Thursday, 18 December 2008

Flesh Gordon (1974)

I’ve been watching an old 1940s Flash Gordon movie serial and quite enjoying it, so I thought I should check out the 1980 movie version, having heard good things about it. When I checked with Quickflix (an Australian version of Netflix) I noticed they also had available for rental Flesh Gordon, apparently a 1970s softcore porn spoof of the original Flash Gordon serials. So I thought, why not add both to my rental queue? As it happens Flesh Gordon arrived first.

As an erotic film this one is a dismal failure. I can’t remember the last time I saw something quite so un-erotic. On the other hand as a sci-fi spoof it’s a lot more successful. It appears to have been by someone with a genuine affection for sci-fi and for the old movie serials.

OK, it’s not Citizen Kane, but it does have some humorous moments and there are a few memorable dialogue moments. William Dennis Hunt’s performance as the Emperor Wang the Perverted is suitably outrageous and over-the-top. The special effects are amusing. The acting is bad, but it doesn’t matter.

The jokes are fairly obvious, but it‘s a bit like one of the British Carry On films, were the very obviousness and expectedness of the jokes adds to the fun. If you think of it as Carry On Flash Gordon then there’s some entertainment to be had.

Don’t even think about buying this one. The image quality on the Region 4 DVD is awful, and contains no extras at all. Perhaps the Region 1 version is better (the R1 releases are almost invariably better than the R4 releases) but it’s still a movie to rent rather than to buy. Moderately amusing if you’re in the mood, and best enjoyed with copious quantities of alcohol or other substances. I found that after a few drinks it was reasonably enjoyable. Do not watch this movie sober.

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