Flesh Gordon (1974)

Shot in 1971 for around $470,000, producers Bill Osco (who produced one of the films that brought about the Golden Age of adult films, Mona, as well as three Jackie Kong movies, The BeingNight Patrol and The Underachievers), Walter R. Cichy and Howard Ziehm (who directed this movie) held out in the hopes that a big studio would release this movie. Maybe they should have waited until Star Wars came out and really got people into science fiction!

The film was made with a mix of adult industry people, special effects talent like Mike Minor (the first two Star Trek movies, as well as The Man Who Saw Tomorrow. The Beastmaster and Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins), Greg Jein (1941), Jim Danforth (whose name is backward in the credits; he worked with Harryhausen on a number of films), Dave Allen (Equinox, pretty much all of Full Moon’s effects for their early films) and Rick Baker (do you need to know what he’s worked on?) and science fiction fans like Bjo Trimble, Tom Reamy, George Barr and Cornelius Cole III.

Originally featuring both straight and gay hardcore penetration, this footage was surrendered to the L.A. vice squad to avoid a charge of pandering. There was also a legal challenge from Universal Studios, who claimed — and was pretty much correct — that the movie completely copied the first chapter of the Flash Gordon serial. The filmmakers added a text scroll claiming that the movie was a parody and included “not to be confused with the original Flash Gordon” in all of the advertising for the film.

The FX guys hated the porn producers so much by the end of the shoot that they held film of the effects until they were paid (Dave Allen insisted on being paid in cash every day) and they were not listed in the credits of the film.

Professor Gordon (John Hoyt, When Worlds Collide) learns that sex rays are being fired at our planet and one of them hits the aircraft that his son, Flesh Gordon (Jason Williams, who would go on to make Time Walker) and Dale Ardor (Suzanne Fields, the daughter of a Mormon bishop who appeared in more than sixty adult films before this), are inside. They end up having sex and parachuting into the lab of Flexi Jerkoff (Joseph Hudgins) who takes them to the planet Porno to stop the sex rays.

They are soon attacked by Emperor Wang (William Dennis Hunt, who would be the only person to reprise their role in the sequel) and his Penisauruses. After a lengthy orgy, they are all sentenced to die, except for Dale, who will be married to Wang. Flash is saved by Queen Amora (Nora Wieternik), but their ship is shot down.

Flash and Jerkoff both survive, however, and almost stop Dale and Wang’s wedding when it is invaded by the lesbian armies of Chief Nellie (Candy Samples!), who tries to keep the Earthwoman for her sapphic soldier squad. Help arrives in the form of Prince Precious (Mycle Brandy) of the Forest Kingdom before a living idol kidnaps Dale, but luckily, the good guys win in the end. Oh yeah — that’s Craig T. Nelson as the voice of the Great God Porno, who was called Nesuahyrrah by the animators (Harryhausen backward).

This movie is pretty dumb and I say that in the most affectionate way possible. It’s like a Mad Magazine parody except, you know, people are naked for most of it. It’s the kind of film that’s made for 16 year olds who totally shouldn’t be seeing it (and obviously will find a way to see it).

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