VHS MOVIE REVIEW : ESCAPE FROM GALAXY 3
On their space station, the Princess Belle Star (Sherry Buchanan) reports to her father, King Zanor (Auran Cristea) of the planet Exalon, that an unidentified spaceship has entered their galaxy. Zanor recognises the ship as belonging to Oraclon, the King of the Night (Don Powell). Captain Lithan (Fausto Di Bella) tells Zanor that they must prepare to fight, suggesting the Epsilon Plan. Zanor worries that this has not been tested, but Lithan points out that they have little option but to try it. Oraclon contacts Zanor, demanding his surrender. Zabor replies that he knows that even if he does surrender, Oraclon will kill the inhabitants of Exalon, so instead he will fight. A desperate battle ensues, during which Zanor’s forces suffer heavy losses. The space station sustains a direct hit on the command centre, from where Lithan is directing Zanor’s attack, and he must cut his way out with his laser-weapon. On the bridge, Zanor orders Lithan to leave the space station with Belle Star, and to try and gather support from some of Exalon’s allies. As the two pull away from the space station in their shuttle, Oraclon turns his the full force of his weapons onto the planet Exalon, which explodes.... As Zanor looks on in despair, Oraclon gloats that it is his turn – and the space station, too, erupts in flames.... As Oraclon orders his forces to stand down, he notices that a small space ship is heading away from the site of the battle. His surveillance devices allow him to see that it is Belle Star and Lithan. Oraclon orders his remaining ships to pursue them. Lithan prepares to deploy the Epsilon Plan, while also plotting evasive manoeuvres. Both are successful: Oraclon’s ships are destroyed, and the shuttle uses the force of the negative gravity of a nearby planet to go hurtling into deep space; however, in the battle, the shuttle sustained navigational damage. An outraged Oraclon swears that he will hunt them down.... Seeing that the shuttle’s power units are almost exhausted, Lithan tells Belle Star that they must set down at the first opportunity to repair their ship. By chance, they find themselves approaching an unfamiliar blue planet: neither of them have ever seen a planet like it. After analysing its atmosphere and finding it suitable, the two agree to land. On the planet below, the inhabitants stare and scream in terror as they see a strange object descend from the sky. Belle Star and Lithan emerge from their ship, recoiling from the strength of the planet’s sun. As they wander around, they gaze in amazement at the unfamiliar landscape. Suddenly, the two find themselves under attack from some rocky outcrops nearby, as the hidden natives hurl rocks at them. Lithan manages to hold off the attack with his laser-weapon, shooting at the ground near their attackers so as not to harm anyone. Terrified, the natives run away. Belle Star and Lithan make their way to the village, which is deserted. Nearby, the villagers are reporting the recent astonishing events to their Elder (Attilio Dottesio). The Elder orders the women and children safely hidden, while the men set a trap for the strangers that will prevent them from using their supernatural powers. Belle Star and Lithan continue to explore, first encountering a strange substance that Belle Star recognises from one of her father’s scientific collections as “water”, and then coming across two natives who, unaware that they are being watched, are engaging in a ritual that involves pressing their mouths together. After watching in some interest, Belle Star and Lithan conclude that this is a local form of communication, and decide to try it for themselves....
Comments: I have no-one to blame but myself. While our first round of Secret Santa, lo these many years ago, saw the evil intentions of Teleport City’s Keith Allison thrust upon me, this time I managed the draw personally – and could only cry helplessly, “Aw, not again!” as the pieces of paper fell open before me. (Granted, the fact that I drew Ken Begg in the giving department was something of a balm for my hurt feelings....nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.) In the end, though, it seems to me that Keith’s softened up over the last decade. The first time around he inflicted upon me America 3000, a Golan-Globus produced tale of a post-apocalyptic world that is supposed to be funny....and which is, therefore, excruciating to an extent that can hardly be quantified. This time around Keith – eventually – supplied me with a copy of Escape From Galaxy 3, an Italian space opera that, at least for the first half of its running-time, is played fairly straight – and which is therefore almost by definition hilarious.
Aww.... The galaxy sure is purty!
I only have myself to blame in another capacity, too, as it was clearly my review of Contamination and the subsequent discussion of Luigi Cozzi and Italian science fiction that put the idea of this film into Keith’s evil overlord mind. Contamination comes into play in another way, too, as even as that film allowed me to complete the official Ian McCulloch Triptych, so here, after Tentacoli and Zombi Holocaust, we have the third panel of my personal Sherry Buchanan Triptych. I should point out that everyone’s favourite brain donor is billed here as “Cheryl Buchanan”. Perhaps she thought that calling herself Cheryl would somewhat disguise her involvement in this film – which suggests that she was more ashamed of appearing in Escape From Galaxy 3 than in either of the Italian exploitationers we’ve already looked at, or the sado-masochistic Europorn drama, Il Mondo Porno Di Due Sorelle.
Think about that for a moment.
