The Film (1/5):
I was looking forward to checking out Star Virgin, which I’d never heard of, based on the cover art. The prospect of a low-rent Star Wars porn parody from 1979 seemed oddly appropriate given the renewed ubiquity of the franchise. I’m not proud to admit that I wondered if Star Wars might feature a coked-out Princess Leia servicing Chewbacca, or C3P0 and R2-D2 droid-on-droid action, or perhaps a Jawa orgy. Alas, it was not to be, as director Howard Ziehm (who co-directed Flesh Gordon) pulls a bait-and-switch on the audience early on.
Star Virgin starts out somewhat promisingly, with (as she’s billed in the opening credits) Hustler centerfold Kari Klark as the title character, who is basically birthed by a 3D printer in a post-apocalyptic future where robots have outlived humans. Stuck on a spaceship with a cheap, phallic knockoff R2-D2 named Mentor (voiced by Kevin Thompson), the very horny Star Virgin has lots of questions for her droid companion about sex, which he initially tries to discourage. So far, it’s not great, but there’s at least the promise that, by the end of this thing, she’s going to bang that walking gumball machine.
Unfortunately, Mentor chooses to answer Star Virgin’s questions via a series of scenes that take place on a decidedly non-futuristic Earth. As it turns out, space is just a framing device for an anthology of sorts. The first scene starts as a sort of Grease parody, before turning into a weird riff on the Garden of Eden story, as two ‘50s teens encounter a cigar-smoking devil in a tree who encourages them to engage in some heavy sploshing. The second is part silent movie spoof, part Rocky Horror parody, as a young woman is savaged in a mansion by Dracula and an Igor in a Nixon mask. The third is a sports parody (I guess?) where two young women try their best to revive an unconscious quarterback, and the fourth, a gangbang in the back room of a strip club, isn’t really a parody of anything.
None of the sex scenes are remotely titillating, and the attempts at humor are pretty weak. But worst of all, I was promised a Star Wars porno, dammit. Usually, the weakest part of any anthology is the connective tissue, but here, I was frustrated every time they cut to a new segment. I suspect that this approach sold a few extra tickets in the ‘70s, but I wonder if contemporary audiences were as frustrated as I was at being denied a Star Wars parody (porno audiences generally came for the jokes, right?). In any case, by the time Star Virgin finally sort-of bangs the droid, it was too little, too late.
Star Virgin is presented by Vinegar Syndrome in its original aspect ratio, with the Dracula sequence framed in Academy ratio (1.33:1). The 2K restoration from blown-up 35mm elements isn’t quite as clear as company’s Peekarama discs, and there’s a fair amount of visible print damage, particularly towards the beginning. However, I’ve no doubt that this is the best Star Virgins has ever looked, and color and detail are fairly strong throughout. The 1.0 mono soundtrack is clear throughout, if tinny (though, again, probably as good as the source elements allowed).
The one extra is a commentary featuring Ziehm, Vinegar Syndrome’s Joe Rubin and porn actor William Margold, who didn’t work on Star Virgins but provides details about the movie’s stars. Ziehm’s memories of making the film are spotty, but it’s an entertaining commentary, as he veers off-topic to share his thoughts on feminism, politics and religion. What tidbits about the movie he can recall are amusing, particularly when he offhandedly mentions the surprising identity of the actor in the Nixon mask, who is only credited as Tricky Dick.
Star Virgin is about as bad as ‘70s porn parodies get, but for fans and completists, Vinegar Syndrome’s disc is a typically solid presentation, and the commentary is an offbeat bonus.