Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Film Review: STAR CRYSTAL (1985, Lance Lindsay)

Stars: 3 of 5.
Running Time: 94 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: None.
Tagline: "It is the year 2035...Scientists have discovered a new life form. They're about to wish they hadn't."
Best One-liner(s): None.

"Are you gonna kill me, like you did your last three victims?!" With its embarrassingly amateur creature and blatant Coca-Cola product placement, it's tempting to make the analogy that STAR CRYSTAL : ALIEN :: MAC AND ME : E.T., but I'm afraid that that statement would be doing MAC a disservice. Though many occurrences in the film stretch credulity to its most tensile point, the thing I found hardest to believe is that this mess was not made or even financed by Italians. This movie blew my mind. Synthesized brass dominates the soundtrack- SYNTHESIZED BRASS! Attempts at suspense include a high-pitched noise accompanied by crosscuts to the same shot of a man crawling through a vent as GAR attacks the crew. That's right, I said "GAR." And GAR-vision is done with vaseline smeared on the lens, looking like the low-tech version of Beast-vision in THE BEASTMASTER, which, fascinatingly, had a character named DAR. Then there's the acting. Either Lance Lindsay subscribes to the Bressonian school of thought- where the lines are repeated, take after take, until no emotion remains, OR these people were chosen for their looks. And I really hope they weren't chosen for their looks, because at best, they're nondescript, and at worst, they're hideous. The high-tech space computer makes frequent spelling errors like "nuetron" and "Judism." And when GAR starts speaking English and befriending the survivors, this film really grinds to a halt.

GAR takes effin' forever to get out a complete thought, cause the makers thought he'd sound more like an alien if he took long, raspy breaths between words and spoke like his vocal chords were dipped in molasses. (Also note the differences between the fiendish creature depicted on the cover art and the clearly goldfish-inspired final product.) I flirted with shutting it off. But then I wouldn’t have heard the closing credits music, Indira's "Crystal of the Star." Let me run this by the computer. Five stars of cheesiness plus one star of ennui divided by a running time of 94 minutes = 3 stars. For a similar vibe, but slightly more fun, try LASERBLAST.

-Sean Gill

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