Galaxy of Terror – USA, 1981

Galaxy-of-Terror-1981

‘Your countdown to Hell is about to begin!’

Galaxy of Terror – also known as Planet of Horrors and Mindwarp: An Infinity of Terror – is a 1981 science fiction horror feature film produced by Roger Corman and directed by Bruce D. Clark from a screenplay co-written with Marc Siegler.

The New World Pictures movie stars Edward Albert (Demon Keeper; SorceressThe House Where Evil Dwells), Erin Moran, Ray Walston (Popcorn; Blood Salvage; Saturday the 14th Strikes Back), Taaffe O’Connell (Dismembered; New Year’s Evil), Zalman King (Endangered Species; Blue Sunshine), Robert Englund and Sid Haig.

Futuristic but decidedly cheap sets designed and mainly constructed by James Cameron – also second-unit director – were re-used the following year for Forbidden World (aka Mutant). In North America, the movie earned more than $4 million.

On August 13, 2019, Scream Factory released Galaxy of Terror on Blu-ray as a limited edition (just 5,000) SteelBook edition via a new 4K scan. All the previous Blu-ray special features are included and artist Laz Marquez (Humanoids from the DeepThe HowlingLifeforce and Army of Darkness) designed the new artwork.

galaxy-of-terror-blu-ray-US-disc-cover

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Plot:

On a desolate, storm-lashed planet called Morganthus, the last survivor of a crashed spaceship is attacked and killed by an unseen force. On another planet a very long distance away, two figures are seen playing a strange game. One, an old woman named Mitri, is identified as the controller of the game while the other, whose head is obscured by a glowing ball of red light, turns out to be an all-powerful mystic called the Planet Master. The two speak cryptically of things being put into motion, and the Master instructs one of his military commanders to send a ship to Morganthus.

Without delay, the spaceship Quest blasts off to Morganthus. Piloting the ship is Captain Trantor, a survivor from a famous space disaster that has left her psychologically scarred and unstable. As the Quest approaches the planet’s atmosphere, it plunges toward the surface, crash-landing there. After recovering from the landing, the crew prepare to leave the Quest and search for survivors. The team has a psi-sensitive woman among their number named Alluma (Erin Moran).

Making their way across the landscape of the planet, they eventually reach the other vessel. Entering, they find evidence of a massacre that took place. They find further evidence of something catastrophic having happened and, after disposing of the rest, take one victim back for analysis. Cos, the highly-strung youngest member of the team, despite being reassured by his seniors, becomes increasingly terrified by being on the ship and, a short time later, he is killed by a grotesque creature…

Reviews:

“James Cameron’s creative additions afford the film its longevity of interest to cinemaphiles today, as many of his design choices and visual trickery employed to achieve his visions of grandeur elevate its production value far beyond its meager budget. Indeed, fans of his 1986 action-horror hit Aliens will see countless previews of his visual and technical styles throughout Galaxy of Terror.” Film Edge

“Given the budget and time constraints, the film’s look and effects are very impressive.” Christopher T Koetting, Mindwarp! The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman’s New World Pictures

mind warp! the fantastic true story of roger corman's new world pictures hemlock film book

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“This moves so fast under Bruce Clark’s direction, there’s no time to contemplate illogical behavior. Graphic design is satisfying but the ending is needlessly metaphysical.” John Stanley, Creature Features

“Biggest complaint, aside from the script, special effects and whatever that ending was, is the lighting. Everything is dark and murky with poorly lit monochromatic sets. The planet itself looks like a purple junkyard full of car parts and rocks. And for some reason in the future giant backpack lights are more reasonable than flashlights?!” Che Gilson, UK Horror Scene

Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses Roger Corman King of the B Movie

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“Production values considerably outstrip the screenplay in quality as the film degenerates rapidly into a catalogue of gruesome killings … All the mock-Freudian psycho-babble amounts to is an excuse for the gore.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

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Censorship:

The film includes a giant maggot physical assault scene – allegedly directed by Corman himself – that caused the MPAA to threaten an ‘X’ rating and so was re-edited. It nevertheless still caused censorship issues in some territories.

Cast and characters:

  • Edward Albert … Cabren
  • Erin Moran … Alluma
  • Ray Walston … Kore
  • Taaffe O’Connell … Dameia
  • Bernard Behrens … Commander Ilvar
  • Zalman King … Baelon
  • Robert Englund … Ranger
  • Sid Haig … Quuhod
  • Grace Zabriskie … Captain Trantor

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