Another of the connections between Contamination and Escape From Galaxy 3 is more philosophical. When reviewing the former, I commented that most Italian science fiction, and in particular its special effects, “Puts you in mind of nothing so much as little kids re-enacting a favourite film sequence by putting cardboard boxes on their heads, waving sticks at each other and making pew-pew noises.” In this respect, Escape From Galaxy 3 is rather special, inasmuch as it features not only people actually waving sticks at one another, but an absolute plethora of pew-pew noises. Most of these occur during its opening sequence, which consists of a lengthy effects sequence lifted wholesale from Starcrash, Luigi Cozzi’s---well, what shall we call it?---tribute to Star Wars.
Escape From Galaxy 3 was marketed in some territories as, heaven help us, a sequel to Starcrash, but the egregious thieving of what were in the first place some of the cheapest effects ever inflicted on a suffering director by a stingy producer is about the extent of the actual relationship between the two. There are some moments of philosophical connection, though, such as the fact that like Starcrash, Escape From Galaxy 3 has a definite Barbarella vibe.
"This is my sexy face!"
Conversely, in one respect Escape From Galaxy 3 manages to outdo its putative model, and that is in its costuming, which must be seen to be believed. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Starcrash had Caroline Munro in a leather space-bikini; surely Escape From Galaxy 3 couldn’t outdo that? Well, it does, but from an unexpected direction. The crowning glory of this film is its evil space overlord – you knew there would be an evil space overlord, right? – whose outfit makes Joe Spinell’s in Starcrash look like a model of dignified restraint. There is only one word to describe the fashion sense of Oraclon, the King of the Night, and that word is FABULOUS.
(Don Powell, who plays Oraclon, also composed this film’s rather, uh, eclectic score.)
The opening credits of Escape From Galaxy 3 are accompanied by a song that reminds me of the one that closes Journey To The Seventh Planet, only it’s much, much worse, and play over another of its thievings, Starcrash’s Christmas-tree-lights universe. Then a long, pointy spaceship passes overhead. No, really. Somewhere nearby sits a space station, occupied by The Lavender Forces Of Good, led by King Zaron, clad in a shimmering, figure-flattering robe of purest mauve, accessorised by a kicky silver crown that sets off his eyes and just makes the outfit work.
A door opens, and in trot our Hero and Heroine. The latter is the Princess Belle Star, who responds to her father’s implicit sartorial challenge by dressing in a kind of diagonal leotard outfit, which leaves one buttock bare except for some spangles, and the opposite side’s breast bare except for a gold, star-shaped nipple-cover. Captain Lithan, meanwhile, also favours the tights-and-leotard look, but builds upon it with some shoulder pads that would make Joan Crawford – or at least Faye Dunaway – weep with envy.
A word about these two. By this time, Sherry Buchanan was an exploitation film veteran, and had acquired the useful knack of looking comfortable in front of the camera no matter what ridiculous thing she was asked to do – or wear. Fausto Di Bella, on the other hand, despite a much lengthier resume than Miss Buchanan, is unable to disguise how very much he’d rather be anywhere than in this film: most of his time on camera, he looks thoroughly miserable – even when he has a naked Sherry Buchanan lying on top of him.
This is what happens when, on about a tenth of the budget, you have to replace David Hasselhoff
and Marjoe Gortner.
Belle Star and Lithan have come to report that, “The cosmic radar has picked up an unidentified spaceship that doesn’t belong in our galaxy!” Yes, it’s that kind of science fiction film, where everything has the qualifier “cosmic” or “galactic” or “space”. Zaron instantly recognises the vessel in question, and so will you: it’s the Five Fingers Of Death, as occupied by Count Zarth Arn in Starcrash, here doing double-duty as the attack ship and funky disco pad of Oraclon, King of the Intensely Groovy Night.
Lithan urges action, answering Zaron’s doubts about the power of their weaponry by saying that they have “the Epsilon Plan”. I may say that we never find out what “the Epsilon Plan” actually is, although when they eventually try it, it does work.
Zaron declares a state of emergency and sends everyone to their posts, while Belle Star tries to comfort him. “Don’t worry, Father! I’m sure we’ll overcome the dark forces of evil!” – a line that induced in me a puzzled sense of déjà vu: had I, in fact, seen this before? No, I hadn’t – but I do own a copy of Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman’s science fiction quote book, Ghastly Beyond Belief, in which, for obvious reasons, Belle Star’s dialogue holds pride of place.
Zaron is not to be comforted, however, insisting that “our beloved Exalon” is doomed. Belle Star tries again. “No, Father! I’m sure our planet will come through in the end!”
And then its time to party on over to the Five Fingers of Funk, where we get our first good look at Oraclon, King of the Night.
"Now, honestly - could I BE any more FABULOUS!?"
I have only one thing to say: if this planet ever gets blown to smithereens by an Evil Space Overlord, I want this to be the Evil Space Overlord that does it. Da Groovy!
