More low budget sex-in-space nonsense from Fred Olen Ray, Prison Ship was filmed in 1984 (most of the film was shot in an empty grocery store that was converted into a studio) and took four years to find its way to home video, which is hardly a surprise.
The silly storyline is set in a future where the ruthless Bantor (Ross Hagen) is out to get his hands on pantheon crystals – a valuable energy source – and he doesn’t mind who he has to kill in the process.
But he meets his match in Amazonian miner Taura (Sandy Brooke), who puts up sterling resistance for a bikini model, killing three of his henchmen and melting one of Hagen’s grasping hands in acid lava before she is overpowered.
Framed for murder by Bantor, Taura finds herself sentenced to serve time aboard a penal colony spaceship where our heroine has to cope with the obligatory kinky Warden (Marya Gant) and a very poor standard of cuisine. There’s also a head trustee called Muffin (the director’s wife, Dawn Wildsmith) who likes women.
Taura has to go head to head with fellow top dog Mike (Suzy Stokey), and the two eventually band together to stage a great escape – although it’s not so hard to break out of a prison where the walls are constructed from painted egg boxes!
Produced by Jack H. Harris, the movie saves money by utilising footage from Harris’s Dark Star (1974) and Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond The Stars (1980).
Sets and costumes are also reused from Space Raiders (1983), Galaxy of Terror (1981) and The Destruction Of Jared-Syn (1983).
Eagle-eyed viewers will also spot one of the monsters left over from The Deadly Spawn (1983).
The title score is as close to being the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme without actually being the same song and the majority of the score was culled from TV commercial jingles.
John Carradine turns up in a one-day cameo (which could have included a very long lunch break) as a cosmic judge.
There are also swift appearances by sexy Playboy gal Bobbie Bresee and a down-on-his-luck Aldo Ray – although none of them seems to have any clue what’s going on.
It’s enjoyable in a tacky way and has plenty of eye candy for the lads (though the nudity is limited and quite tame).
Released as Star Slammer in some markets. The sequel promised in the end credits – Chain Gang Planet – never materialised.
Dori Renee Crofts
Fred Olen Ray