Sgathaich: Flash Gordon – Purple Death From Outer Space

FLASH! AAAAAAHHHH SAVIOUR OF THE UNIVERSE! GORDON’S ALIVE!… ok it’s not that Flash Gordon but one of the original serials…. well, a compilation of one of the serials combined into an 88 minute heavily abbreviated version. But let’s watch.

Starting out with a strange disease attacking people on Earth, it’s not long before people conclude that it’s the work of the evil Ming the Merciless… in fact they don’t even consider anything else… So, it’s off to Mongo for Flash and Dr Zarkov with Dale in tow.

Right away with this I can tell it’s a compilation and not nearly the whole story. For one, the story it’s adapting is around 220 or 195 minutes long, so this is less than half the story. I do read that there was a second part that adapted more of the story, but that still leaves parts left out. It results in a story that rather flies about, elements are treated as important or introduced quickly then barely addressed as it moves to get some kind of resolution.

On that note the big climax is not even really that, it’s two ships neither of which contains our main villain, while Flash has to try and tell Prince Baron his ship is not Ming’s before it’s shot down… yes that’s how it ends, the wonders of Morse codes. The plot about the Death Dust is resolved at least but the threat of Ming is just waved away at the end.

Of course, you probably won’t be here to see that detail, no if you’re like me it’s because you want to see elements of the original Flash Gordon serials and this is a way you can watch it… if you don’t want to hunt down the serial itself and watch in full.. which is probably the better way. But you can play the game of “where was the cliffhanger” like I did, where you try and find where one episode ended and the other began.

Still it is some campy daft 1940s sci fi serial fun even if heavily abridged and lacking the full element of the cliffhangers. But honestly unless it’s on TV or you’re watching a riffed version, hunt down the full story as in this day its not too hard to locate.

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