At this point in the film, we also meet my favourite character, Jemar, Oraclon’s tubby, balding, lisping offsider, who has the distinction of being the only white guy in Oraclon’s service, and whose position is, I guess, at least slightly less humiliating than Sigourney Weaver’s in Galaxy Quest, in that instead of repeating everything the computer says, his task is predominantly to repeat everything Oraclon says.
Oraclon contacts Zaron on the viewscreen and demands his surrender. Zaron refuses on the grounds that he’ll only kill all the Exalonites anyway – oh, way to put ideas into his head, Zaron! – and Oraclon responds by throwing a bit of a tanty. A lengthy battle – sorry space battle – follows, wholly lifted from Starcrash, full of parti-coloured planets and lasers and explosions and pew-pew noises.
Things go badly for Zaron & Co., and Zaron rather belatedly decides they’d better ask for help from their ally, Antarus. He sends Lithan and Belle Star on this mission, promising to cover their retreat from the space station by, “Throwing up a sheet of mega-rays!” Our Heroes exit the space station with more haste than dignity, and barely are they clear when Oraclon fires upon the planet Exalon and makes it go BLAMMO!!!! (Blowing up entire planets looks a lot easier here than in some other movies I could mention.) “Zaron!” gloats Oraclon. “Now it’s your turn!” A laser bean or something manages to enter the space station without damaging it at all and hits Zaron, who responds with a noise like he’s just stubbed his toe really hard. He goes up in a puff of smoke, and the next moment so does the space station.
"Belle Star, I have sworn that I shall die as I lived: wearing mauve!"
However, Oraclon’s triumphant mwoo-ha-ha-ha-ha!!-s get cut short when he sees a single ship escaping the genocide. Deploying a remarkable viewing device, which enables him to see into the cockpit of the small ship from the back of it, he discovers that it is Belle Star and Lithan who are escaping, and vows to track them down. “We are not returning to base until I have their heads at my feet!” he thunders. Or their feet at his head. It’s all good.
Oraclon sends his remaining battle ships after the single shuttle, and Lithan responds by deploying “the Epsilon Plan”, whatever that is. He and Belle Star then escape by using “the influence of Kryptos”, whose “negative gravitation” flings them into “deep space”. Their ship sustained some damage to the navigational system during the battle, and their power units are running low, so they agree to set down on the first “asteroid” they come across. This just happens to be a certain blue planet like none they’ve ever seen before....
So much for the fun part of Escape From Galaxy 3 – or at least until Oraclon shows up again towards the end. From here the film tries to be funny and sexy and fails dismally at both. It never quite reaches the painful heights of America 3000, granted, but it has its moments.
Down on the world which we will eventually discover is – surprise! – a post-nuclear holocaust Earth, the few survivors have evolved back to a way of life featuring mini-togas and lace-up boots, pop-up huts covered in tassels, and dance marathons. Technologically, however, they’re at the pointy-rock-on-stick phase, and so they scream and run when a huge metal object descends from the sky near their village.
Meanwhile, Belle Star and Lithan are staring in wonder at some bare rocks, which make you wonder what the late, lamented Exalon was like. As they wander around (there’s a lot of wandering around from this point), they’re ambushed by some of the locals, who chuck rocks at them. Belle Star and Lithan manage to frighten off their attackers without hurting them by firing their “beta-rays” and hitting the ground close to them.
"Deploy the middle finger!"
They then make their way to the natives’ hilariously impractical village (obviously tossed together from whatever was lying around the props department), but it is deserted, since the natives are busy just down the way babbling to their Elder about what they’ve just seen: all about the “giant flying monster” that landed nearby. “Two people in strange clothes came out of it!” wails one of the locals, which, broadly speaking, is fair comment, but perhaps not a criticism that should really be issuing from someone wearing an orange mini-toga. “We tried to talk to them, but it was impossible!” adds another native, kindly letting us know that “talk to them” is native-speak in this post-apocalyptic world for “we rolled boulders down the hill at them”.
In their wanderings, Belle Star and Lithan come across a stray local trying to light a fire by rubbing two sticks together. This, you’d think, would be a perfectly safe opportunity for a first contact, but instead of speaking to the man, they play silly buggers with their laser-rings. Their space-laser-rings. These useful devices can do everything from firing lasers to acting as oxyacetylene torches to opening and closing the spaceship doors remotely. Mind you, you wouldn’t want to get your control impulses mixed up.
So as the native gapes in terror, Lithan lights his fire, and then Belle Star puts it out, and then Lithan lights it....and then they stand there looking puzzled when the man runs away. “These people are 20 or 30,000 years behind our time!” concludes Belle Star. So evidently in THE FUTURE!!, people will start conversations with a little arson, rather than, “Hello.”
