‘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; Sorceress; The 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 the 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 Deep, The Howling, Lifeforce and Army of Darkness) designed the new artwork.
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 of 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 had 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…
“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
“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
“There’s some good squoochy gore in here, and mixing this together with ambitious low-budget special effects, James Cameron’s tenpenny production design (and his shock-dancing maggots, ha ha), that stellar oddball cast, and some gloriously dumb metaphysics, we get a heady brew indeed! The movie cares not a fig about making sense, but it does deliver a parade of trick effects you will surely enjoy!” Ha ha, It’s Burl!
“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
“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?!” UK Horror Scene
The film includes a giant maggot physical assault scene 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
Jack Blessing … Cos
Mary Ellen O’Neill … Mitri
Kenny Myers … Dead spaceship crew member (uncredited)
Brian Wade … Shadow monster (uncredited)
Santa Monica, California
Venice, Los Angeles, California
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1