(or how I learned to stop worrying and love being a fanboy)
Honestly, I cannot artfully explain why I love this movie, and why it is continually placed in my pantheon of all-time favorites. But I’m gonna try.
Last night I made Kyle watch “Flash Gordon”. He’d never seen it before.
I know, right? How could he be of my, erm… “vintage” and MISSED this movie?? But somehow he had, and we rectified this dreadful oversite on Sunday evening.
He didn’t like it especially.
As the movie ended, he turned to me and asked, “And WHY is it that you like this film again?”
#1– Sam Jones
Remember, I first saw this film in 1980 when I was just a wee tot. And I SO sprouted wood for Sammy boy! He was looking all nasty in his khakis, with that snug t-shirt on. Mmm hmmm! Plus, I own the Playgirl with his nakedness in it– and yeah. He wields a nice sword.
#2– The Dungeon Scene
Yeah, he fine! AND he has a bit of a furry chest!! Who knew that by seeing this movie (6 times in the theater) that it would somehow start me on my lifelong path of discovery concerning leather, bondage, and dungeon play??
#3– Leather Hawkmen / Prince Barrin
Hello Timothy Dalton! Yeah, before his shitty stint as 007 he played a green-tights wearin’ Prince of Mongo. And he was dead sexy back then! (Plus in the background you can see all the harness/bondage hawkmen.
Speaking of Hawkmen– here’s Hawk DADDY himself, Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan:
He’s a big, barrel-chested, Tit Pig look-alike with a mouth so large it looks like he could fit an entire fist inside. What’s not to love about THAT?
#4– The Overt Hypersexuality
The whole fucking film is about sex. The costumes are skimpy and reveal a LOT of flesh. Bondage gear is incorporated. The movie basically starts with sexual tension between Flash and Dale. Princess Aura is all about makin’ da sexy (The royal surgeon, Prince Barrin, Flash, etc). Hell, she even flirts with her DAD for Dizan’s Sake! And when they execute Flash, he’s paraded around dressed just in leather undies!
And the scene where Aura is held down and whipped by Kala (girl on girl– woot!), Klytus has them bring “the bore worms”. Heh heh heh.
And the phallus imagery is just over the TOP. It’s used everywhere– from Zarkov’s lab and rocket to the design of the space ships. I mean, c’mon:
Sure it looks like a cartoon version of a wasp. But what the fuck ELSE does it look like? Long shaft… big bulbous head… Shit. It looks like one of those Sharper Image “neck massagers”!
Lastly, the character names– they are all merely one step away from being overt sexual puns. Which is why the movie FLESH Gordon works so very well.
#5– The Comicbook Style Filming
Yes, this movie was done a few years after Star Wars, so certainly the technology existed to make this a more “realistic” space adventure. But the filmmakers instead stayed true to the original Golden Age comic strips (and movie serials from the 30’s). The camera angles are reminiscent of comic book panels. The way the rockets fly, or glass “breaks”, or even the design of the moons of Mongo– it’s all not “realistic”. It’s comic-istic.
Even the dialog is comic book cheesy. Very much along the lines of “can’t… hold… on… much… longer…”. Sure there is some bad acting to go along with the bad dialog (Dale and Flash). But there is also some good acting (all the British Shakespearean trained actors).
#6– The Costumes / Sets
Gotta love that Dino De Laurentis! Obviously he decided that the majority of the film’s budget would be spent on costumes and sets and not on special effects. Because there really AREN’T any special effects in the entire film. But the costumes– lordy!
It’s like Erte fucked Mao.
Everything is Chinese Police State meets Art Deco meets retro-future meets a Drag Queen’s bugle bead stash meets gold spray paint. And I love it ALL! Check out Dale Arden’s Wedding Gown:
Fuck, is it wrong that I want to be married in this?
#7– The Villians
For me, it just doesn’t get any better than Max Von Sydow as “Ming”. He rocks the part. I love his delivery, his gestures, the way his hooded eyes open when he’s intrigued or challenged. He is just all kinds of awesome!
Of course, General Klytus and General Kala also rock in their respective parts. Especially Klytus. He rocks the whole fey-yet-not-to-be-trifled-with vibe.
So there are just a few of the reasons why I like this film. I’ve seen the damn thing so many times that I can quote it verbatim– WITH actions and gestures! It’s my “rocky horror”. And I can’t wait to watch it again now!