Flesh Gordon (Michael Benveniste and Howard Ziehm / U.S., 1974):

Alejandro Jodorowsky labored in vain to get Dune made with Dali and Welles, and yet a most charming space odyssey emerges virtually by accident out of an edited X-rated lampoon? "Yes, your ass-holiness." Under attack by showers of sex rays from outer space, people all around the world throw themselves into carnal frenzies. Off to planet Porno, then, with glazed beefcake Flesh Gordon (Jason Williams) and frequently-fondled Dale Ardor (Suzanne Fields) aboard a wiener-rocketship piloted by Dr. Jerkoff (Joseph Hudgins). Emperor Wang the Perverted (William Dennis Hunt) is a powdered, lisping eunuch who keeps an orgy continuously writhing in his court, the earthlingsí ingratitude invokes his ire: "I will burn your fucking planet to a fucking crisp, you dildo!" The rightful ruler (Lance Larsen) dons Robin Hood caps and holds ass-grabbing extravaganzas in the woods, beneath the palace is the lesbian underground led by a piratical Amazon (Candy Samples), complete with a squeaky pegleg and a Cylon eyepatch. Though they foreground the softcore humping in a sort of rebuke to the coyness of Barbarella, the makers of Mona: The Virgin Nymph arenít blind to the shards of poesy floating by. When the hero romps with Queen Amora (Mycle Brandy), her swan-shaped vessel glides through constellations which include a puppy wagging its tail at the spectacle. Weaving in and out of this amiable live-action spoof is a series of fabulous stop-animation sketches, a veritable launching pad for future f/x wizards crafting Harryhausen homages with metallic insectoid guardians and winking one-eyed worms ("Some species of penisaurus, I believe"). Lustrous as it is, Mike Hodgesí official Laurentian version a few years later canít possibly compete with a claymation behemoth voiced like a late-night beatnik deejay. Directed by Michael Benveniste and Howard Ziehm.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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