Unbeknownst to Wingus and Dingus, this display of their “supernatural powers” was witnessed from a nearby cliff-top by the locals. The Elder decides that the women and children will hide while the men trap the visitors. Meanwhile, Our Heroes come across something curious, which Belle Star recognises from her father’s collection of “intergalactic minerals”. “It’s one part oxygen, two parts hydrogen!” she tells Lithan, who makes an impressed little noise.
"Shoulder pads, leotards and tights!? Oh, that is so pre-nuclear holocaust!"
Further down the track again, they stumble over an even more curious sight: two natives engaged in a ritual that involves sucking each others’ faces – and sucking – and sucking. Ew. Our intrepid space travellers have never seen anything like it (I wish I hadn’t), but conclude that it must be a local form of communication, and decide to give it a whirl. My congratulations to Sherry Buchanan and Fausto Di Bella for their acting here: Belle Star and Lithan’s first kiss is exactly as gross and uncomfortable as it should be.
Their clumsy explorations not getting them anywhere, Belle Star and Lithan decide to talk to the smoochers instead, but they too run away – straight into the lake, where they fall over, yuck, yuck.
The visitors then hear voices all around them. These come from the locals, preparing to spring their secret trap by first going, “RHUBARB! RHUBARB!” at the top of their lungs, as you do. Lithan decides they’d better go back to the ship – hey, by the way, what did they get out of the ship for? – but then they get ambushed. Now, with half-a-dozen spears pointed at his throat, Lithan finally tries, “We come in peace!” The Elder gives him a long look and orders, “Take them away!”, which turns out to be code for, “Follow me!”
While Belle Star and Lithan reflect on their humiliating situation, the natives pass a “kill them before they kill us” bill, mostly by waving their arms and chanting, “Burn! Burn!” (And hoo, I wouldn’t want to tangle with that shortish, fair-haired chick – she means business.) Sure enough, the visitors are condemned to be burned alive, and taken to a handy ravine, which allows everyone else to watch from a cliff-top. Burning people alive is obviously considered fun for all the family, as the women and children crowd forward for a good eyeful.
The Elder tells the condemned that, “My people have decided that you must die”, thus passing the buck nicely, while the audience starts punching the air enthusiastically again. A woman we judge to be the Elder’s wife gets so caught up in this, she not only takes her eye off her little girl, she lets go of the kid’s hand so she can punch the air while chanting, “Burn! Burn! Burn!” When the kid loses her footing, her loving mother doesn’t even notice – at least not until she’s dangling from the single scrawny plant growing on the cliff-edge.
Irresponsible parenting of....THE FUTURE!!
As the woman cries out for help, Belle Star and Lithan exchange glances. She nods, and he goes Steve Austening up from the ravine, reaching the top of the cliff just as the scrawny plant gives way. He catches the child in his arms and hands her over to her mother, then jumps back down into the ravine.
In the stunned silence that follows, Belle Star realises what the problem is: “Evidently, they don’t know what psycho-energetic force is!” The Elder makes an embarrassed, gee-sorry-about-the-burning-you-alive-plan apology, and suddenly everyone’s friends.
And then we cut away to see what Oraclon’s up to – YAYYY!!! “Yah! They’re making fools of us!” he grumbles to Jemar. I think he means the costume designers.
And then it’s back to Earth – d’oh!! – where everything’s just cutesy-wootsie-happy, as Belle Star and Lithan, having gone native – he in a loin-cloth, she in high heels and a beady outfit even skimpier than her incomplete leotard – romp with the children and encounter a mysterious creature called a water buffalo, which butts Lithan up the, well, butt.
Lithan then helps out by using his psycho-energetic force to build a dam single-handedly and in minutes. The Elder here gives the expected, “We are the only survivors of an ancient and ill-fated civilisation” speech, although his comment that, “You are the first visitors we’ve had since we settled here” makes it sound as if the natives were originally from space, too – which hardly gels with the “giant flying monster” business.
Apparently the Lollipop Guild survived the apocalypse.
Soon, Belle Star discovers one of the uses of “one part oxygen, two parts hydrogen” – namely, giving us this primitive world’s equivalent of the Gratuitous Shower Scene: the Gratuitous Waterfall Scene. It’s rather hard to tell exactly what audience Escape From Galaxy 3 was intended for: its tone is thoroughly childish, but the emphasis on nudity and softcore groping from hereon in makes it adult in content if not mentality. Director Bitto Albertini was the man responsible for introducing Laura Gemser to the Emanuelle (with one ‘m’) series, but don’t expect anything that explicit here. Or that sleazy.
Anyway, while Belle Star romps nekkid in the water and then sprawls on the grassy bank behind a couple of conveniently situated ferns, she is watched by a native man who now creeps up on her. Plucking a flower from nearby, he begins to stroke her body with it, while she lies there getting all ooh-ey and ahh-ey. Indeed, this floral foreplay gets her so hot, she makes no protest when the stranger jams his tongue down her throat and then literally throws a leg over – even though, as it turns out, she has no idea what he’s doing.
