Eric S Brown
At the end of the 1970s movie studios were scrambling to capitalize on the success of Star Wars anyway they could. There were dozens of ripoffs and perhaps most infamous among them was Luigi Cozzi’s Starcrash. Shot on a budget of four million dollars, Cozzi claimed that Starcrash was in development prior to Star War’s release but regardless it hit the big screens afterwards.
One of the few good things about Starcrash is that it had a female lead with Caroline Munro playing the part of a young smuggler, Stella Star. Ms. Munro was, for the time, something of a sex symbol and “easy on the eyes”. So in some ways Starcrash was also a ripoff of the cult classic film, Barbarella which had been released nearly a decade earlier. The most direct and legally questionable ripoff element of the film however is Stella Star’s sidekick Akton, who has mystical, Jedi like powers and even fights his battles with a laser sword that seems to be nothing more than a cheaply made lightsaber.
Starcrash can come across as the worst kind of exploitation film as Caroline Munro as Stella Star is scantily clad for most of the movie. There is a fight scene between Stella Star and a group of Amazons she encounters that is so badly done it’s almost painful to watch.
Some claim that Starcrash is a decent film from its era if one is able to shut off their brain and just enjoy its seemingly nonstop action and childlike energy. Rolling Stone even put it on their list of the top fifty SF films of the 1970. To most though, the bad acting, low budget, stilted dialogue, cheesy effects, and the utter nonsense that passes for its plot are enough to turn them away. There really aren’t many positive things to say about Starcrash and it is not a film I can recommend wasting time on unless one is an utter completist in terms of their SF viewing.