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DVD Shopping Bag: Roger Corman's Galaxy of Terror Blu-ray

The one with the giant Maggot!

By Robert T. Trate     July 06, 2010
Source: Mania.com

Roger Corman’s Galaxy of Terror
© Shout Factory


The dog days of summer are definitely here as we have yet another week of blah titles. Well that isn’t completely true as Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts will finally be on Blu-ray. I wasn’t fortunate enough to get it but Mania’s own Tim Janson does have copy so look for that review soon. I am going to jump ahead a couple of weeks and give you, my loyal readers, a real treat. Shout! Factory has sent another one of Roger Corman’s Cult Classics to Mania. A couple of weeks ago we reviewed Death Race 2000 (see review) and its first appearance on Blu-ray. This week we will look at a lesser known title, Galaxy of Terror which also makes its Blu-ray debut.
Oddball sci-fi movies are a fun yet often a dangerous bag of tricks. They’ll suck you in with a trailer, all the best parts and some crazy creatures. Here it is a giant maggot! Let us not forget those scantily clad babes. There is a chance you’ll see something fun, though usually it ends up being a huge turd. Corman’s Galaxy of Terror is both. What drove me to watch this film was the cast. Here you have Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), Sid Haig (House of 1,000 Corpses) and Erin Moran (Happy Days) populating the crew. I wasn’t really sure who Edward Albert was but after five minutes I knew I recognized the guy from somewhere. What intrigued me about Erin Moran in this film is I don’t think I saw her in anything else besides Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi. Here she was in a sci-fi flick. This I had to see. Shout! Factory didn’t miss a beat on promoting one more person who worked on this film. As it turns out James Cameron was the production designer and his influence is seen everywhere.
Galaxy of Terror
The film is not very good. For its time it falls on the heels of The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Science Fiction films and what was expected in both terms of story and special effects had been taken to a new level. Roger Corman himself admits that on the hour long documentary. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were making his kind of movies only with bigger effects and better stories. Corman knew he had to compete so he started to up the ante. Galaxy of Terror was one of his first attempts. The crew of the Quest (yes that is the name of the ship) is sent to Morganthus on a rescue mission. The sole person to get back from that ill fated journey is now the Captain of the Quest and hopes to bring the survivors back. They are sent there by the Master (yes that is his name). The Master does have one distinct feature; his head is a glowing red orb. Sadly if you listen close enough to the voice of the Master you’ll ruin the big twist to the movie. The story itself is a blatant rip off of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). It has a lot to do with a doomed ship, fear and contamination. The twist is that each character has to face their individual fears. These fears manifest themselves and slowly eliminate the crew one by one. Galaxy of Terror is fun if you expect nothing from it. It was a blast and a bit awe inspiring to see what Corman and crew could bring to this one million dollar sci-fi horror film.
Future King of the World
James Cameron was the production designer of this film. His break out film, The Terminator, was just three years away yet you could see a lot of his trademark designs through out the film. To watch Galaxy of Terror is too see the precursor to Cameron’s designs on Aliens (1986). The dark pyramid was clearly where he got most of his inspiration for the Queen’s lair at the bottom of the reactor.
On the documentary, which tributes a huge portion of it to Cameron, cast and crew remember what he was like. Many of them talk about how driven he was and that he was clearly meant to go on to bigger things. However there is one former production assistant that does regale us with a tale on how the two almost came to blows over a prank gone wrong.
The Giant Maggot
Robert Englund ends the documentary with a fun story about how he was recognized for this movie even after A Nightmare on Elm Street was out. That story does of course have a giant maggot in it. That scene in particular is what makes it a cult classic. More notably it dissolves the clothes off of the hot babe of the crew (Taaffe O'Connell) to thrill the young men watching the film. There are tons of gruesome monsters and eye popping special effects to accompany this one moment as well. Any young filmmaker or low budget director should watch these kinds of movies. With very simple effects Corman and company create a different time and place. The only problem is the story and acting isn’t all that wonderful.
Blu-rays with this much care and special features are often left to big name titles. Thankfully Shout! Factory went all on in this forgotten film and gave it the Blu-ray that many movies of this nature will never see. There are only two things I would do differently with Galaxy of Terror. The first is the sound. At first it is powerful and fills the whole room. Later it was incredibly inconsistent. The music and special effects were great yet the dialogue was too quiet. Traveling the volume up and down on my remote is not how I want to watch a movie. Finally, this is a Grindhouse type film. Sure it wasn’t released that way but I would kind of actually like to have the option to watch the film all scratched and cut up. There is plenty of space on a Blu-ray to have both versions. If anything this would add some charm to the film and highlight the work that went into its restoration. 
Galaxy of Terror will be available on DVD and Blu-ray July 20th.
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Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.


Showing items 1 - 4 of 4
noahbody 7/6/2010 6:13:26 AM

"Making his kind of movies only with bigger effects and better stories" that is funny.

tiredjay 7/6/2010 9:30:54 AM

It's true, though.

Muenster 7/12/2010 8:18:30 AM

Many well known and successful directors and producers in Hollywood attended The Roger Corman School of Filmmaking. Which is why his name is spoken with reverence in the industry.

BellaNicoli 7/30/2010 8:08:41 AM

The 80s!!!

CORMAN!! We just found this old ass, 1980, interview with Post Morem's Mick Garris and Corman. i had no idea it only took 2 days and 1 night to film Little Shop of Horrors?! Anyway, Corman is getting ready to grace us with his latest project next week and we always think its fun to look back and see where someone, as successful as he is, got his start. Enjoy this VID .Dude, like how young does Garris look?! hahaha Cheers, -Bella




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