That’s right, where Belle Star and Lithan come from, there’s no such thing as sex – it’s just something that exists in their legends and superstitions. However, so successfully has the nameless stranger managed the business – well, hey, first sex is always great, isn’t it? – that now Belle Star can’t wait to tell Lithan all about it. Lithan, however, just doesn’t get it, sitting unmoved through Belle Star’s kisses and stroking and placing of his hand on her breast.
Fortunately for the frustrated Belle Star, three strangers wander by. She offers Lithan to the two giggling women, while she takes possession of the man. “Watch!” she orders Lithan, as she and her new partner play tonsil-hockey. But even with two girls feeling him up, Lithan looks more confused than aroused.
Belle Star and Lithan succumb to their uncontrollable sexual attraction.
But before things can progress any further, there’s another “giant flying monster” in the sky. Realising that Oracon has found them, Belle Star says that they’ll have to leave, otherwise he’ll destroy the planet. “And these people don’t deserve such a terrible fate!” she declares – showing, I may say, far more concern for the inhabitants of Earth than she ever did over those of her home planet, the destruction of which has subsequently gone unmentioned by its only survivors. But, hey, maybe the people of Exalon did deserve such a terrible fate?
Lithan remarks that they can’t leave the planet, because the navigational system hasn’t been fixed. Gee, guys, maybe you should have been concentrating on that instead of fraternising with the natives. They can activate their shields, though, and do.
When he realises that the planet below is Earth, Oraclon kindly fills us in on our back-story, or our future, whichever: “Of course there’s radiation! They destroyed themselves in an atomic war!” He orders Jemar to scan the whole planet for signs of life. Their ship moves off, prompting some rather premature laughing and cheering from the locals.
On their ship, Belle Star is reminiscing over the legends that her father used to tell her, about people from faraway planets who live ephemeral lives. Lithan mutters unkindly that they’re so technologically backwards, he’s not surprised....but then concedes that there’s something attractive about the way they live. “Maybe science alone isn’t enough?”
Two tasteful shower scenes in two consecutive Italian genre films - that has to be some kind of record.
Belle Star then reveals another interesting legendary “fact”: that once people have “tasted the joys of life”, they lose their immortality. “You mean,” says a stunned Lithan, “we aren’t immortal anymore!?” Well, you still are, Lithan – unless we missed something. Belle Star takes his hand. “Does it really matter?” she croons.
Does it really matter!? OF COURSE IT REALLY MATTERS, YOU SILLY COW!!!!!!
Lithan remains unresponsive, even calling Belle Star “Princess” instead of by her name. Belle Star asks him what’s wrong? “I’m not sure,” he replies, pulling his hands away from hers and turning his back.
Oh, just admit it, man! – you simply aren’t ready yet to lose your....immortality. It’s nothing to be ashamed of!
Turning the subject, Lithan comments that if they use the emergency boosters, they can leave any time. “Let’s try it!” cries Belle Star, with an enthusiasm that suggests she thinks that “using the emergency boosters” is a euphemism for something else. Backing away from her (I guess he got that vibe, too), Lithan explains that if they do, they will give their position away to Oraclon. “So what do we do?’ asks Belle Star, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.
To her frustration, Lithan suggests a return to the village. On their way back, the two are surrounded by cheering villagers who lift them up on their shoulders, I’ve no idea why. I guess they think Our Heroes got rid of the second giant flying monster.
Just your standard Earth greeting.
And then--- And then--- Well, what primitive civilisation would be complete without a primitive dance ritual? Mind you--- Of all the things that could have survived a nuclear holocaust, who would have guessed it would be the Jilla-Jalla-Jellyfish?
Oh, it’s not exactly the same, of course: with all that radiation lying around, it’s got a bit mutated. There’s some Hustle in there, and some Funky Chicken, with some pelvic thrusting more Michael Jackson than Elvis Presley thrown in for good measure. However, the main artistic quality of the Jilla-Jalla-Jellyfish, that is, the exquisite grace and rhythmic coordination of those rare few who master its intricacies, has survived intact.
On the sidelines, the two giggly women have rounded up Lithan and are teaching him to “eat” and “drink”. That’s right: Belle Star and Lithan are members of an immortal race that doesn’t eat or drink or have sex. Yeesh. I hope at least they have good cable service. Over the way, Belle Star is getting similar lessons from Leg-Over Guy and some other one. There’s also much groping going on. Belle Star and Lithan exchange rueful glances, as if they’d rather be groping each other but can’t quite figure out how to make it happen.
As night falls, the Elder announces this to be “the Festival of Love” that marks “the end of the four seasons”. You’d think the locals would know that already. You might also think that a “Festival of Love” wasn’t really necessary in a culture whose members seem to spend all of their spare time feeling each other up. The “Festival”, such as it is, focuses upon a contest wherein one of the men has to figure out how to get an ugly necklace out of a bowl on a stand in the middle of a ring of fire under a wooden overpass, and the first to do so gets to pick whoever he likes for “a night of love”. I repeat my previous objections.
