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Flash Gordon (1980)

“Hi, my name’s Flash,” says the quarterback for the New York Jets to his new girlfriend Dale, a dim-witted travel agent.

Inexplicably, the pair gets locked up in the rocket ship of a nutty scientist named Dr Hans Zarkov, who yells, “We’ll go up and counterattack them!” when he gets pelted with moon rocks . . .

flashgordon_001“Them” are the decadent denizens of a distant planet ruled by the evil Emperor Ming (pictured at left), who takes one look at Dale and starts to drool while making preparations for her virgin sacrifice.

Fortunately for Flash – who looks like a lifeguard at the Beverly Hills Hotel – the demented Ming has a nymphomaniac daughter who takes one look at his peroxided head and black chest hairs and decides she’d like to see more.

“I like you a lot! ” she purrs as Flash slips out of leather hot pants left over from the costume budget of a gay porno flick.

Don’t underestimate Ming. He’s so slimy he’d even torture his own daughter.

“Bring me the bore worms!” he orders, while the nymphet writhes in agony. “Oh, no!” screams the princess (pictured below) in the best Maria Montez tradition, “Not the bore worms!”


But the sadomasochism is just beginning.

As Flash is being bullwhipped on a revolving LP with sharp spikes in the floor, Dale coos, “I love you, Flash, but we’ve only got fourteen hours to save the earth! ”

Somehow Flash survives swamp creatures, quicksand, zap guns, X-ray rifles, flying soldiers from The Wizard of Oz, and other unspeakable tortures to save the day in his jet-propelled dune buggy while the audience moans with disbelief.

Sam J. Jones, who sort of wrestles with the role of Flash Gordon like a Malibu surfer attacking a giant octopus, has hair like garden mulch. They bleached it to weeds but forgot the roots.  Melody Anderson, as Dale Arden, sounds like a Barbie doll gone berserk.


Hopeless as they are, in and out of their clothes, they haven’t been helped much by the tacky sets, fake rear-screen projection or amateurish chromakey visuals that give them blue lines around their heads like old Godzilla movies.

Flash Gordon
Sam Jones
Dale Arden
Melody Anderson
Dr Hans Zarkov
Emperor Ming
Max von Sydow
Princess Aura
Ornella Muti
Prince Barin
Timothy Dalton
Prince Vultan
Brian Blessed
Peter Wyngarde
Mariangela Melato
Arborian priest
John Osborne
Richard O’Brien
John Hallam
Serving girl
Suzanne Danielle

Mike Hodges