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Galaxy of Terror - Shout! Factory Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Jay Creepy   
Sunday, 13 August 2017
Severed Cinema review of Galaxy of Terror from Shout! Factory


AKA: Mindwarp: An Infinity of Terror, Planet of Horrors, Quest, Galaxia do Terror, Planeta Terror, La galaxia del terror, Kauhun planeetta, A felelem galaxisa, Glaaksija uzasa, Galaxia do Medo.
Directed by: Bruce D. Clark
Written by: Bruce D. Clark, Marc Siegler
Produced by: Roger Corman
Cinematography by: Jacques Haitkin
Editing by: RJ Kizer, Larry Brock, Barry Zetlin
Music by: Barry Schrader, Michael Hoenig
Special Effects by: Steve Barncard, Thom Shouse, Tom Campbell, Alec Gillis, Larry Carr, Chris Biggs
Cast: Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston, Zalman King, Sid Haig, Robert Englund.
Year: 1981
Language: English
Country: USA
Runtime: 1h 21min

Studio: New World Pictures
Distributor: Shout! Factory

George Lucas and his gang really changed the face of cinema didn’t they? The age of the blockbuster had arrived and studios became less interested in indie movies or films which dared to be gritty and different. Unless you made a Star Wars rip-off, then you could be as indie as you desired. Starcrash, Battle Beyond the Stars, Morons from Outer Space -- in fact, just have a robot like Saturn 3 and you’re cool with them! Hell, even Bond shot out into space soon afterwards!

Who’s the Lord of Rip-off? Roger Corman, of course. A pure genius, whom, as I stated at one point in my review for
Battle Beyond the Stars, could reuse elements of films in other films and video games. I reckon I’m preaching to the converted here, so I won’t go on rimming him.

Actually, Galaxy of Terror has far more in common with another blockbuster of that era, Alien. It’s dark, it has lots of corridors, and it is out to be nasty. The VHS sleeve cheekily promises some awesomeness, which doesn’t really appear. However, so what? Most covers lied back then anyhow.

Speaking of dark corridors, that’s our entry point into this cheap shocker. A scared bloke carrying a laser, running around in the dark. He seals a doorway -- the laser weld sounds uncannily like the blasters in
Battle Beyond the Stars. Chancing upon a corpse, and then some force chucks him against the wall as he screams, this movie looks like it might be a curious energy filled one.

A small world on the fringes of occupied space. I am Mitri, the interpreter of the signs, the oracle of the game…” introduces an old woman who is indeed playing a game against some glowing orange/red-faced dude who is the Planet Master, a very powerful being. Quite an impressive image, his face distorts with crimson and white, having no notable features.  “Master,” he is addressed by a man on the monitor nearby, “We’ve lost all contact with The Remus. First the hyper-wave and now the bio-scan show nothing.

Location?” even his voice sounds cool. They were at the planet Morganthus and nobody seems to know why they were actually there. “Death will surround you.” warns the old woman when the Planet Master grows excited at the name of the location. He’s waited a long time, it seems. Regardless he orders a Class Three ship with exploratory and defence equipment to be prepared ASAP.

Meet the crew. Ilvar, who was on the monitor -- he’s a Space Commander, a hard faced silver-haired female captain called Trantor, Dameia -- a long faced young woman, a smart-assed lad called Baelon, Cabren who is the obvious hero (he’s muscular, moustached and kisses another female on the crew),  Alluma, and Robert Englund as Ranger. Hey, then as they all strap themselves in ready for the take-off, there’s a young Sid Haig with a large beard (named Quuhod!!) looking sinister (and a bit like myself). Lastly, on board, just to do nothing until maybe a later plot develops, is an old man, Kore. Okay.  As they depart you notice the model work and sets are really quite neat. There are lots of details and the sounds are booming. This is proper science fiction space epic style. Robert is portraying his usual daft and lovable character, similar to his role in the V series.

Captain Trantor likes to keep the crew on their toes, and she has a dark past in the service. One moment they’re relaxing after lift-off, next they’re strapping in again for an un-warned countdown to Hyper Jump. Mad psychedelic colours and circles means they’re flashing across the vacuums of space in quick time. It’s as impressive as entering the black hole in the Disney movie of the same name. Arriving at the destination planet, the crew looked nervous, then the ship hit a few glitches upon approach, causing a brutal touch down. It’s a dark misty planet, almost the double of LV 426, except it has breathable air.

