STARCRASH - K-B Studio

One way to gauge the seriousness of a science-fiction film is to watch the women in it. In the new space fantasy "Alien," for example, the women crew members are all business. And if Princess Leia of "Star Wars" was a romanticized dream, she was at least a fully clothed one.

Then there's "Starcrash." Its heroine, Stella Starr, played by Raquel Welch clone Caroline Munro, dresses for space in a black leather bikini and high-heeled boots. (She switches to a long-sleeved Saran-wrap number for cold weather.)

You'd have to be a pretty desperate science-fiction fan to enjoy this one. It's a treasure trove of stupid lines and the acting approaches parody. The heroes (Munro is joined by Marjoe Gortner in the cockpit) say things like: "Look! It is the imperial flagship" and "Wait! There is his holographic image now." The bad guy rubs his hands together in glee and says: "By sunset I will be master of the whole universe. Heh-heh-heh!"

Aside from the acting, and the writing, and the low-budget "special" effects (space looks like some Christmas-tree lights strung out on black velvet), another part of the problem is the meandering direction. Sometimes the movie takes a playful tone and other times seems definitely kinky, especially Munro's outfits. All she needs is a whip.

The only note of terror it inspires is at the end, when Emperor Christopher Plummer, having made the galaxy safe for democracy, muses, "For now it's calm, but some dark force no doubt will show its face again. . ." The thought of a sequel to this drivel is truly alarming.