There is an interesting thing in one of the scenes at the beginning of Star Crystal. The crew are discussing a rock they found on Mars and they are drinking Coca Cola from some kind of specialized space plastic bottles. They take sips from the side. I bet the production design thought they were well clever, because astronauts in space do need specialized drinking bottles since there is no gravity. The problem is that there is never a scene in the film that shows them lacking gravity, so I wouldn’t have thought about gravity if it wasn’t for those bottles, but now I’m wondering why they have it in space. They had gravity in Alien (1979), never wondered why.
I also wonder if the filmmakers of sci-fi films around this era, whether it be Ridley Scott, James Cameron or whoever made this crap, ever thought that displaying the DOS operating system is full screen, giving out information line-by-line in some 8bit font, might date their film or if they really thought it would remain futuristic.
It’s hard to believe that this came out in 1986, the sets look like something from the original Star Trek series and the spaceships look like close-ups of toys, which they are. The original Star Wars trilogy concluded in 1983 and this came out at the same time as Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and Aliens (1986). It wouldn’t surprise me if this were made in 1980. Usually, you can look at the actors and see if they look the same as they did in other films they were in around this time, but none of the actors have been in anything else.
That’s not surprising, none of them could act their way out of a shoebox.
The real star of this film is the soundtrack. A mixed medley of soap opera music, traditional horror and sci-fi cues with a futuristic “doot doot” effect, that keyboard setting that makes it sound like a choir, and a genre which I have decided to call “synth jazz.” It was either made by a musical genius or it’s random samples from “Now that’s what I call public domain movie music and sounds” mixtapes the director bought at a yard sale. The icing on the cake is a horrible 80s pop theme song that ends the film, “Crystal of the Stars.”
The director had no issue with copying from Alien. It has the plot: crewmembers bring an alien unwittingly to their spaceship and it starts killing people. Here, they bring a rock that breaks up, revealing a crystal in goo and the goo turns into a creature with very long tentacles. It has the vector map that shows the crewmembers and the creature with dots (although here the map is made out of cardboard) and they even have a crewmember that looks like an undead Ripley.
It also has a computer that speaks in a woman’s voice; however, did Mother from Alien read out random Bible verses to the xenomorph? I don’t think so. (That really happens in this film.) The creature itself looks nothing like a xenomorph, it looks pathetic. Not pathetic in that it’s badly made, it just looks pathetic. Like a big bird fetus. Big spoiler alert: it reverts to Christianity. I’m not joking.
There are some good gore effects, and some money went into make-up, but what saves Star Crystal is the third act, where it becomes so absurd that it moves the whole film from bad to so-bad-it’s-a-must-watch for anyone who likes schlock sci-fi.