Escape from Galaxy 3 (1981)
Directed by Bitto Albertini (as Ben Norman)
Written by John Thomas (who?!)
Run Time: 87 minutes
|Belle Star (Sherry Buchanan)
Ahhh…Belle Star. My cosmic princess. Before appearing in this epic movie, Ms. Buchanan had parts in Tentacles (1977) and, one of my personal favorites, Zombie Holocaust (1980). Unfortunately for us cheesy-movie lovers, she fell off the radar and hasn’t been seen on the silver screen since 1987.
|Lithan (Fausto Di Bella)
The effervescent Lithan never gives up, no matter how horrible the special effects become. Throughout his 16-year film career, Mr. Di Bella appeared in various movies and Italian TV shows but has been inactive since last appearing in Computron 22 back in 1988. God speed, Lithan, wherever you may be.
|Oraclon (Don Powell)
The best dressed evil overlord in the galaxy. Don Powell has appeared in a smattering of flicks throughout the decades, including several ‘Emanuelle’ films. (Kids, go ask your parents.)
Other Titles: Star Crash 2
"Prepare the uranium vapor rockets!"
After receiving the acclaimed "Sci-Fi Invasion" box set from our highly esteemed Monster Shack regular Guts3d (thanks again!), I quickly browsed through the movie descriptions to begin my quest for a new review. With a title of "Escape From Galaxy 3", well, I had to look no further. And then, lo! it was the sequel to Star Crash…Huzzah! How could I resist! [NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: Boy, I wish I would have called it quits after Star Crash...]
Open with standard titles over a multi-colored starry background. Hey, those stars look familiar…Actually, after a few minutes, I quickly realized that the makers of "Escape From Galaxy 3" not only reused special effects from Star Crash, they also unabashedly inserted entire scenes from the previous movie. Ahhh…the joys of an extremely low-budget film. Where would the Monster Shack be without them?
Sure enough, after the credits are over we cut to a fly-by scene across the huge "hand ship" lifted from the first movie. On the other hand, an advantage to cheap movies like this is that they don’t waste any time on useless things, like a plot. Cutting right to the chase, we jump cut to the bridge of a spaceship and see princess Belle Star reporting to her father, King Zenor, that the "cosmic radar" has picked up an unidentified ship that "doesn’t belong in this galaxy." (How did she know that? And what does that even mean?) King Zenor quickly realizes that Oraclon, "The King of the Night", is behind the latest attacks. (How is there "night" in space? Oh, never mind.)
The resident hot-shot pilot, Lithan, informs Zenor that they can hold off Oraclon if they use, wait for it…Plan Epsilon!
Cut to Oraclon’s ship: the big "hand ship" from the first movie. I guess there’s more than one "hand ship" out there since the first one blew up in the previous film. It must be like in Star Wars when the Empire built a new Death Star. Yeah, right.
Anyway, we catch our first glimpse of the mighty Oraclon, shockingly sporting a salmon and teal colored frock, azure hoodie, and an immense winged collar with silver sparkles in his beard for good measure.
When Oraclon learns that King Zenor’s ship is disabled, he calls up King Zenor and demands his surrender.
Naturally, King Zenor refuses (otherwise the film would be over), so Oraclon retaliates by launching an awesome attack comprising of 5, count ‘em, 5 space fighters.
"Turn on the laser barrier…course four-zero-thirteen, fifteenth dimension!" Lithan shouts from his battle station. (Fifteenth dimension?)
"Prepare the uranium vapor rockets!" Oraclon yells to some poor guy standing immediately beside him (who must be deaf in his left ear by now from all the shouting).
"Right on target," Oraclon laughs, even though the footage we see shows every single laser shot missing completely and shooting off into the void, so I don’t know what movie he’s watching.
"The central computer received a direct hit," Lithan informs the King. With this unfortunate turn of events, the King has "no other option" than to send Lithan and Belle Star on a diplomatic mission to the planet Anteres to plead for help. (I thought that Repairing the Computer might qualify as an option, but oh well.)
Ok, let’s see now. After flying through a laser storm of cheesy effects, Lithan and Belle Star approach…something. It’s a big red dot, so I think it’s supposed to be a planet. Damned cheap effects. Regardless, it’s a big red dot on the screen so let’s just say it’s Anteres and get on with it.
"Use the hyper-solo missile systems!" bellows Oraclon. Wow. Not just ‘solo’, but hyper solo! (Just how this scene is tied into the previous shot is unclear. In a movie like "Escape From Galaxy 3" things just sort of…happen, if you know what I mean.)
"The hydrogen booster units are already at six thousand mega-degrees!" Lithan reports as they take off from the ship. (I’m guessing that’s a bad thing?) And now I’m really confused because I thought they had already left the space station. Boy, is this a great movie.
In a fit of pique, Oraclon blows up Anteres. I think. It’s a big red dot, so yeah, I’m pretty sure that was Anteres.
Sooooo….after vaporizing Anteres, Oraclon shoots laser beams from his ship and hits King Zenor standing on the ship’s bridge (!). Man, he is good!
