Flesh Gordon (1974)

Country: United States
Director: Michael Benveniste, Howard Ziehm
Starring: Jason Williams, Suzanne Fields, Joseph Hudgins, William Dennis Hunt, Lance Larsen, Mycle Brandy, Candy Samples
Music: Ralph Ferraro

Of course no look at the world of Flash Gordon would be complete without looking at the smutty sci-fi sex comedy Flesh Gordon, so without further ado…

Flesh Gordon is a soft core porn version of the Flash Gordon movie serials of the 1930’s and 40’s; and it would be simple enough to leave the review at that. But that wouldn’t be fair. Some of the stop motion special effects in this film are pretty good. This film was obviously made with affection for the old matinee series as well as the creature features of Ray Harryhausen, and even has an ending reminiscent of King Kong.

The film opens with a dreaded sex ray being fired upon the earth from the planet ‘Porno’. People affected by the sex ray lose all inhibitions and sate their carnal desires with whoever and whatever is around. This ‘filth’ and ‘moral decay’ must be stopped.

Travelling back to the US from Tibet on a plane is Flesh Gordon (Jason Williams). During the journey, Flesh makes the acquaintance of Dale Ardor (Suzanne Fields), and as they chat, the horrible, horrible sex beam hits the plane mid flight. The passengers on board remove their clothing and an orgy takes place in the aisles. The pilots, who are also affected by the beam, believe they are missing out on the fun, and abandon the controls to join in. As the plane begins to spiral out of control, Flesh makes his way to the cockpit (no joke there) and tries to pull the plane up out of it’s dive. The controls break in his hands. There is nothing he can do – the plane is going down. Flesh grabs a parachute and Dale, and leaps from the plane just before it crashes.

Flesh and Dale land on the property of scientist Flexi Jerkoff (Joseph Hudgins). Jerkoff has ascertained where the sex beam is coming from and has built a space ship to travel up to the planet and save the earth. Flesh and Dale agree to help Jerkoff and get into the giant golden, penis shaped rocket ship, and fly off to the planet ‘Porno’.

‘Porno’ is under the dictatorship of Emperor Wang, The Perverted (William Dennis Hunt). Wang instructs his minions, who are dressed like Roman gladiators, to shoot down Jerkoff’s ship and bring the occupants before him.

I mentioned earlier, that Flesh Gordon features some better than should be expected stop motion animation. The creatures on display are some Penisaurus’ – it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what they look like! – a metallic sword fighting insect, – and finally a giant stone god that comes to life. It’s no exaggeration that the creatures and human choreography / interaction with the stop motion effects is equal to what Harryhausen was doing right up until Clash Of The Titans.

Flesh Gordon was so successful that a belated sequel was released in 1989, entitled Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders. I haven’t bothered to chase this one down.

I guess a word or two about the pornographic nature of the film is in order. The film is softcore, but let’s be honest; despite decent special effects for this kind of film – a science fiction comedy spoof – the film is still a porno, and if that puts you off, then I’d stay away from this film. On the other hand, if you want a smutty science fiction parody then I guess this is worth a look.

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