Flesh Gordon (1974)

“I’ve got the power pasties, and I know how to use ’em!”

Synopsis:
Flesh Gordon (Jason Williams) and Dale Ardor (Suzanne Fields) join Dr. Flexi Jerkoff (Joseph Hudgins) in an attempt to save the earth from Sex Rays sent by Planet Porno’s insane emperor, Wang the Perverted (William Hunt).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary refers to this “X-rated parody of Flash Gordon” as “too dreadful, too boring to be consider true comedy or camp”. He argues that the “acting is terrible” and the direction “inept”, but he does acknowledge that the “special effects (inspired by Ray Harryhausen) are pretty good, certainly suitable for the comic-book material”. I’m not quite in agreement with Peary’s negative assessment here: I was surprisingly entertained by both the silliness of the story and the ineptitude of the acting, and enjoyed the cleverly conceived “creatures”. Not for all tastes, but not as bad as Peary would lead you to believe.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Fun, “Harryhausen-esque” special-effects
    Flash Gordon Penisoraus
  • Candy Samples as the Dyke Queen, leader of the Secret Lesbian Underground
    Candy Samples

Must See?
No, but I think it’s worth a look.

Links:

One Response to “Flesh Gordon (1974)”

  1. Not a must. Simply because, for me, it’s ultimately too disappointing (and too spotty) to recommend, even for its “historical relevance”.

    The concept is, of course, hilarious – in execution, though, it plays out like a sketch that goes on too long, wearing out its welcome. (As well, even though it’s a no-brainer for laughter – and eroticism – to have people suddenly turn into sex fiends when hit by ‘sex rays’, that idea isn’t exploited as it could have been. One can’t help but wonder if the more complete version of the film made any difference in that respect. I kind of doubt it.)

    Occasionally, genuine cleverness surfaces in the dialogue: i.e., offering Fields something to wear, Hudgins explains, “It belonged to my mother. She was buried in it.” But the bulk of the humor is a less-inspired form of sophomoric.

    On the plus side: the three sequences of Harryhausen homage do liven things up considerably, esp. the – ahem – one-eyed monsters and (the best saved for last) the Kong-esque hulk whose jaded, somewhat mumbling voice (provided by Craig T. Nelson!) amusingly implies, ‘There must be more to life than this whole being-a-hideous-monster-thing.’

    Some other visuals are effective as well: I esp. like the shots of a certain balcony of Wang’s castle, in which we see the surrounding domain beyond.

    And, actually, I don’t find the acting to be all that inept – not like, say, what we more often find in an Ed Wood film. The cast seems to be on-board with what’s expected of them. Fields, in particular, is very game. I can’t imagine it’s easy, for example, to maintain an expression of genuine concern on your face while your breasts are being thoroughly fondled.

    Overall, though, I wanted this to be ‘better’, in an entertainingly bad way. Alas…

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