The Italians created two awesome Star Wars clones in 1979: the David Hasselhoff-in-eyeliner movie Star Crash (which we featured a while back), and this movie, The Humanoid. It stars Richard Kiel ("Jaws" from the James Bond movies) as a super-soldier — who decapitates like eight guys by throwing one pylon in this clip. It also has some of the best Darth Vader dialog ever, a robot dog named Robodog, a psychic Jedi-child, and an evil queen who has to absorb the juices of one topless young fashion model every day to stay young. The directors of Star Crash and The Humanoid had an undying rivalry, that endured 23 years later, when one of them was working in a gift shop.


The Humanoid was directed by "George Lewis," the pseudonym for Aldo Ladi, who also directed 1975's slasher Torture Train. Salon.com interviewed Luigi Cozzi, who directed Star Crash, in 2002, when he was working the cash register at Profondo Rosso, a horror movie shop and museum in Rome which he co-managed with Dario Argento. Cozzi acucsed Ladi aka Lewis of being a "hired gun" rather than a true lover of Star Wars like himself. In any case, the golden age of Italian space opera was brief: in the early 80s, the studios switched over to making cheaper post-apocalyptic movies in the mold of Escape From New York and Mad Max. Says Salon:

Some of the results of this next trend included Yor, the Hunter From the Future (1981), and the 1983 movies After the Fall of New York and Exterminators of the Year 3000, which depicts 31st-century life as dominated by savage gang leaders and early '80s Oldsmobiles.

It's good to know that old-fashioned American engineering will survive for another thousand years. [Salon.com]