Blu-ray Review: Star Slammer | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 7th, 2021  

Star Slammer

Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Jul 10, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Women in prison, in space. Star Slammer mashes one of the most popular exploitation genres of the video era with a distinctly ‘80s brand of science fiction in this goofy, low-budget trip.

On the far-off planet of Arous – which uncannily resembles the American Southwest – a beautiful and tough-as-nails miner named Taura (Sandy Brooke) runs afoul of the evil Bantor, a half-insane figurehead of a corrupt government. After a tangle in which she robs him of his hand, she’s sentenced to the “Star Slammer,” an intergalactic women’s prison ship. She and her fellow inmates must band together to stand against not only a ruthless warden, but Bantor – now totally crazy, and hallucinating a demonic space wizard – after he finds his way onto the ship and seeks revenge.

Star Slammer was a very early outing from genre maverick Fred Olen Ray, who’s directed 150 projects (and counting), most of which during the last 30 years. Borrowing footage, costumes, props, and sets left over from other directors’ movies – a monster from 1983’s Deadly Spawn is probably the most egregious holdover – Star Slammer was shot quickly and on the cheap, but has far better production values than similar, bottom shelf sci-fi or women in prison flicks from the era. It hits most of the notes you’d expect from the genres – extraterrestrial dwarfs, robots, cat fights, a sadistic (female) warden, and forced combat – and if these sort of b-movies are your thing, it’s all entertaining. Star Slammer is about as self-aware as you’ll find, so it knows what to do to appease the people who’ll seek it out.

On the other hand, it may come as a surprise that Star Slammer – while certainly not a family-friendly adventure, by any means – is not nearly as filthy or graphic as you’d guess from such a low-budget R-rated flick. (This was an era when these movies needed extreme gore or constant nudity to stand out on crowded video rental shelves; Star Slammer is relatively tame compared to what it was up against.) If you’re into bad ‘80s sci-fi, Star Slammer is cheesy fun, and Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray is a huge upgrade over the movie’s old VHS appearance. Olen Ray provides an audio commentary track, which gives some entertaining insight into making a galaxy-spanning adventure with little to no resources.


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