"Star Odyssey" (originally called "Sette Uomini D'oro Nello Spazio," literally, "Seven Men of Gold in Space" as near as I can translate) wanted so badly to be "Star Wars" that it even had anthropomorphized robots with emotions, Tilk and Tilly, and an evil guy wearing a black cape with a suspiciously force-like abilities. Sound familiar? Truly, this is one of the most poorly executed films I have ever seen, but it is so bad as to be hilarious to watch.
The film opens with bad electronic music (repeated throughout the film at random, inappropriate times) that is akin to the theme from "Pod People." The first thing I noted was that the box and the credits can't agree on how to spell the name of the star of the film, Yanti Sommer. Or is it Yanti Somer? (Actually, the second seems to be correct, given other movie credits.) The first thing that becomes obvious is that the sets are very cheesy, and the dubbing to English matches, as does the acting: apparently there is no Italian word for "subtle." The cast has it all, including an extremely annoying actor whose name is "Hollywood" evidently because he is so good looking. This is a premise that I don't think anyone will buy, especially after one look at his mustache: he plays one third of a torrid and confusing love triangle. Also featured throughout are really bad computer "voices" that are perhaps the lamest things I have ever heard.
There is some expository information about how a superior world will be enslaving the earth shortly, which is illustrated by black and white world war two blitzkrieg footage of explosions edited jarringly into the film. To help combat the looming menace the heroes enlist the help of a crazy professor with a telepathically controlled medicine chest. To distract us from the plot the film then shows about ten pointless minutes of a space "casino" with the lamest games I have ever seen, and a fistfight due to the other two thirds of the love triangle. This, logically, leads to footage of a wrestling match of two acrobats versus a robot (whose occupant's face is clearly visible through the eye holes.) I still don't get it.
In a jump back to the main plot, some guys steal spaceships to go to a space prison colony under the psychic influence of the professor (I think: yellow glowing eyes seemingly indicate this.) The earth is then auctioned off for one hundred million credits, so the bad guy with faux-force capabilities can get billions of slaves. As the alien ship approaches earth, Italian Space Command directs the defenses against the UFO's (which they pronounce "you-fos,") but to no avail.
Next, one of the Italian acrobatic team takes his would-be girlfriend to a junkyard to reassemble two experimental robots set for scrapping. These robots, Tilk and Tilly, are two of the most annoying characters in screen history. They have personalities, and are involved in a suicidal love pact of an unconventional nature. (If you want to know more about it, don't worry, they talk about it constantly.) They continuously ramble pompously about the meaninglessness of existence and related nonsense, and have an unreal dialect, especially where exclamations (which are frequent) are concerned ("Great integrated circuits!") For some reason throughout the alien android invasion (by tall, blond, Nordic androids, of course) the acrobat almost continuously practices his tumbling routine in the background. I have no idea why.
Despite human frailty, the Italians manage to put a dent in the android invader population (we get to see them regenerate by mitosis,) while the professor concentrates hard to prevent liftoff of the UFO, inspiring the classic line "Someone's preventing our liftoff with a telepathic net!" The gallant space warriors take to the skies and defend earth against the aliens in what is the silliest looking space battle since "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger." Thankfully the love triangle also gets resolved, though perhaps not as you might expect. The end is supposed to lead to a sequel, as it closes with an ominous, threatening speech. Unfortunately, the climactic line of the speech is obliterated by a dropout in the audio track, so the movie becomes that much more enigmatic. Is the battle over? Who knows? Who cares?
This film is an amazing example of the Italian sci-fi genre from the 1970's. It is so bad it's not only good, it's great. I don't know who could take this film seriously, but if you love entertainingly bad films, this is a definite winner!
