Night #19: Galaxy of Terror

A review coming up of this film just as soon as I speak to The Master…

A ship answers a distress call, the ragtag crew land on an Alien planet where one by one they’re being picked off by an unseen foe…

Sound familiar? That’s because Roger Corman was the master of ripping off films to great financial success. Almost every film he’s made has made back it’s money, and sometimes they even turn out to be pretty good too. That’s almost the case with Galaxy of Terror, which has a bit of everything (Gore, laughs and sleaze mainly) that it’s hard not to like it. If only a little bit.

In defence of Corman, that’s where the similarities to Alien end. Probably knowing that he couldn’t get away with a complete rip-off of that film, the script takes us in a whole different direction. Something drags the ship down onto the planet, and of course our intrepid explorers head out to investigate. Our cast of characters include the sister from Happy Days, the Mother from Twin Peaks and a pre-child killing Freddy Krueger (Rumours that staring in this film led him to snap and kill kids are completely unfounded…but likely true).

One by one the crew start to die in various ways, and these ways seem to have to do with their own fears. Curious you may say! Well it is, and the film moves along nicely with some nice gore shots. But then we come to a sequence midway through the film that has to be seen to be believed. It seems Corman didn’t quite feel that Alien went far enough with its Freudian subtext, so we get a scene in which a female crew member is…sexually assaulted by a giant maggot. She cannily sets this up earlier by explaining her fear of maggots to no one in particular. So we get a scene where she’s accosted, stripped and then drooled over by the giant maggot…and she seems to love it. It’s a wonderfully exploitative idea, and it gave way to an adult site that specialises in the same type of scenes. Before you close your browser in disgust, just know that it’s actually the first result in Google when you type the film’s title. So there.

Interestingly, that scene was allegedly shot by one James Cameron. Corman often gave young film makers their start in films, and at the time Cameron was working as a special effects guy. Here he pulled double duties, and one of those was as a second unit Director just a scant 5 years before he helmed Aliens.

Make no mistake about it, Galaxy of Terror borrows liberally from Alien (The Planet they land on bares a striking resemblance to the one found in Alien and later on Aliens) but it’s also fucking insane. There’s bizarre bookends to the film that feature ‘The Master‘, a cloaked man with a red glowing orb for a head. It’s a testament to the film that after a while you forget all about him, until he shows up at the end.

So while we have exploding bodies, Captain Spaulding from House of 1000 corpses chopping his own arm off, Freddy Krueger fighting himself and of course some good old fashioned alien rape; Galaxy of Terror isn’t even the most bizarre film on this list. Now that is terrifying…

 

Bonus: Enjoy the poster, which bears exactly no resemblance to the finished film…

 

 

Authors Note: None of the above actually happens.

 

Up Next: Three films in one with The Signal!

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