To those of you who think nuclear weapons are a good idea, I say - BEHOLD YOUR LEGACY!!
But first – more dancing!! The same bunch of extras comes running and leaping in, this time carrying torches, and after some dancing and prancing and quite a bit of mincing, they set fire to the test area. (All of this is accompanied by a piece of music that would like to be “The Flight Of The Bumble-Bee”, but doesn’t quite dare.) A couple of young men volunteer for the test. The first fails, and everyone laughs merrily as he suffers third degree burns. The second succeeds, and of course has his eye – among other things – on some alien nookie.
Well! – Lithan’s not the least bit pleased about that, although his giggly companies have to explain to him that that knot in his gut is called “jealousy”. But as Contest Winner leads Belle Star away to one hut, he allows himself to be led away to another. Neither alien is very responsive to their partners, however, and both start experiencing hallucinations of being with someone else. In Lithan’s case, his companion shedding her clothes causes him to fantasise about Belle Star with her clothes on. I’m not quite sure if that makes him a gentleman, or just a schmuck.
Anyway, Lithan decides that enough is enough and, leaving his dismayed companion, he stalks over to the other hut, takes Belle Star by the hand, and leads her off without a word. And Contest Winner just stands there and lets him. I’m not sure if that makes him a gentleman or a schmuck either.
And then, instead of finding themselves a nice comfy hut, they pick the driest, scratchiest, pokiest, most uncomfortable-looking stretch of ground they possibly could to lie down on and get it on. My suspicion is, they’re actually relieved when Oraclon shows up.
Oh, yeah! – Oraclon shows up! Whee!! He fires lasers all over the village with more pew-pew noises while the people run around in circles and scream and trip over. But soon he gets tired of this small-scale stuff and orders the planet destroyed. Poor Jemar has to break it to him that they only had one “Force Ten Mega-Ray”, and they used it to blow up Exalon. (Wait a minute: weren’t mega-rays what shielded Belle Star and Lithan and let them get away? Hmm....) But he consoles Oraclon with the thought that eventually, their quarry will have to recharge their shields, will which simultaneously reveal their whereabouts and deprive them of protection.
"Sometimes being sexually irresistible is a real pain."
Down below, the villagers are rightly blaming Belle Star and Lithan for the pew-pew business and demanding that they leave. Lithan explains the situation and that, in fact, they have to leave – which has the effect of making the villagers demand that they stay. Because if they do stay, they’ll be able to defend the planet from the danger that will only threaten if Belle Star and Lithan are on the planet in the first place.
Belle Star: “But – once we’ve left, you won’t be in any danger – so let us go!”
Elder: “No, never! Tie them up!”
Reverse psychology is one thing. This...is something quite unique.
The villagers all descend upon Belle Star and Lithan, who fight them all off using, I guess, their psycho-energetic powers. (Do look out for the woman in black-and-white who gets thrown over Sherry Buchanan’s shoulder three times, thanks to the magic of Super-Economy Editing.) The visitors are briefly overwhelmed by sheer numbers, but then throw off their attackers and hold them off by firing warning lasers, either from their space-laser-rings, or from their hands, which is what it looks like. Either way, it makes pew-pew noises.
Belle Star and Lithan then run for their ship and take off, which for some reason doesn’t immediately bring Oraclon down upon them. Lithan sets the coordinates for home – or at least for where home used to be (a good trick, as they don’t know where they are) – and comments, “It’ll be a long trek before we enter our own galaxy.”
“We don’t have to worry about getting bored,” responds Belle Star. “We did learn something from those people!”
And yes, while the entire appalling theme song plays, Belle Star and Lithan get nekkid and roll around and around and---don’t actually do anything. I do like the way that Belle Star (or Sherry Buchanan) keeps climbing on top, and Lithan (or Fausto Di Bella) keeps gently rolling her off again, though.
But then Oraclon detects the whereabouts of their ship! He tunes in on that handily positioned spying device, and – gets a real eyeful. “What are they doing?” he demands in a puzzled – and slightly repulsed – tone of voice, prompting a bewildered shrug from Jemar. (Not to woory, Jemar: we believe you don’t know what they’re doing.)
Oraclon then turns up the volume, just in time to hear Lithan sigh, “It’s amazing! When you think of the thousands of years we’ve wasted – !”
“I don’t understand!” huffs Oraclon, so mystified that he refrains from blasting them into infinity. “Why don’t they try to avoid us?” Jemar replies simply that they have nowhere to go. “Their planet is uninhabitable” – well, yes, inasmuch as you blew it up – “and their space station has been destroyed.” Oraclon decides that instead of just killing them, he must capture them and find out what strange thing happened to them on Earth to make them like this. “And then--- Mwoo-ha-ha-ha-ha!”
