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There’s little point in reiterating the massive impact STAR WARS had on pop culture post-1977—but rest assured, it changed everything. And on a very minor level, it kicked open the floodgates for everyone and their brothers to spit out low-budget space operas of every persuasion. Among these lower-rent clones was the Roger Corman-distributed Italian knockoff STARCRASH, a weird, impoverished but very cool bit of camp that had the cult cast of the decade: former child preacher Marjoe Gortner, future KNIGHT RIDER David Hasselhoff, MANIAC-to-be Joe Spinell and a very tasty Caroline Munro (pictured) as laser-gun-wielding galactic goddess and space smuggler Stella Star.
In fact, it’s the scantily clad Munro as Starr that has kept the picture, directed by CONTAMINATION’s Luigi Cozzi, a permanent fanboy favorite—and writer Richard Dean (who previously edited the PHANTASM anthology FURTHER EXCURSIONS INTO OBLIVION) just happens to be one of those admirers. His new book CURVED SPACE: THE ADVENTURES OF STELLA STARR (from Dark League Press) is a collection of short stories that serve as both fan-fiction mash letters and nifty companions to STARCRASH, taking us on the speculative further adventures of Starr as she romps across the galaxy, both shaking and kicking ass.
Other authors like Glen Alan Hamilton (“Flesh and Fake Parts”), Thomas Berdinski (the awesome Starr-vs.-zombies tale “You Can’t Keep a Good Robot Down”) and Robin Grenville-Evans (“The Arena of Revenge”) all take their turns spinning fun, zippy little yarns about their favorite femme fatale, but ultimately this tome is Dean’s beast from pillar to post. In his warm prologue, Dean details his first teenage brush with STARCRASH and its lasting effect on his life, and the essay is nothing less than passionate. He even managed to corral both Cozzi and Munro to contribute their own words to get the party started and make the joyously unofficial tales somewhat authorized.
And while the book’s small-press status means that editorial errors abound, they really only add to the loose, rock ’n’ roll ‘zine feel that suffuses the entire book. STARCRASH (which makes its long-awaited DVD/Blu-ray debut next Tuesday, September 14 from Shout! Factory) was a charming thing made up of spare parts and love, and so is CURVED SPACE. To inquire about obtaining a copy, e-mail
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