"You galactic idiots!" he shouts to nobody in particular when he realizes that Belle Star and Lithan have escaped. Another space battle commences with the same damned footage from before. Man, I’m really getting tired of this. "Mega-metric-teleprobe and scan the whole galaxy!..including the equi-distant cosmic tangents!" Oraclon roars after losing his prey in the chaos of battle.
By the way, Oraclon likes to shout…a lot.
With his ship disabled in the battle, Lithan is forced to make a landing on a nearby "asteroid", which is the same red-planet special effect that was just blown up. A FX penny saved is a FX penny earned, I suppose. And you’d think that Lithan, a inter-galactic star pilot would know the difference between a planet and an asteroid, but there you have it.
Upon landing on the planet’s surface, Lithan and Belle Star (still wearing her crown!) kill some run time by traipsing through a forest, over a field, through some more forest, ad nauseam, all the while amazed at such unusual things as "trees", "grass", and the sun! Some local natives, which look suspiciously like Italian movie extras, jump out from nowhere and start throwing rocks at them. Lithan takes aim with his magic finger laser ring and scares them away by firing cartoon warning shot at feet. Never having seen a curly-haired skinny dude in a blue rubber suit before, the natives flee back into the wilderness as Lithan and Belle discover a nearby village.
Meanwhile, the locals have gathered at Ye Olde Meeting Place, and are telling their leader about the "flying monster" that recently landed. I’m actually surprised the writers had the self-control to not call it a "big fire bird from the sky".
As the villager warriors sneak into position to capture them, Belle Star stands by a stream and exclaims, "It’s water! I once saw it in my father’s collection of intergalactic minerals."
"What do you use it for?" Lithan asks.
Yes, advanced alien beings that don’t know what water is. I’m also wondering about this guy’s hygiene a bit: Lithan travels through intergalactic space wearing a blue rubber suit for who-only-knows how many "cosmic years" and he doesn’t even know what water is? Poor Belle Star! Hope they had decent ventilation on the ship.
Our heroes stroll around some more learning about the planet, i.e., booooooring!, when suddenly they are captured by leather-clad, spear wielding natives. Instead of wasting money filming a trial, the movie makers simply cut to the chase and have the village elders sentence them to death, i.e., "Consumed by the flames!" After Belle Star and Lithan are led to a quarry for execution (What’s with cheap Italian flicks and quarries?) the crowd jostles for position at the top of a steep cliff. During all the shoving back and forth, a small child slips from the edge and "dangles" for dear life while his mother screams for help.
Lithan, being from another galaxy and all, somehow possesses a super-jumping ability which he employs to hop up and save the kid. After jumping back down to the ground (via the magic of playing the exact same scene in reverse) Lithan shoots a smug smile to Belle Star and murmurs, "Apparently they don’t know about psycho-kinectic energy." Realizing that Lithan is actually a pretty cool dude, what with jumping 500 feet into the air to save the kid, the village elders pardon them both and welcome them into the fold by providing them with leather clothes.
After some extremely blatant padding showing Belle Star and Lithan learning the ways of the tribe (including having sex with a few of them along the way), Oraclon enters Earth orbit. Sensing that maaaaaybe they should get the hell out of there, Lithan and Belle Star run back to their ship but can’t start it because the navigation system isn’t repaired yet. (Maybe he should have been fixing it instead of sleeping with the local folk? Just a thought.) Oh, it turns out things aren’t so bad after all:"There! That should do it,"says Lithan with a smile after repairing the ship by, literally, flipping 2 switches on the console.
"It’s the planet Earth" Oraclon says upon detecting high-levels of radiation in the atmosphere. "They destroyed themselves in an atomic war." (Actually, things look pretty nice on the planet, but whatever.)
After a brief discussion Lithan realizes that Oraclon will detect the radioactive exhaust if they start the ship’s motors so…they head back to the village! And now there’s a freakin’ communal dance! Wow, this is some serious padding here, I tell ya.
Ahhh, but we get to see some ladies teach Lithan how to eat a chicken wing. Boy, is this a compelling scene.
Now begins a few boring minutes of lifeless dancing. Joy. After the spectacle a men-only contest commences and whoever wins gets to sleep with the woman of his choice. You know, that reminds me of something I saw on the Discovery channel last week, but I can’t put my finger on it. Anyway, the village women don’t have much say as to their role in the contest, but they do keep busy by running wildly, er, I mean ‘dancing’, with torches as the men engage in this bizarre ritual. You’d think that winning your choice of sex partner would involve a pretty difficult challenge, but the test here consists merely of climbing a ladder, walking out onto a log, and jumping into the middle of a ring of fire, which puts it on par with pretty much anything you’d see on American Gladiators. Wow…Earth girls are easy.
