Star Slammer (aka Prison Ship) [Blu-ray]
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Newly Re-mastered in HD! Untamed! Uncaged! Unleashed in Space! Far into the future… a war rages on a distant, desolate planet. Taura (Sandy Brooke, Terror on Alcatraz), a voluptuous Amazonian beauty, finds herself mounting a battle against the forces of evil when she tangles with Bantor (Ross Hagen, The Hellcats), a sadistic government official. Soon she is sentenced to hard labor aboard the prison ship Star Slammer and must prove herself to her young female cellmates before earning their respect and leading them in a daring prison break. With every turn, Taura faces new dangers, as she must outwit the sex-starved warden, out-tough the tyrannical trustee, and battle jagger rats, astro zombies and alien monsters. She leads her small army into a space war that will bring their salvation or their final doom. Both a comedy and a sci-fi adventure packed with action and stunning special effects, Star Slammer takes you on a fun-filled ride to the edge of the universe! Along for the trip are veteran actors Aldo Ray (And Hope to Die), John Carradine (Invisible Invaders) and beauties Suzy Stokey (The Power), Marya Gant (Cannibal Hookers), Dawn Wildsmith (Surf Nazis Must Die) and Vivian Schilling (Soultaker). Produced by indie great Jack Harris (The Blob) and directed by cult filmmaker Fred Olen Ray (The Tomb).
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary by Director Fred Olen Ray | Trailers
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The film follows Taura from a traumatic battle on planet Arous with Bantor (who ends up with an unsightly and ridiculous hand injury), her subsequent imprisonment on the spaceship prison, her torment, her unhappy reunion with Bantor (and his can opener hand), and eventual revolt and jail break while paying homage to predecessor science fiction classics. The film features an odd cast including midgets with pots on their heads, an ultra-strange orthodox priest of some type, Zaal, played wonderfully by Johnny Legend, and hilarious and pompous dialogue such as "A man who gives in to evil unlocks the door to his own asylum."
Other features include an amply endowed and evil prison warden, a ridiculous monster which is dispatched in a manner that may remind some of the conclusion from "Jaws 2", numerous fights between the prisoners (of course), and some extremely jarring harmonica playing with accompanying dancing. A favorite of mine is the presence of giant rubber rats that engage in fights as realistic and vicious as the famous duel between Bela Lugosi and the octopus. I was mystified as to the purpose of the pastime involving the combination of dancing and boxing, but it made me laugh out loud. This brings me to the Frisbee of Death. This is perhaps the most hilarious death scene ever caught on film. I will say no more about it so you can savor it for yourselves.
The film doesn't take itself especially seriously (if you haven't already guessed), and I particularly enjoyed the frequent public address announcements relating vital information like that the movie of the day is "Jailhouse Rock". This was one of the more entertaining ploys in the film. The film is entertaining in a B-movie sort of way, but is not without detractions. First among the list of issues is the pacing: there actually are some clever satirical concepts here but the pacing is slow, and the film drags. The low budget effects were amusing in a way, but some of the scenes were too close to the serious science films that came before them to be effective as parody or satire, and didn't work well; that is especially true of the protracted climactic space battle.
Overall this earned three stars: it does have entertaining and amusing moments, but they are too far apart, and intermingled with some really loopy dialogue and bad (really bad) overacting. B-movie lovers should enjoy it, and to them I recommend it.
They're cute, but the acting is just bad . . . it has that sense of "yep, we filmed it, got through the scene, good enough". I'm assuming one take, but . . . maybe not? The sets actually weren't bad, sort of high-school/college level, and the outdoor scenes were creatively enough done. Someone else noted that the costumes were self-provided, which I believe. I'm not sure anything could have saved the dialogue, but . . . the acting does not help. Caricatures, not characters. Unclear why Carradine was in this; I'm assuming a low point in his life. Watched on Amazon Prime ("home of free movies and creeping insanity"). Could not finish watching.