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The Feminist Sexpert Remembers Flesh Gordon

The Feminist Sexpert Remembers Flesh Gordon

Flesh for Fantasy: The Feminist Sexpert Remembers Flesh Gordon

The year 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of a seminal motion picture–the Feminist Sexpert never has been precisely certain as to what seminal means, but what the heck? It sounds impressive. The fact remains that the scifi epic known as Flesh Gordon is a one of a kind motion picture. And, all things considered, that’s probably a very good thing. Indeed.

Flesh Gordon, as one might expect, best can be described as a riotous porn parody of a science fiction masterpiece called…2001: A Space Odyssey! Nope, Flesh Gordon, of course, was the softcore version of Flash Gordon–one that essentially takes the time-honored comic book hero known and beloved throughout the generations and turns him right on his–um–ear?

Flesh Gordon is the warm, oh so sentimental tale of evil Emperor Wang, who targets the planet Earth with his sex rays. Hunky blond Flesh Gordon and beautiful adventuress Dale Ardor fly in to save the day, battling as they do a creature shaped like a certain male organ (and it sure ain’t a prostate) and assorted villains.

Although possessing of a sizable cult following, Flesh Gordon cannot in any way be considered femme porn. The film contains tasteless rape jokes and grossly stereotypical LGBT characters (Prince Precious? Really? And Dale Ardor is kidnapped by predatory lesbian aliens). Yet the picture is worthy of note to any femme porn historian, primarily because–much like its sequel, Flesh Gordon and the Cosmic Cheerleaders–the original Flesh Gordon is centered around a sexy, gorgeous male hero custom designed to appeal to women.

Leading man Jason Williams is described by IMDB as a handsome and charming blonde actor who starred in dirty exploitation flicks. It was quite a novelty of that time–or, really, any time–for the male body to be put on display in all its glory, as the visual centerpiece of a film. And Williams, said to be a kind and amiable gent in real life, also played the White Knight in the XXX musical fantasy version of Alice in Wonderland. 

It would have been easy for directors to morph Flesh Gordon into Felesha Gordon, staging a cut rate version of Barbarella in the process. Yet the narratives of both Flesh Gordon movies necessitated and called upon the total objectification of the male–with the delicious Vince Murdocco taking the title character to even riskier extremes in the sequel, Flesh Gordon and the Cosmic Cheerleaders, as he is abducted by said cheerleaders and also dominated by a BBW space queen. Interestingly enough, the actress playing the space queen is now a leading casting director in Hollywood, though I won’t mention her name.

Much like the Joan Collins/Oliver Tobias scorcher The Stud, Flesh Gordon (doncha just love these oh so subtle titles?) represents the rare and welcome exhibition of a gorgeous male form in a straight softcore movie. I’d love to see a reboot free of offensive jokes and stereotypes–but if viewed in just the right frame of mind (horny and maybe slightly intoxicated comes to mind), Flesh is a fun flick.

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