Flesh Gordon/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Flesh Gordon

Classic 50's sci-fi movies have their own charm in various ways. From the campy plots to the cheap special effects, these things probably entertain us more often than today's Hollywood big budget CGI flicks. Speaking of 50's sci-fi, Flash Gordon is one of the most memorable film serials in this genre. To me, there are two movies that are really fun and pay homage to the original era of Flash Gordon. The first one is Dino De Laurentis' version from 1980. It's campy, hilarious and has a really kick-ass soundtrack by Queen. The other film is a porno from 1974 called Flesh Gordon. No, I didn't misspell it. It's one of the very few movies that knows what it's doing and what it's paying tribute to.

The plot is really similar to Flash Gordon, so much so that Universal tried to sue the studio for "plagiarism". The super evil "Emperor Wang the Perverted" beams a "Sex Ray" to the Earth which causes people to do nothing but have sex (sounds good, right?!). Meanwhile, Flesh, our hero, and his girlfiend Dale, jump out of a plane that flies through this Sex Ray and then they land at Dr. Flexi Jerkoff's house. Finally, they have to team up together to fight Emperor Wang on his Porno planet. As you can see, most of characters' names in this film are puns and sexual innuendos. These are obviously signs that you shouldn't take it too serious. It's like Flash Gordon done in the Adam West Batman style. Actually, there's a cliffhanger in the middle of this film too! After we see Flesh's escape pod being destroyed, we see texts like "Does this mean the end?", "Is failure Flesh's middle name?". Luckily, we don't have to wait until next week (at the same Flesh time, same Flesh channel). There's a two minute intermission and then it cuts back to the end of the story that we've been waiting for.

Flesh Gordon.JPG

A lot of people complain that this film is too stupid. You know what? That's the point! It's a campy tribute to one of the most memorable film serials of all time. In fact, there's a text crawl in the beginning that says something like "This film is a tribute to 30's superhero movies". The humor in this film ranges from campy-sitcom style, like a scene in which a scientist tells reporters about the current situation. It looks serious until the very last bit of dialogue: "I discovered my wife in bed with the garbage man", to the subtle jokes like the shape of spaceship which looks like penis. Also, remember when I said that Sex Rays sound good? Well, I've heard that in the original X-Rated version there's also gay sex scenes as well. So, what's the logic of Sex Rays? It makes you have sex with anything that moves?

Although this film could be categorized as "softcore porno", the highlight of this film is not the sex scenes or the editing. Instead, it's the special effects. Most of them are stop-motion style and look really amazing even by today's standards. In fact, the very last scene in which Great God Porno monster (voiced by Poltergeist's Craig T. Nelson!) holds Dale in his clutches is kinda similar to the memorable Empire State Building scene in King Kong. It's terrific!

Sadly, my copy is pretty bad quality. The color is faded and it was mastered from VHS sources. Somebody should really remaster it so younger generations could see one of the masterpieces of the softcore porno genre. Recommended.


Nuttawut Permpithak hails from Thailand. He spends his free time watching exploitation films (or any films from the past) writing articles, taking photos and reviewing films for GCDb.

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