Oh, Roger Corman and Galaxy of Terror…
If you have no real recollection of the film, then you have not seen it. Trust me. It’s hard to forget the film. And I have yet to meet a person who has seen it who forgot they saw it. This is mainly because it has one of those “I can’t believe it just went there” scenes. Kind of like you do not forget if you have seen Evil Dead.
Galaxy of Terror’s claim to fame is it is a film where a woman is stripped and molested to death by a giant worm creature. Yup. This appeared in a film not made for the hidden back room of the local video store (See, youngsters, back in the day, instead of through mail or Redbox, video rentals were done through stores that had video tapes- and later DVDs- on shelves to rent to consumers. Many stores had a special room for dirty movies. Ask your parents about it).
But this is not all the movie offered. You have Joanie from Happy Days exploding. Mr. Hand with a glowing head. Sid Haig throwing crystals. Young Freddy Krueger. The son of the guy from Green Acres.
I am not selling the movie very well, am I? (Although, I know someone out there was sold at Giant worm creature)
It actually had some lofty goals behind it. Corman wanted to make an intellectual sci-fi/horror film. The plot goes like this: a crew is sent to help another ship that has lost contact with Earth while on another planet. Once they arrive, the crew does not locate survivors. They make their way to a mysterious pyramid. As the crew separates (both on their ship and in the pyramid) they begin facing their deepest fears. So instead of one monster, they face horrific manifestations of the things they fear. Intriguing in concept… but in action the film’s plot is rather conducive to making you say… “Uh…Huh.”
Visually, the film is quite nice, considering the budget. A lot of that is due to the presence of James Cameron who handled 2nd unit direction and effects. He and the effects crew did a lot with very little. The planet has an eerie atmosphere, and a rather cool, dead look. Even the hyper space jump looks real nice.
The cast is is actually quite solid. No one behaves like they are in a movie beneath them and plays their role earnestly.
Recently, Corman films have been getting the Deluxe Treatment from the Shout Factory, and this is not any different. There is a six part documentary that looks back at the film. There are interviews with Corman, Robert Englund, Sid Haig, Taaffe O’Connell (the maggot’s victim), Grace Zabriskie, director Bruce Clark and writer Mark Siegler among others. Their comments are entertaining and insightful. For example, both the director and writer were opposed to the maggot raping scene. Corman forced it on them. Because they did not want to lose their jobs, they went along with it. Corman was not wrong, it certainly makes the film hard to forget, and without it, the film would likely have faded into forgotten obscurity.