Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Flash Gordon: "Chapter Nine: Monster of the Glacier" (November 17, 1979)

Flash Gordon's (1979-1982) ninth chapter, "Monster of the Glacier" by writer Ted Pederson finds Dr. Zarkov, Thun, Dale and Count Mallow in the evil clutches of Bruka and the giants of Fridgia. 

Meanwhile, Flash and throaty-voiced Queen Fria are assumed to have perished in an avalanche, but in truth, they have survived and are plotting to rescue their friends.

While Dale resists the thuggish advances of the brute Bruka, Flash makes googly-eyes at Fria, calling her a "lovely lady." She offers him a place near her throne, but then they get back to business. While Fria frees the group, Flash battles Bruka underground for Dale's freedom. Flash is victorious (thanks to a well-placed rock, in a variation of the David vs. Goliath battle).

All together now, the fugitives flee into the caverns (which Flash quips are "worse than the Los Angeles freeway system.") They dive into an underwater river to escape Bruka once and for all, but then find themselves in the "dominion of Korel," a multi-headed electrical hydra. 

The team appears doomed until Zarkov figures out a way to short circuit the monster, and Thun and Flash do the grunt work. After the beast is destroyed in a cataclysmic series of shocks and pops, Flash comments: "Some fireworks, huh?"
Free now, Flash says goodbye to Queen Fria, who has come to realize that the hunky hero will never leave Dale Arden. They part friends and Flash, Thun, Zarkov and Dale next raid Mongo's rocket railroad! They board the train for Arboria with the Orium they came for, and after destroying several of Ming's metal minions. Then it's au revoir at last to Fridgia (the subject of two chapters).

Watching "Monster of the Glacier," one can determine why Flash Gordon (like Buck Rogers or James Bond) is such a basic and enduring male hero. 

He's got cool, colorful friends (like Thun, a lion man, for goodness sake), a good girl at his side through thick and thin (Dale Arden), and the universal affection of bad, sexy girls like Aura, Undina and Fria.

Plus, he has super-cool adventures in caves, underwater, on trains, in spaceships and the like. Who wouldn't want to be this guy? 

What's funny is that this variation of the character Flash is such a square. Sure, this is a program for kids, but Flash is still awfully righteous and stolid. Every now and then, I miss the leer and humor of Gil Gerard's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

"The Monster of the Glacier" is a pretty undistinguished story. If last week's chapter copied note-for-note episode 6 (the water world story), then this one is a blatant re-do of "The Beast Man's Prey."  

Here, however, giants replace the beast men.  Still, that's a small distinction.  And for the third time, we get the same shot of Dr. Zarkov being trapped by an enemy bola.  

Next week: "Blue Magic."

1 comment:

  1. The closest Flash Gordon to the humor of Gil Gerard's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was the live action 1980 Sam Jones film. Albeit, I still love this Filmation animated version which had production designs far superior to the 1980 film.