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Flesh Gordon

USA 1974
produced by
Howard Ziehm, Bill Osco for Graffiti Productions
directed by Howard Ziehm, Michael Benveniste
starring Jason Williams, Suzanne Fields (= Cindy Hopkins), Joseph Hudgins, William Dennis Hunt, Candy Samples, Mycle Brandy, John Hoyt, Steve Grumette, Nora Wieternik, Lance Larsen, Ludy Ziehm, Leonard Goodman, Donald Lee Harris, Howard Alexander, Jack Rowe, Alan Sinclair, Mark Fore, Annettte Anderson, Maria Aronoff, Shannon West, Ric Lutze, Sally Alt, Nancy Ayres, Kathryn Foster
written by Michael Benveniste, music by Ralph Ferraro, special effects by Walter R. Cichy, Howard Ziehm, Tom Sherman, Dave Allen, Jim Danforth, Ray Mercer, cinematography by Howard Ziehm

Flesh Gordon, Flash Gordon

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Because the earth is hit by sex rays from planet Porno, all-American hero Flesh Gordon (Jason Williams), scientist Doctor Jerkoff (Joseph Hudgins) and daqmsel-in-distress Dale (Suzanne Fields) go up to Porno to check out what's going on ... but once there, they are immediately captured by mad Emperor Wang (William Dennis Hunt), who wants to conquer the earth with his sex ray (though I haven't yet figured out how that is supposed to work. He immediately takes a liking in dale and wants to make her his new wife while he employs Jerkoff as scientist ... but Flesh he wants killed, until Queen Amore (Mycle Brandy) claims him as her new mate.

Wang though has long conspired agains Amora and now sees the perfect opportunity to shoot her ship out of the skies when she and Flesh, who shags her under an hypnotic spell, are leaving. Flesh though somehow survives the crash and is soon saved by Jerkoff, who has since found a way to escape Wang, and his new friends, the Forest People, led by (gay) Prince Precious (Lance Larsen), the rightful ruler of Porno.

Of course they manage to free Dale, but on their way to destroy the sex ray and free planet Porno from its evil Emperor, they run into all kinds of dangers, like the Royal Flush (a giant toilet that leads them straight to the sewers), penisaurs (yes, it is what you get when you cross a penis and a dinosaur), Queen Nellie (Candy Samples) and her gang of amazons, robots with penis-drills, and so on and so forth, until Emperor Wang, finding himself cornered, releases his ultimate weapon, a giant monster ... which soon enough develops a liking for Dale, snatches her and, Dale in hand, climbs the highest tower on the planet to face his adversaries, just like in King Kong. But, almost like in Kong, our heroes simply take a spaceship and shoot the monster off the tower. And when it's falling the monster exactly hits the balcony from which Wang is just operating his sex ray ...

 

Legend has it that Flesh Gordon in the planning stages was supposed to be a cheapo hardcore porn parody of the Flash Gordon serials from the 1930's. But somehow, the project developed a life of its own, and eventually more and more special effects talent got involved in the film, which on one hand raised the costs of the film, but on the other also granted it better marketability. And legend further has it that ultimately censors demanded the hardcorse sex scenes to be cut. How much of this is true one will never know, but it's a nice tale.

As a film ... Flesh Gordon is quite good actually, a loving hommage and over-the-top parody of 1930's serials at the same time, a film that perfectly blends love for and knowledge of the genre with whacky humour and (elaborate) toilet jokes. And then there's of course the special effects, which are nothing short of impressive, great, inventive and colourful miniature work, stop motion animation and matte paintings that can easily compete with special effects from any serious sci-fi-flick from that era - and are most certainly far better than the effects from Dino De Laurentiis' production of Flash Gordon from 1980.

Highest recommendation.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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