Of course, in a bid to generate some suspense, a few guys fail miserably at this relatively simple "challenge", until finally some local yokel wins by being the first guy to jump into the flames without setting his butt on fire. I’m not kidding. It’s that stupid. Obviously, the lucky winner chooses Belle Star as his prize while Lithan watches helplessly from the sidelines burning with jealousy. In a truly corny bit, we see Belle Star and Lithan thinking of each other while they try make love to their respective local sex partner. All together now: Awwwwwwww….isn’t that sweet? In fact, their mutual attraction is so great that they break off their amorous activities and return to each other in common area for a quick round of smooching.
The tepid kissing scene is rudely interrupted when Oraclon flies overhead out of nowhere and starts zapping people from his space ship. "Enough playing around, blow up the entire planet!" he orders after vaporizing a few unfortunate villagers. Boy, jumping from killing single villagers to destroying the entire planet; this guy runs pretty hot.
"We had only one Force-Ten mega ray, and we used it," Oraclon’s assistant meekly informs him. Furious at himself for not buying more Force-10 Mega Rays at the store while he had the chance (I assume), Oraclon decides to pad the movie some more and returns to space to wait for Belle Star and Lithan to leave the planet’s surface…because he can track their exhaust or something. Whatever.
After Oraclon returns to space, the villagers turn hostile and (rightfully) blame Belle Star and Lithan for the recent deaths. The village elders order Lithan to leave the planet but he tries to explain that they must remain because of the whole exhaust-tracking-thingee. At this point I was hoping that the locals would kill Lithan and Belle Star and thus put this movie out of its misery. Unfortunately for the viewer, Lithan shoots a few cartoon laser beams into the ground to scare everybody thereby giving them a chance to skedaddle back to their ship. Once safely inside, they engage the ship’s engines and return to their own galaxy. Call me crazy, but didn’t Lithan say something about Oraclon being able to track them? Wow, this is a really tight plot.
To pass the time (and kill run time), Lithan and Belle Star engage in some kissing and light petting to test out the new sexual awareness they picked up after their lengthy stay of 1 night on Earth.
"After thousands of years our sexual powers have come back to life," says Belle Star, "we’ve acquired a powerful new dimension!"
Does that mean the only way Belle Star and Lithan can defeat Oraclon is by banging each other? Damn, Lithan, why didn’t you think of that? Hell, why didn’t I think of something like that back in high school?
Anyway, Belle Star realizes that she needs to be in the throne room itself so she can get close enough to Oraclon to kill him. Or something. Remembering that Oraclon is an idiot, Belle Star feigns surrender and asks him to teleport herself and Lithan directly into his ship in order to formalize their surrender; Oraclon the Cosmic Moron eagerly complies while never suspecting a trap in the least.
"You will live as my slave," Oraclon chortles after escorting Belle Star to the aforementioned throne room. Lithan, meanwhile, is condemned to forced labor for the rest of his "cosmic life." (I just love how they try to make things sound "spacey" by adding "cosmic" in front of random nouns.)
Naturally, Oraclon can’t resist performing the Evil Overlord’s Self-Defeating Gloat and brings in a forlorn group of "Kings and Emperors of the Galaxy" so he can crow over his latest victory. Sensing that the time is ripe for ending this silly movie, Belle Star kisses Lithan "goodbye" and then in a totally weird moment even for this movie, Belle Star kisses Oraclon while Lithan shoots lasers from his eyes that strike Oraclon and blow him up. (Reread that last sentence again and try to picture how bizarre that all was.)
With Oraclon turned into cosmic space dust, Lithan and Belle Star decide to return to Earth since "We have nowhere to go in this galaxy." Well, that’s as good enough reason as any I suppose. Oh, but they’ll lose their immortality if they go back to Earth. Oh? They were immortal? Gee, thanks for letting me know. Furthermore, if they were immortal then why were they afraid of Oraclon killing them?
As Belle Star and Lithan return to Earth, they set Oraclon’s ship to self-destruct which it promptly does via even more recycled "Star Crash" footage. (By the way, maybe the Cosmic Police will arrest Lithan for manslaughter since he abandoned all of the "Kings and Emperors of the Galaxy" on the doomed ship when he left. What a nice guy.)
Soooooo, after passing through "three galaxies and endless solar systems," Lithan finally spots Earth floating in the void. What are the odds, eh? Actually, the odds are freaking infinitesimal but don’t tell Lithan that. After landing, the villagers greet them with great fanfare. I guess the writers forgot that the villagers wanted to kill them when they left Earth the last time. Strange. Then again, I doubt even the writers cared at this point.
With cheering natives applauding their return, Lithan and Belle Star stroll off to a beach and start making out and…cue closing credits. Really, that’s it.
Ack, enough already. I gotta go work on my uranium vapor rockets.
Dennis Grisbeck (January 2012)
This movie was really disappointing because it could have been so much more. Hell, it’s a sequel to Star Crash for cripes sake…think of the possibilities! Alas, they went the extremely cheap route and kept the story almost exclusively to Belle Star and Lithian’s escapades on Earth…Booooooring. The only redeeming factor was the cosmicly flamboyant Oraclon, but his performance was unfortunately too limited to make up for the bulk of the film.
So, you still want to watch the whole movie? Here you go!