STAR SLAMMER aka PRISON SHIP (1986) Reviews and overview

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‘Untamed Uncaged Unleashed in space’

The Adventures of Taura: Prison Ship Star Slammer – its onscreen title – is a 1986 science fiction/women-in-prison/monster film more commonly known as simply Star Slammer. It was co-produced – with Jack H. Harris (The BlobEquinox) –  and directed by Fred Olen Ray (The Alien DeadScalpsThe TombEvil Toons) from a screenplay by Michael D. Sonye.

Main cast:

Sandy Brooke, Susan Stokey, Ross Hagen, Marya Gant, Aldo Ray, Dawn Wildsmith, Richard Hench, Michael Sonye, Lindy Skyles, Bobbie Bresee and horror icon John Carradine.

The film incorporates recycled footage from John Carpenter’s Dark Star (1974), Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) and reuses the many-toothed monster from The Deadly Spawn (1982). Other minor horror elements include a skull that smokes, a hand being hacked off, torture with leeches (one of which the warden eats!) and implied torture with a red hot poker.

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“And I wanted to make this movie called Star Slammer, so I rented Roger’s studio for a couple of days using some of his old Space Raiders sets. I shot a bunch of girls in sweatpants and stuff running around with Aldo Ray. I also negotiated with Roger to use some stock footage from Battle Beyond the Stars of spaceships and stuff. They wanted $4,000 a minute. We also grabbed some Galaxy of Terror.” Fred Olen Ray, Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses – Roger Corman: King of the B Movie


Far into the future. A war rages on a distant, desolate planet. Taura, an Amazon-like woman, finds herself mounting a battle against the forces of evil when she tangles with Bantor, a sadistic government official.

Soon, Taura is sentenced to hard labour aboard the prison ship Star Slammer and must prove herself to her young female cellmates before earning their respect and leading them in a daring prison break.

With every turn, Taura faces new danger as she must outwit the sex-starved warden, out-tough the tyrannical trustee, and battle jagger rats, astro zombies and alien monsters.

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“Olen Ray readily sources various other B science-fiction movies of the past (as he usually does in his films) – there is a planet named Arous after the legendary Z movie The Brain from Planet Arous (1957) and the film even comes divided into chapter titles just like a serial. All the elements of the film come with a tongue-in-cheek silliness…” Moria

“This film has little to no redeeming qualities in the sci-fi department as it is terribly dated-looking even for low-grade 1980’s trash, and the exploitation elements of the film offers little more than one actress losing her top but only for a few seconds, some cleavage and butt shots…” Couch Potato Movie Reviews

“But be warned, it’s probably not as exploitative as you’d expect. Yes, there’s some weird girl on girl hazing and a pointless “change in front of the group” scene, but you’re also treated to a score that rips off from Star Wars extensively as well as some Jawa clones that make the goblins in Troll 2 look like Tom Savini put them together…” United Monkee

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Image credits: Wrong Side of the Art!


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