Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


A touchy-feely alien gets another victim

GALAXY OF TERROR (aka Mindwarp/1981). Director: Bruce D. Clark. Produced by Roger Corman.

"There's no horror here we don't create ourselves."

A spaceship is sent to a distant planet to see if they can find the survivors of the last expedition. What they find are the remains of the spaceship, some weird creepy-crawly aliens that attach themselves to their body parts, and a giant pyramid-like structure in which they are stalked by half-seen creatures and must confront their own fears. This is an old idea -- astronauts bedeviled by materializations of their own terrors -- but it's also an obvious copy of Alien. The movie has surprisingly good production design, courtesy of James Cameron [later famous as the director of Titanic] and Robert Skotak, and an interesting cast, including Edward Albert, Erin Moran, the ever-brooding Zalman King, Ray Walston as a cook with secrets, Robert Englund [Nightmare on Elm Street], Sid Haig as an astronaut who's murdered by his own severed arm, and Grace Zabriskie as a kind of butch captain, sole survivor of something called the Hesperus disaster [as if any vessel would be named after a famous shipwreck!].  Taffee O'Connell is pursued by a maggot grown to giant size that seems more interested in tearing off her clothing and licking her naked body than it is in eating her. Despite some fairly impressive sequences and decent acting, Galaxy of Terror has a cheapjack look and feel to it, and while not awful, it's not that memorable, either.

Verdict: One of the better Alien imitations, so you can imagine how awful some of the others were. **1/2.


Neil A Russell said...

Just saw this recently and thought in the context of the time it wasn't bad.
Also noticed that Bill Paxton was listed as a set decorator (via IMDB) and of course became a Cameron regular later on.
The movie had that overblown look to it that was on the decline after Ridley Scott had redefined what the future looked like in Alien.
I tend to think the dystopian look most sci fi has now is related back to Scott's vision, sadly pushing aside the Forbidden Planet look.

William said...

Scott's "Blade Runner" was also influential on later sci fi/futuristic films, much bleaker than the comparatively sunny FP look! Best, Bill

Neil A Russell said...

Good point, one of these days I'm going to have to see Blade Runner!
Along with Jaws and ET.
I'm not good at the popular culture thing!

Rachele said...

This is cool!

William said...

Thank You!