Flesh Gordon  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Flesh Gordon is a 1974 science fiction and comedy adventure film. It is an erotic spoof of the Flash Gordon serial films from the 1930s. The screenplay was written by Michael Benveniste, who also co-directed the film with Howard Ziehm. The cast includes Jason Williams, Suzanne Fields, and William Dennis Hunt.

The film reportedly had an MPAA rating of X, but was edited for a reduced rating of R. It has a run time of 78 minutes, and the collector's edition released later runs for 90 minutes. The dialogue is in English, the picture was filmed in color, and the sound is mono.



The storyline is familiar to anybody who has watched the original Flash Gordon works, but with a generally campy sexual flavor to it. The character names are weak sexual innuendo, with the hero Flesh Gordon (Williams), his lust interest Dale Ardor (Fields), the evil Emperor Wang the Perverted (Hunt), as well as names such as Dr. Flexi Jerkoff and Amora, Queen of Magic.

The plot has the Emperor Wang aiming a "Sex Ray" at the Earth from his home world of Porno. The entire planet becomes hopelessly sexually obsessed, and it is up to Gordon to save the day. The film generally has nudity whenever possible, and the scenes are shot in a style that is nearly identical to the original black & white Flash Gordon serials. A sample of the humor style of the dialogue: The rocket ship has just landed on the planet Porno. A long necked, sauropod dinosaur with a glans-like head is seen out the window in the landscape. Flesh asks Dr."J", "What's that"? "Must be some kind of penisaurus", Dr. "J" replies matter-of-factly.

A towering, demonic-looking monster (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) brought out of hibernation by Emperor Wang steals the show with his brief appearance, muttering all manner of obscenities in a very un-monster-like velvety voice. Example: Flipping the bird at the title character and grumbling, "Up yours, Gordon!" The monster's fate is a major plot point.


  • Jason Williams as Flesh Gordon
  • Suzanne Fields as Dale Ardor
  • Joseph Hudgins as Dr. Flexi Jerkoff
  • William Dennis Hunt as Emperor Wang the Perverted
  • Candy Samples as Chief Nellie
  • Mycle Brandy as Prince Precious
  • John Hoyt as Prof. Gordon
  • Craig T. Nelson as Monster (voice)
  • Lance Larsen as Prince Precious
  • Robert V. Greene as Narrator (voice)


The film employed a number of young special effects artists who would go on to greater fame, among them Mike Minor, Greg Jein, John Dykstra, and Rick Baker. Established effects artists like Jim Danforth (credited as Mij Htrofnad) and Dave Allen also participated.

The film's low-budget effects were achieved through the clever use of some very old-fashioned techniques. For instance, the model of Wang's palace was created using everyday objects like drinking glasses, and was designed to resemble Griffith Observatory so that footage of actors shot at the base of the observatory could be blended in with the model.

Well known Star Trek fan and author Bjo Trimble was a makeup artist on Flesh Gordon, and wrote about her experiences working on the film in her book On The Good Ship Enterprise: My 15 Years With Star Trek.

The film's climactic monster was not originally designed with a voice, but proved so expressive during animation that one was dubbed in later, with dialogue devised to match his pre-existing mouth movements.

According to the DVD's audio commentary by Ziehm, the film was originally done with scenes of straight and gay hardcore pornography. These were cut out after Ziehm found himself in legal trouble (Producing pornography was still viewed by law enforcement as pandering at that time). The footage was surrendered to Los Angeles vice cops and presumably lost.


A sequel, Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders, eventually followed in 1989, and a one-off comic book by Aircel Comics in 1992 (which seemed to be an alternate ending to the first film). Rumors of a third Flesh Gordon film are rife at present, but so far nothing has yet come to fruition.

In other languages

In 2009, to the dismay of the Ulster Unionist Party, Flesh Gordon was screened in Ireland and accompanied by a live translation in Ulster Scots from three local comedians

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Flesh Gordon" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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