Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Black Robots” with a minor in “Space Herpes”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
In the distant future water is the most valuable commodity in the galaxy and the ruthless Templars of Mithra have a near monopoly. Enter Jason, leader of a band of pirates that make their living raiding ships and looting the ice from their holds. But when Jason finds the beautiful Princess Karina on one such ship he and his crew are swept up in a quest to locate a lost planet that holds the key to ending the water shortage! It’s a Totally Spaced Adventure with The Ice Pirates!
1984 was a great year for film. We’ve got cool classics the Karate Kid, Ghostbustrs, Gremlins, The Terminator, Beverly Hills Cop, Amadeus, Footloose, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. We’ve even got a fair bit of endearingly chilly Supercult fodder like The NeverEnding Story, Romancing the Stone, Police Academy, This is Spinal Tap, and The Toxic Avenger. But there’s another tragically overlooked film that the New York Times described as a “busy, bewildering, exceedingly jokey science-fiction film that looks like a Star Wars spin-off made in an underdeveloped galaxy.” Cheeky, tongue-in-cheek, and incredibly self-aware, The Ice Pirates is quite possibly the best thing you’ve never heard of.
It’s hard to believe that in the late 70’s space faring adventure films were being nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards, but by 1984, only a year after the final installment of the original Star Wars trilogy, so called “space movies” were dumb. And nothing reinforced that sentiment quite like The Ice Pirates. While Supercult Classics like “The Last Starfighter” and “Megaforce” did little but remind audiences that Star Wars was dead, The Ice Pirates loots its corpse, pees on its lawn, and f#(@’s it’s mom for good measure.
The Ice Pirates stars several actors you’ve probably never heard of like Robert Urich as the hero Jason, Michael D. Roberts as his comrade Roscoe, and Mary Crosby as Princess Karina, but is also features a bunch of notable stars who presumably wanted to take a break from making good movies like Anjelica Huston as Maida, John Carradine as Supreme Commander, and Ron Perlman as Zeno. Others fall somewhere in between with John Matuszak as Killjoy, who would later play Sloth in The Goonies, a similarly themed pirate film, and comedian/writer/actor Bruce Vilanche as Wendon. Also watch out for a cameo by Max von Syndow as a desert bounty hunter who you may remember as the creepy old man from films like “The Exorcist”, “Minority Report”, and “Shutter Island.” All in all the cast is a complete mish-mash of low to mid-profile artists who just happened to be available at the time and felt like being paid to swing swords (not laser swords mind you, just normal pirate swords) in a space film.
The film is notable for it’s sexual frankness. In once scene the heroes encounter a sex trafficking robot with the slogan “Finest titties on Mithra” while in another our hero gets down with the princess to a holo tape entitled “Passion Storm” and we are treated to one of the most air-tight innuendos ever uttered:
“I should take my saber off.”
“Let Me. You’re so stiff. The belt, I mean.”
There’s also some good ol’ fashioned 80’s style over-the-top color-blind casting and writing. In one scene Jason asks his Roscoe about the robot he’s built saying, “Why’d you make him black?” To which Roscoe smugly responds, “Because I wanted him to be perfect.”
Directed by Steward Raffill, the genius behind the Supercult Classic Mac and Me, The Ice Pirates has a little bit of something for everyone: Buxom space amazons riding unicorns, bow tie wearing robo butlers, castration conveyor belts, SPACE GOPHERS, bumbling sword-fighting kung-fu robots, a mad max style car chase, space chain mail, and even space herpes! The tone of the film swings wildly from saturday morning cartoon to soft core porn to dramatic space opera and back again. It’s basically the sci-fi B-movie equivalent of Monty Python! Ice Pirates starts off charmingly stupid, pushes past hilarious, and comes out the other end weasels-in-my-pants bonkers. The climax is an elaborate fight scene as their spaceship flies through a time warp causing all of the characters to age (with classic pasted-on wizard beards), conceive children, and then have those children rescue their now elderly parents. The whole thing will make you simultaneously happier and dumber than you were beforehand. It even has it’s own on-set mystery: According to one crewmember, the entire sound team was fired mid-production and replaced without any explanation. Bonus points for coming up with the wildest conspiracy theory before the movie’s over!
Kevin A. Ranson of MovieCrypt.com calls it, “A throwaway scifi comedy perfect for Saturday afternoon television matinees,” and Christopher Null of Filmcritic.com writes, “Stupid, stupid, stupid… but amusing.” Sounds like the only thing that could possibly make this film any better is a series of Mr. Freeze style corny ice puns!
This cool as ice flick has a chilly 5.6 on IMDB and an even colder 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. So, chill out, break the ice, and stay cool with a film that’s been chilled to perfection!
The Supercult show is proud to present, a movie best served cold…as ICE! The Ice Pirates!