"Prisoners of the Lost Universe" is a mid-80's fantasy piece that is so ludicrous that it's funny. The film starts with an annoying television science reporter, Carrie Madison (Kay Lenz), hosting her weekly show "The Weird and the Wacky." In this introductory segment you see her go face to face with a hooded cobra. Due to some minor musical exposure the cobra goes limp and Carrie turns to the camera and offers up the first in a countless bounty of deliciously bad lines in the film: "You can put a snake to sleep with a high B-Flat...remember, it may only work on snakes that like music." I was so entertained by this scene I had to watch it several times. Carrie then goes to meet Dr. Hartmann (Kenneth Hendel) at his lab. My first question about the film was this: if she's in Los Angeles, why does her 280ZX have right hand steering? Never mind, because during the drive the LA basin gets rocked by earthquakes, making her swerve and run Dan (Richard Hatch) off the road in his right hand drive pickup truck. Their first meeting is rather confrontational needless to say, but she has to run along to see Dr. Hartmann, leaving Dan stranded.
Carrie arrives at Hartmann's lab, and he demonstrates his matter transmitter that can send objects into a parallel universe. We start with Carrie's compact, but soon enough due to another tremor, Hartman falls into the beam and is gone. Dan comes to the door, and they both investigate and during yet another aftershock, both of them fall into the matter transmitter beam and are whisked away. This scene not only has hilarious special effects, but the implausibility of the falls into the machine are likewise humorous.
The humans appear in a mountainous desert. Carrie finds a caveman in a tar pit and helps him out. After reuniting with Dan, they encounter weird natives with flashing red eyes who get run off a cliff by the friendly caveman. After Dan and Carrie scale a vertical cliff (Carrie in high heels), they meet up with a green man who speaks good English. Carrie's first order of business is to take a bath in a lake (of course), where she is promptly attacked by a "water beast". The green guy shoots the beast with his "pod gun" and leaves them to roll around in the grass together.
No sooner has Dan gone to scout for food than an evil warlord, Kleel, played with extreme hamminess by the great John Saxon, shows up to take Carrie to be his because her hair is the color of sunshine. (Really.) Kleel has a gun and shoots Dan who apparently falls dead. Kleel and company ride off to his fortress with Carrie, and a dwarf with a Scottish accent, Malachi (Peter O'Farrell), starts to pilfer Dan's body. It turns out that Dan was only stunned by the bullet, and he promises his watch to Malachi in exchange for passage to Kleel's palace. First they have to stop by a friend of Malachi's to get horses, which spawns another of the most unintentionally hilarious lines of dialogue in film history: "He's got a sort of charm that'll make a snake vomit, but he sells good horses."
Enroute to find Kleel there are many bogus sword fights, a duel with some idiots wearing white sheets in the style of a very low-budget Halloween costume, a close call with an oil fire, and clashes with guys dressed like the grim reaper complete with scythes for hands and tennis shoes. It may be incoherent, but at least it's entertaining. The production team obviously had a lot of ideas for this movie, and none of them were edited out. I think of the final product as something that would happen when a bunch of teenage boys watch "Land of the Lost" for hours on end while playing "Dungeons and Dragons" and drinking vast quantities of Cherry Robitussin. Weird and wacky is right.
The get to Kleel's abode and find that Dr. Hartmann is now Kleel's sorcerer and has provided him with guns and nitroglycerin. Hartmann is a problem child and loves the power of being allied with Kleel. Kleel tries to curry favor with Carrie with jewels and wine (that's a no go), while Hartmann gets blackmailed by the others in a convenient though nonsensical plot twist. Ultimately they fight their way out, blow up Kleel and his palace and condescend to Hartmann, who they bring along only to help find the spot to stand on to get teleported back to their own universe. They find Carrie's compact, and Dan and Carrie get zapped out of the picture and hopefully into obscurity. The end.
This movie has so much going on and so many diverse and superfluous subplots that it's hard to stay focused on. I suppose "Battlestar Galactica" fans will like this because of Hatch, and while fans of fantasy may like this as well, some will be disappointed with the lack of production values, poor acting, awful script, and disjointed editing. People who want a good laugh at a overly pretentious but unintentionally hilarious film from the 1980's, though, have hit pay dirt. This film definitely packs more laughs than scares, and on that basis I recommend it to aficionados of B-movies everywhere.
Taken together this package is a bargain: you get two huge helpings of cinematic cheese for a very low price. If you like comically bad movies, you need this set.