If you’re a fan of Roger Corman’s Cult Classics, chances are you have ‘Galaxy of Terror’ somewhere in your tasteful collection. A B movie through and through, the 1981 sci fi / horror film is this week’s Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s weekly column dedicated to the great science fiction classics of the past.
‘Galaxy of Terror’ is an adorable attempt at being Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ as we watch each character endure a horrific death one by one from creepy, tentacle-y aliens. Produced by Corman, the film was directed by Bruce D. Clark and written by Clark and Marc Siegler. It has quite a few notable stars including Erin Moran of ‘Happy Days’, Ray Walston of ‘My Favorite Martian’, and Robert Englund pre-Freddy Krueger.
If you stay to watch the credits in a Roger Corman movie, you always see familiar names pop up, including Ron Howard or Martin Scorsese. In ‘Galaxy of Terror’, James Cameron served as both production designer and second unit director.
The film opens on an eerie planet called Morganthus where we see a spaceship crewman succumb to a gruesome death by a hidden entity. We then cut to a planet light years away where we watch an old lady playing a game with a powerful mystic known as the Planet Master. The Planet Master tells one of his commanders to summon a ship to Morganthus.
The ship sent to Morganthus is known as Quest. Quest is filled with a ragtag team of crewmen including a cook, an empath, a crystal thrower and one very troubled captain. Quest has orders to search for survivors, and, despite crash landing, the crew decides to follow through. What they encounter is remnants of a massacre and eventually they discover a pyramid-shaped building. Making the tragic decision to explore the pyramid, the Quest crew is killed off in a variety of ways, including tentacle strangulation, getting stabbed by one’s own dismembered arm, head explosion, and being raped to death by a giant worm.
The rape scene is controversial and uncomfortable and, it being a Roger Corman B-movie, was obviously meant to be titillating. It’s inexcusable to some, perhaps. However, both Corman and actress Taaffe O’Connell at some point stated that as the characters faced and inevitably died from their own fears throughout the movie, Dameia’s fear and eventual downfall was her own sexuality (and worms.)
Have you seen ‘Galaxy of Terror’? What do you think of the movie?
‘Galaxy of Terror’ was directed by Bruce D. Clark and stars Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston and Taaffe O’Connell.