Meanwhile, Out Heroes have put their clothes back on, such as they are, and Belle Star is hatching a Cunning Plan. She tells Lithan that they must surrender, as it will only be when she is close to Oraclon that she will able to take revenge. “After thousands of years, our sexual powers have come back to life, and we haven’t suffered any harm,” muses Belle Star. “On the contrary: we’ve acquired a powerful new dimension!”
“I don’t understand,” says Lithan. And neither, apparently, did screenwriter John Thomas (*snicker*), because we immediately cut away.
Nothing helps pass those long, lonely nights in space like a Cinemax subscription.
Oraclon orders his ships to surround Our Heroes, and either because of this, or because she was going to do it anyway, Belle Star pops up on the monitor and offers surrender. The captives are brought on board, and Oraclon gathers “the other kings” – who I guess he captured instead of killing and blowing up their planets, for some reason – in the throne room, to witness Belle Star’s capitulation. Oraclon tells his captives that they will both be his slaves, in their different capacities, until the end of time – or in Lithan’s case, “For the rest of his cosmic life!” Of course, given that this is a sexless galaxy, I’m not sure what Belle Star is actually being threatened with here. Possibly telling Oraclon how fabulous he is every five minutes.
To be extra mean, Oraclon takes his prisoners to Exalon – “A dead, lifeless planet!” Uh, so what exactly was that Earth-shattering---I mean, Exalon-shattering kaboom at the beginning of the film, then? “Your father was stupid to resist me! All the other kings and emperors of the galaxy have recognised my powers, and are my loyal allies!” Loyal allies held prisoner on Oraclon’s ship with their hands tied together, no less. This dispirited bunch is shepherded into the throne room by Jemar. One of them falls to his knees, crying, “Princess Belle Star!” An irate Oraclon shoves him over, which prompts Belle Star to run to him, and a pathetic little mini-rebellion from Lithan, who is held by two guards wearing disturbingly Michael Jackson-esque orange sleeveless outfits.
Oraclon isn’t taking any guff from his newly acquired slaves, though, and immediately gives Lithan what for. However, thanks to the magic of space-acoustics, we hear the blows about two seconds before they land.
Oraclon then adds insult to injury by demanding that Belle Star kneel at his feet. She does, but asks that before she dedicates her life to her new master, she be allowed to say goodbye to Lithan. Oraclon allows this, which is rather sporting of him. So Belle Star and Lithan have one last snog, while everyone looks on with pursed lips and wrinkled noses. And rightly so.
"Tell me the truth, Jemar: is the silver lightning-bolt necktie just a leetle too much?"
Oraclon, meanwhile, gets a look like he’s just thought of something to make his new slave do for the next thousand years or so. At any rate, he makes no protest when Belle Star finally pries her lips off Lithan’s and wanders in his direction. Transfixed by her, he doesn’t notice that Lithan’s eyes have lit up like laser-beams. Literally.
As Belle Star keeps Oraclon distracted, Lithan fires deadly lasers from his eyes, frying the Funkadelic King of the Night and reducing him to a smouldering pile of ashes. Eh!? I can only suppose this is the “powerful new dimension” brought on by their revived “sexual powers” that Belle Star was going on about. In any event, the shot that takes down Oraclon is a pretty good trick, as it fries him without touching Belle Star, despite her being in the direct line of fire, and in physical contact with Oraclon.
Lithan then grabs a weapon from the guards and fries them, too, although presumably he could have just given them laser-eye. Three of the guards fall down dead without actually being shot. Handy. Belle Star unties the kings as Lithan sets the spaceship’s self-destruct mechanism. Rather than fleeing, however, everyone then stands around chatting. The kings plan to return to their planets, but want to know where Belle Star and Lithan will go? Belle Star replies that they intend returning to the planet where “we learned to be happy”. The kings protest that they will lose the gift of immortality; be vulnerable to sickness! old age!! death!!!
“Yes, we know!” chirps Belle Star. “But love is worth it!”
Then they remember the self-destruct thingummie, and figure they should probably, you know, leave. On their shuttle, Belle Star and Lithan look on as the Five Fingers of Fabulousness go up in flames, and mysteriously, they’re wearing their clothes from the beginning of the film, which we know were left on Earth. Hmm....
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the blue-laser-ey'd monster....
The Heavenly Hand having been disposed of, our lovers head for Earth. They have some trouble finding it again, but finally see that old blue bauble that has captured their hearts. They land, and although (as you might remember) they parted from the inhabitants with a mixture of rancour, karate-chops and laser-fire, everyone comes rushing towards the ship waving their arms and cheering.
Belle Star and Lithan smile and wave back, and then have a good snog. And that night, they return to that dry, scratchy, poky, flat-out uncomfortable stretch of ground to get it on.
Say it with me, now---
Footnote: Now, I don't mean to harp on this, but....
....do NOT try to tell me that's NOT the Jilla-Jalla-Jellyfish they're doing; just DO NOT.
