23
Oct
12

pissingblood’s grindhouse classic review: Flash Gordon (1980)

Although not at all a Grindhouse flick, or even widely considered a B-Grade film surprisingly – it does fit rather nicely in to my trash sci-fi collection. I do have to admit though that – despite the wooden performances by the cast, the low-budget special effects, and the not-so-subtle fetish and bondage gear – the only reason this isn’t thought of as a B-grade exploitation film is because Queen were responsible for the pretty amazing title song and music throughout. I guess that’s enough really… And before you ask, yes, the re-watching of this film and subsequent review was brought about by Ted. Now on with the review!

Flash Gordon is a harrowing tale that highlights the plight of the Lizard-Men of Mongo. (Not where you thought this was going was it?)

The Lizard-Men are easily the most oppressed people in the galaxy, maybe even the universe. The first example of the cruel and inhumane treatment of the downtrodden Lizard-Men comes soon after Flash Gordon , Dale and Professor Zarkov crash-land and are taken prisoner by Ming’s forces. The unwitting space adventurers are led to the Emperor’s Palace where a Lizard-Man, apparently being held captive is disintegrated before the earthlings very eyes for trying to escape. No trial, no just cause, just turned to atoms. This is only the first of many examples of the cruelty endured by the Lizard-Men of Mongo that we could find.

In Ming’s throne room all the different people of Mongo are in attendance, there to pay fealty to Emperor Ming. The obvious absence of any Lizard-Men party goes seemingly unnoticed and unchallenged by any of the other native Peoples. Not even by the Hawk-Men, the only other Mongoloid race who somewhere along the line got it on with an animal. After Flash makes a daring attempt to escape Ming’s soldiers using an American Football inspired style of fighting, is he then sentenced to death, Dale is to be added to Ming’s harem and become his sexual play thing, (Banging aliens is cool but he can’t treat Lizard-Men with any kind of decency? What the fuck, Ming?) and the Prof’s mind is to be wiped to become a slave or something.

In the dungeon, we see yet more Lizard-Men imprisoned behind bars, while Flash is being held in a rather compromising position barely clothed… This is where you start to get the feeling that the film is more sinister than just the persecution of Lizard-Men…

Flash Gordon, 1980, Sam Jones

With the intervention of Ming’s own daughter, Princes Aura, Flash is saved. His execution is staged and along with Aura escapes to the Arboria the kingdom of the Tree Men ruled by Prince Barin who also happens to one Aura’s apparently many lovers. The trend of sexual deviancy runs in the Ming family, I guess. Although now alive, Barin out of jealousy sticks Flash in a cage suspended in the Arborian swamps. There in the watery cell, Flash shares the cage with a Hawk-Man and two Lizard-Men who are forced to hold themselves above the slime and mud or drown. How the Lizard-Men came to even be in Arboria is a mystery, yet there they are, once more prisoners. Flash is even party to the wholesale discrimination against the reptilians as he helps the Hawk-Man but leaves the Lizard-Men to their own devices. Even when escaping Flash offers no help to the Lizard-Men. You would think for a man who carries the title of Saviour of The Universe that it would include all its inhabitants…

When all the people of Mongo are eventually set free thanks to Flash forging an alliance between the Tree Men and The Hawk-Men leading a revolt against Ming’s tyranny – not a fucking green-skinned humanoid in sight, I tell you! It’s a disgrace! For shame! For shame on you, Flash Gordon! For shame on all the Mongoloids who are party to persecuting the innocent Lizard-Men.

Now I know some denialists will jump at the chance to point out that the Flash Gordon film is not a complete and accurate depiction of life on Mongo. Yes that is true, but there are other examples of cruelty towards the whole Lizard-Man race even as far back as the comic strips from the 50’s!

Flash Gordon Comic Serial

3 counts of cruelty to Lizard-Men (which I am told were very easy to find!)

If you’re that sort of despicable, heartless cretin that can abide the sort of wholesale abuse on show in Flash Gordon you’d probably enjoy yourself to the point of re-watching the unadulterated 80’s cheese fest over and over again. There isn’t a moment in the film you won’t find something to revel in. Since you’re in to the abuse, you’ll probably note more than most the fetish and bondage gear that has been worked in to the sets and costume design. You’ll probably enjoy it so much you won’t be able to help but call up all your  sick friends and get them to come round so you can watch the slaughter and debasement of an entire species and then have a glorious BDSM orgy!

Melody Anderson, Dale arden, Flash Gordon

what is up with those guards masks?

Ornella Muti, Pete Wyngarde, Flash Gordon

not even trying to be subtle here!

If in the final scenes of the film the shot of Flash’s rocket ship crashing through the conveniently shaped window of Ming’s pink palace doesn’t plant the seed for some kind of penetration action at all… Even the most decent morally incorruptible of viewers can’t fight that kind of subliminal messaging. Even just looking at the screen shots again has got me feeling a bit funny… Look at the image below and tell me what you see!?

a phallic metal object flying in to a round pink hole? not a stretch of the imagination here, people…

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