RALEIGH — What happens when the Emperor of the Galaxy recruits an outlaw smuggler and her alien companion to rescue his son and destroy the evil Count’s secret weapon? You get “Starcrash,” a space adventure like no other, showing exclusively at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on First Friday, June 7 at 7pm. Free.
Starcrash (1978) stars former child minister (ordained at 4) and faith healer Marjoe Gortner as Akton, the alien companion to Stella Star, a role nicely fleshed out by British B-movie siren and one-time Bond girl Caroline Munro. Oddly enough, Gortner’s introduction to the big screen came in “Marjoe,” the 1972 documentary/expose about his childhood career in which he essentially blows the whistle on fake evangelism.
The Emperor is played by Christopher Plummer, who will forever be recognized as Captain Von Trapp from the 1965 blockbuster movie musical “The Sound of Music,” while the Emperor’s son Simon is played by David Hasselhoff of “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch” fame. The original music score was written by prolific composer John Barry, who also wrote the soundtracks for 11 James Bond films and even arranged and performed the “James Bond Theme.” Additionally, Barry wrote scores for the award-winning films “Midnight Cowboy,” “Dances with Wolves” and “Out of Africa” in a career spanning more than 50 years.
Interesting to note that Munro and Hasselhoff both did their own stunts. Hasselhoff, however, managed to knock out an Italian stuntman’s tooth on the first day of shooting. Speaking of stunts, you might recognize stuntman/actor Robert “Cueball” Tessier in the role of Police Chief Thor. Tessier is better known for his mid-1970s tough guy roles alongside Charles Bronson in “Hard Times” and Burt Reynolds in “The Longest Yard.” Tessier was also a founding member of “Stunts Unlimited,” then and now a supplier of top Hollywood stuntmen.
Prior to the movie you can “crash” together the massive jaws of a T. rex in the Museum’s new special exhibit Dinosaurs in Motion , which features life-size dinos made of recycled metal that you can move via lever-and-pulley or remote control. The 14 anatomically-inspired sculptures were built by Asheville artist John Payne. Adult tickets are $2 cheaper on First Fridays (5-7pm) via the Museum Box Office or online at www.naturalsciences.org/specialexhibits . The exhibit runs through September 8.
The Museum and the new Nature Research Center stay open from 5 to 9pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to witness a (classic) sci-fi or horror movie, wander through eye-catching exhibits, groove to live music, or enjoy food and beverages at the Daily Planet Café. Additionally, the Museum Stores offer after-hours shopping (till 7pm) and an opening reception for painter Dawn Rentz, whose exhibit “Beneath the Surface” runs June 7 – July 28 in the Nature Art Gallery . All exhibited art is for sale.