Some investigate the original fallen ship and they find a hanging dead man with his face torn to pieces. There’s more bodies and a funky stop motion animated creature prowling around which gets hold of one of the crew, the young and scared Cos, who stays back, soon enough. The others don’t realise, having taken the remains of one back to be dissected by Ranger. Five have been accounted for as dead. That still leaves four more.

Next up, they have to check part of the planet which the scanners constantly break down upon. What they discover is a huge citadel edifice which they need to climb up to gain entry. I noticed the soundtrack is similar to the noise accompanying the Monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Neat. The highest peak has an opening which leads down into a cavernous eerie chamber. Ilvar volunteers to be first in, lowering gradually until all of a sudden he is attacked, mid drop by a pink slurpy sounding cretin which latches onto him. Then another phallic creature grabs him. He cuts them in half but there’s more and more sticking to his face and chest. Like face huggers on sticks, they are. The numbers game is way too high for him. They throb and pulse as they drain him. Our moustached hero, Cabren, goes down next to find a vacated body harness.

Suddenly huge gateways open. Quuhod, for some reason, throws two crystal stars in an attempt to prevent them opening. They shatter which is no surprise. “I live… and I die, for the crystals.” he snarls, obviously deeply affected. Firstly, he refuses a gun and gets enraged, aiming the gun at the back of Baelon, then relaxes and throws the gun aside. See, I knew he was sinister. Cabren knows how to chill him out though.

They investigate the chambers for a while. Baelon begins to grow angry with his comrades until, of course, Cabren, steps in. Meanwhile, alone at the entrance, Quuhod is struggling within himself. He keeps reaching for the gun but becomes aggressive, throwing his jacket, ala Ric Flair. Then the gateway closes and bizarrely, his crystal stars come together, much to his shock and relief. The pleasure is short-lived because one attacks him, splintering off a chunk into his arm which crawls under his skin. Poor Sid Haig, he gets the worst of it in this scene. Chopping his own arm off, then his own severed arm chucks one of the crystal stars into his chest. Wow, that is an onscreen death to be noticed by.

The further they go in. They find more bodies of the prior crew. A limb with maggots. Planet Morganthus must have flies buzzing around like Earth does. It turns out these maggots grow in size as well! This movie is nuts with a passion! Okay, alien maggots, which, when fully padded out, are frikkin amazing and horny, as the slinky, Dameia, soon discovers when it actually rapes and kills her!!

Back on the ship, there’s a few problems when Kore reveals who he is to Trantor, after attacking Ranger. Trantor appears to be losing control of her mind as well, with tragic results. The survivors return to the ship, shell-shocked and trying to regroup themselves. The last five head back to the caverns and to face whatever is in there.

Anybody renting this movie back in the day on the strength of the cover art shouldn’t be too disappointed. Galaxy of Terror is a product of Roger who knows his target audience. When Roger puts some cash down, it’s for something he knows will entertain, sell, and make him more money. With a higher budget at the time, and perhaps less aping of other movies, Galaxy of Terror could have been hailed as a classic. It has all the right ingredients and a decent cast. Some of the sets and builds are rather impressive. The lighting plays a wonderful part itself by making it all appear so alien. Even the Blu-ray/DVD polish-up hardly takes away the atmosphere. In fact, aside from a bit of dodgy stop motion, the monster special effects and the gore is superb in a majority of parts. There is a great exploding head near the climax, as well, via a character which you really don’t expect to get knocked off.

Galaxy of Terror is sheer entertainment which, perhaps, suffers from an obvious ending, but at least doesn’t set itself up for a sequel. There is a wonderful release on Blu-ray and DVD out via Shout! Factory which apparently showcases this early ‘80s gem to perfection, by dressing it with loads of extras, including commentaries, behind the scenes, interviews and much more.

Incidentally, a majority of the cast, including the younger ones, have passed away which raised my eyebrow…

Mindwarp An Infinity of Terror Poster on Severed Cinema




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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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