Thursday, 25 February 2016
Flesh Gordon Double Bill
For the first time I feel it necessary to say that this review is for a mature audience only, if you are under 18 come back on your 18th Birthday, it'll be like a Birthday present!
Well we all knew sooner or later I would end up reviewing a porno, well thats not really fair, the Flesh Gordon films aren’t really porn film but more in the vain of sex comedy’s like the 'Confessions...' series or 'The Cheerleaders (1973)', there are rumours of a version of the first film that containes hardcore sex scenes but apparently no copy exist as all were destroyed in a police raid.
My DVD of the first Flesh Gordon (1974) boast that it's 'the spaced age sex spoof that is out of the world' and thats pretty spot on, the film opens with a text crawl reassuring the audience that this is a homage to the classic serials such as Buck Rogers, Superman and of course Flash Gordon. And the film really does feel like a loving homage rather than mean spirited like so many modern comedy spoofs, there really seems to be a love for these classic serials.
The plot to the first film will sound familiar to any Flash Gordon fan, though of course a little different, Flesh Gordon (Jason Williams), Dale Ardor (Suzanne Fields) and Dr. Flexi Jerkoff (Joseph Hudgins) blast off in a rocket ship of Jerkoff's own design to the planet Porno after the planet has appeared in our galaxy and started bombarding Earth with a sex ray that makes people sex crazy. It's a good homage to the first story line of the 1936 Flash Gordon serials and comics, the same plot that would later be the basis of the 1980 feature film version. There are a lot of sex joke's and nudity in the film, as well as some impressive stop motion animation, no surprise that many of the effects people who worked on the film would go on to win awards later in their carriers. In fact Flesh Gordon was nominated for the best special effects at the academy awards until they decided to drop the category that year, which really is a shame as I would love to see Flesh Gordon in HMV's Oscar Winners section they put up every year around awards season.
There are bits of the film that have not aged well, such as the Fu Manchu appearance of the villainous Emperor Wang (William Dennis Hunt), you could argue it's so over the top that it's parodying this practice from classic serials and it's not out of place really as a Emperor Ming parody but it's still pretty bad. There are other elements that unfortunately have not aged well but I won't get into them all, just keep on mind when watching this film that it is of another time.
But over all the film is good, good parody, good effects, good set design and good costumes, over all very good.
Fifieen years later in (1989) we got a sequel called Flesh Gordon 2: Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders which sees Flesh, Dale and Jerkoff (this time played by Vince Murdocco, Robyn Kelly and Tony Travis respectivley) once again thrust into a mad cap space adventure. This is the one I was more hesitant going into as it is a film that has been named with the overused moniker of 'worst film ever made' but once again it's good, it lacks the charm of the original and is much more bad taste but I genuinely found it funny.
This time Flesh is kidnapped by the Cosmic Cheerleaders in the hope that he can help after all the men of their planet have been struck with impotence after the Evil Presence has fired a mysterious ray at their planet. I wount go into too much detail in what happens on the journey as some of it really has to be see to be believed, but fair warning the humour is much more scatological this time around and once again, it is very bad taste.
All that been said I did have a lot of fun with both films, not for everyone, nowhere near for everyone, but for what they are if you are in the right mindset you can have a lot of fun with them.
Oh, and the theme song to the second film; All American Hero by Rod Knowlan is amazing and would likely make it onto my list of favoured film theme songs!