictures, but after seeing the final cut, they declined to release it. New World Pictures stepped in instead. New World Pictures is a production and distribution company owned by Roger Corman. Although the film was produced by Nat and Patrick Wachsberger we can thank Roger for the distribution of it.
There are so many correlations between this film and “Star Wars” 1977. It raises the question is “Starcrash” a rip off of “Star Wars”. Many believe that yes it is a rip-off of the famous Lucas film; however, Cozzi maintains that the script and design of the film was developed before “Star Wars” was released in May 1977. Filming for “Starcrash” began in October 1977 in Rome. Others maintain that Nat Wachsberger asked Luigi Cozzi to make a space opera like "Star Wars". Cozzi had never seen the film, but he had the novelization of it in his library. Reportedly he read it and then created his own version of it. There is even a faction, albeit a small faction, which believes “Star Wars” is a rip off of “Starcrash”. Sure.
Similarities: Both have, a weapon the size of a planet, light sabers, minor criminals that find themselves heroes, trying to rescue a prince/princess, Zarth Arn vs Darth Vader, League of the Dark Worlds vs the Dark Side, Elle vs C3PO.
The film is basically hysterical nonsense. There are a lot of ridiculous scenes in the film. Apparently you can swim in outer space and robots have Texan accents. Stars are color coded and you can fly a city. You can also put troops in torpedoes and crash them through spaceship windows for surprise attacks. There are many little things that just thumb their noses at the laws of physics. The movie is Flash Gordon, Ray Harryhausen, Star Wars and every low budget science fiction “B” movie ever made. It is outrageously fun. If you have a sense of humor you will enjoy this film. It has earned its fan base.
The star of the film is the bikini clad Caroline Munro as Stella Star. In fact the working title of the film was “The Adventures of Stella Star”. Marjoe Gortner was supposed to be a nasty looking alien but he refused to wear the make-up required so they made him just really tan. Cozzi, being a Ray Harryhausen fan, added the giant metal monster that is reminiscent of Talos and the two metal robots that look like the skeleton warriors from “Jason and the Argonauts” 1963.
Christopher Plummer only did the film because he got to go to Rome. He is credited as saying “I’ll do porno in Rome, as long as I can get to Rome.”
Marjoe Gortner, David Hasselhoff, Christopher Plummer, and Joe Spinell provided their own voices in the English-dubbed version. Caroline Munro’s voice was dubbed by Candy Clark, who was married to Gortner at the time. Judd Hamilton’s voice was dubbed by Hamilton Camp.