Cinematic Cheddar

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Last night, while flipping through the channels (I really need to find something else to occupy my time), I came across one of my all-time favourite cheesie movies - KRULL. A classic tale of boy loves girl, girl loves boy, girl is kidnapped by evil alien, hidden away in a moving castle, and boy must go on many adventures to try and save her before the evil alien has his way with her. If you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend it. Most of the cast have gone on to do ... well, nothing. At least the main characters. Ken Marshall, who played Prince Colwyn (the "boy" from my synopsis) has had minor guest appearances on a few shows like Jag and Deep Space Nine but according to, nothing since 2001. Lysette Anthony, Princess Lyssa, has faired better with what appears to be a steady stream of work although nothing that would be considered "blockbuster".

For me though, it was the minor or supporting characters that always stood out in my mind. A very young, handsome pre-Bounty Liam Neeson, Freddie Jones, David Battley (who unfortunately passed away a few years ago) as Ergo the Magnificent, a younger thinner Robbie Coltrane, and a VERY young looking Alun Armstrong with more hair than I imagined he ever had. He's been in more movies than I can count and always makes an impression. I almost didn't recognize him - however, the eyebrows gave him away. The scene with the widow of the web was probably the most memorable scene of the whole movie.

My absolute favourite B-Movie is Flash Gordon (1980). If you thought the premise behind Krull was far fetched - just keep reading. Flash is a football (American) star who's plane crashes and ends up at the lab of Dr. Hans Zarkov along with fellow passenger, Dale Arden. Zarkov essentially kidnaps them for a trip into outerspace aboard a rocket he made himself. They end up on the planet Mongo and end up doing battle with Ming the Merciless. Naturally, Flash saves the day and gets the girl, and returns to earth safe and sound.
Not only uber-cheesey but it has a kick-ass soundtrack provided by Queen. To this day, if I ever decide to get married, I want to walk down the aisle to a lone electric guitar a la Brian May. This was one of the first albums (ie: actual vinyl) I ever owned.
Once again, the main actors seem to have dissolved into obscurity (Sam Jones, Melody Anderson, fellow Edmontonian). But look to the rest of the cast and you'll be surprised. Max von Sydow, one of the best actors ever (!), plays the evil Ming the Merciless with delightful creepiness. There's Timothy Dalton who's not such a great actor but does a fantastic job as Prince Barin, Topol as the misguided Zarkhov, Brian Blessed (whom I LOVE!) as Prince Vultan, ruler of the Hawkmen, and the beautiful, exotic Ornella Muti as Dale's competition for Flash's affection, Princess Aura. Oh, and of course, Robbie Coltrane once again as "Man at Airfield".
Flash Gordon has some of the cheesiest moments in cinematic history:

"Flash, Flash, I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!"
Prince Barin! I'm not your enemy, Ming is! Let's all team up and fight him."
And some of the best:
"Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror. "

Definately worth seeing! Check it out if you get a chance.
For the record, my brother would likely also add "Hawk the Slayer" to the list of all time great cheesey movies but I had to give it a pass.


Anonymous said...

What do you mean, "Flash Gordon approaching?" OPEN FIRE!!!!

I've never seen Flash Gordon, but it's on my list of things to do. The song, however, is one of my favourites.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've never seen Flash Gordon, but I have seen Flesh Gordon, which was also exceedingly cheesy, but with nudity.

Anonymous said...

i saw flash gordon...very cheesy...and as far as flesh gordon was on tv one night, showcase or one of those was so bad i couldn't sit through it...ummm i mean i wouldn't know about that since i'm the pure innocent one here

Anonymous said...

pst.Karen...have you tried the headblade yet?....makes your head feel sexy smooth

Shep said...

Shep fact: I once did a short film with the guy who was the dwarf in Hawk The Slayer. He was also the bear in the Hofmeister Bear commercials in the UK (any Brits of a certain age will remember these commercials with fondness). His name was Peter, and he always had a story about Jack Palance.

Nice bloke.

Tanya said...

I remember this film - and Queen's soundtrack. Ornella Muti... well. I didn't know it then, but she was my first chick crush. I could write a whole blog about that. Think i will.

Red said...

Ooh, Alun Armstrong... didn't he use to play Javert in Les Miserables? Wonderful, wonderful actor.

BTW, the other day I sat down to look for that picture of me and Brian Blessed from my theatre days... no joy yet, but you'll be the first to hear about it when it emerges!

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