Run time: 111 mins

Mike Hodges’ bizarre LSD pantomime Flash Gordon, adapted from the 1930s comic-strip serial, has received a stunning restoration for its 40th anniversary.

It now looks even madder and more expressionist than ever, with its operatic theme from Queen, bizarre studio sets for alien planets and the kind of eyeball-frazzling technicolour scheme that generally only existed on old TVs.

The saviour of the universe, played by floppy-haired American football star Sam Jones, is transported to an alien galaxy where he must do battle with Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow), and side with a winged Brian Blessed and a swashbuckling Timothy Dalton, all in in plethora of exotic locations.

It’s amazing that, despite Star Wars coming out three years prior and changing blockbuster movies forever, Flash Gordon simply ignores its influence and aims squarely for the golden era of B-movie camp. It’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s clever, it’s witty, it’s at times, emotional, and it’s just great, great fun. Keep your mind-bending, critically acclaimed, genre defining, 3 hour stories – I want my 90mins of sci-fi fun, and Flash delivers in spades. (Jack Whiting)


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