VHS MOVIE REVIEW : BLOODY MOON
FROM S COCKWELL AT EATMYBRAINS.COM
Could it be Miguel (Alexander Waechter), who not only has to cope with a bad prosthetic on his face but a Gary Oldman-hairdo-from-Hell too? Miguel has just returned from a five year stretch in a mental home (very Michael Myers) after killing a girl with a pair of scissors.
Or maybe the killer could be Miguel’s sister Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff), who has a habit of parading around in next to nothing, her assets pert and in danger of taking someone’s eye out. When Manuela isn’t being so vacuous looking and provocative, she takes to teasing her brother with the promise of major incestuous loving, whilst still holding down a relationship with language teacher Alvaro (Christoph Moosbrugger). She’s a busy girl.
Could indeed Alvaro be the one doing the slaying or maybe young stud Antonio (Peter Exacoustos), who attracts the attention of pretty much every female at the school except the one he really wants to get to know? Or perhaps all of this is just a figment of Angela’s imagination and anyway does anyone really care? We just wanna see that circular saw in action!
A frankly bonkers but fun rip-off/cash-in on John Carpenter’s Halloween, with the odd smidgeon of Hitchcock’s Psycho sliced in for good measure, exploitation director Jesus Franco’s Bloody Moon is blessed with some juicy and most outrageous death scenes.
It was because of such deliciously squelchy scenes that the movie was banned as a Video Nasty in the mid Eighties. It doesn’t matter that the scenes tend to make little, if any sense; the censors got their collective knickers in a twist over a scene whereby a woman is somehow being stabbed through her back and straight out through her boobie – blood on breasts is a major no no! Actually, that’s not ALL they got into lather about. There is a wonderfully tacky decapitation scene by a huge circular stone-saw, LOVE that false head, a child being deliberately run down by a car (it’s ok to show this if it’s an accident apparently) as well as a snake’s head being spliced off by a set of garden shears and the camera picking up on the still twitching head on the ground.
Bloody Moon is better than the majority of those I’ve seen that were banned, entertaining in a kind of laugh-out-loud sort of way. To say that it isn’t particularly well acted is kind of pointing out the obvious, that’s a given, I’d expect that. What I didn’t expect was that considering its previous status there’s not quite as much gore as you might expect. Time has passed on and time hasn’t been kind to the standard of the gore, although it would have been very effective for its day. It’s nice to see all the gore back in its lurid red glory.
You’ve just got to love the dubbing! It took me back to my younger days when I’d return from the pub, stick Channel Four on and enjoy some dodgy dubbed horror movie. It’s all very Euro Trash.
With Franco’s career primarily in the exploitation side of things it is hardly surprising to find that the girls are more highly sexed than is the standard for a slasher movie. They are interchangeable and tend to make little or no sense with their verbal banter, unless they are talking about sex, for which they are up for on a basis that would put Annabel Chong to shame. It’s a bit like sharing the last bus home from Bournemouth surrounded by boozed up chav lasses only less intimidating and fortunately more fuller-clothed.
Many critics have gone on about how awful the Gerhard Heinz’ score is. I must say I didn’t actually notice, but then drinking six pints of Stella can do that. There’s too much fun to be had watching Bloody Moon, from the tacky Eighties clothing and hairstyles through to the tunes that the girls dance to at clubs and parties. It is one those horror movies that feels it has to have a full moon every single night just for the effect of having one.
Franco, who appears in the film as a doctor, has plundered John Carpenter’s Halloween shamelessly. Remember when Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie, found her friends recently dead bodies propped up or hanging around at the kid Lindsey Wallace’s abode? Well, there’s a scene exactly like that towards the end of Bloody Moon as Angela finds her gobby friends in various states of dismemberment in her unluckily numbered ‘13’ apartment. In Halloween the set-up is wholly plausible. In Bloody Moon it is so not! When on Earth did the killer manage to get into Angela’s apartment and prop the dead bodies in position given that she had barricaded herself in?
There are other ‘nods’ towards Halloween - the opening shot with camera-through-the-mask perspective, getting locked up in a looney-bin for murdering a girl with a sharp implement, and the potential killer being close to his sister – although maybe not AS close as these two are.
It is pretty easy to suss out who the killer is with the most obvious choice being the most blatant red herring in history! The plot doesn’t really seem to make a lot of sense tying itself up but then something could have been lost in translation, like common sense and a plot structure. Regardless Bloody Moon is perfect after pub fodder, and there’s always a place for that.
Bloody Moon includes a trailer and an interview with the director as extras. The trailer shows pretty much all the grisly bits there are to see in the movie. In fact I can't believe how much it does show.
The interview with director Jesus Franco lasts for around 18 minutes and is quite revealing. Bloody Moon’s much derided score is not just hated by the critics but even Mr Franco too. He talks about how he was promised Pink Floyd for the score and never got them. He was promised the best make-up artist in the world to do the gore and again never got them; Franco was made a lot of promises and never got them. Jesus Franco makes for a refreshingly honest interview subject and this is an extra that is worth sitting down to watch.