Director – Bruce D. Clark
Cast – Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston, Bernard Behrens, Zalman King, Robert Englund, Taaffe O’Connell, Sig Haig, Grace Zabriskie, Jack Blessing
Release Year – 1981
Reviewed by John of the Dead
It was a late night. I had pizza, Gold Peak Sweat Tea (my favorite), and I was in search of a film to watch – one that would allow me to turn my brain off for a while and enjoy. I recently checked out the 1982 Alien “ripoff” Forbidden World and really enjoyed it, and because of that I decided to check out another early 80s flick produced by Roger Corman, Galaxy of Terror. When the last surviving member of the starship Remus is violently killed, the Quest and its crew are sent on a rescue mission to the barren planet Morganthus, only to find their innermost fears come to reality. If you want a zany story that bleeds pure 80s cheese, look no further than Galaxy of Terror.
The film’s writers never wrote another film after this flick, and I can see why. Now a cult classic, the film surely caused waves when it was released over 30 years ago and forever immortalized writers Marc Siegler and Bruce D. Clark. Their story takes off quick and soon lands our protagonists on Morganthus, a barren land containing the remnants of the starship Remus. Upon entering they come across the mangled bodies of the starships crew, and soon enough the crew of the Quest begin to suffer the same demise. It becomes apparent that there is a sinister reason behind some of the strange (and large) artifacts they find on Morganthus, and these objects contain the ability to project the crew’s fears to reality. The kills and deaths were mostly worthwhile, with some excelling more than others but all of them were enjoyable. While the majority of the story is engaging cheese I did find some faults in it. At times the story dragged and its zaniness failed to keep my interest, and that is the reason it did not achieve a higher rating.
Co-writer Bruce D. Clark also serves as the film’s director, and much like his writing accomplishments this marks the final film of his directing resume. Overall I enjoyed the direction and found it to be pretty fun, which came thanks to several elements. To start, I liked his atmosphere, which was a bit cheap and cheesy but came off very much like Alien. His execution of the horror was enjoyable as well and I was glad to see some decent gore at times. The effects were sweet and were critical in the amazement of one of the genre’s most iconic scenes: a violent death via a giant maggot. I was pleased to see future horror legends Robert Englund and Sig Haig acting in this piece, and while none of the actors deliver award-worthy performances they give us that cheesy fun we enjoy from these films.
Overall, Galaxy of Terror is a fun mess that provides lots of horror cheese. It does have its faults and would maybe be best served with some alcohol, but nonetheless this is one film I recommend all check out just for the sake of it.