Unjustly Forgotten Horror Movie of the Day: 1981's 'Galaxy of Terror'
May 27, 2009
It's the return of the "Unjustly Forgotten Horror Movie of the Day", our semi-daily feature spotlighting what the title says -- out of print, forgotten horror films that deserve to be seen and heard!
This Roger Corman-produced "Alien" rip off has the distinct honor of serving as inspiration for Paul Anderson's less-than-excellent-but-still-decent "Event Horizon." It's also the only film to feature Erin Moran (Joanie of "Joanie Loves Chachi") having her head explode. It features the only worm rape scene, involving actress Taaffe O'Connell. That scene alone -- which rumor has it was directed by James Cameron -- has given the movie a well deserved cult following.
The plot is pretty basic horror/sci-fi fare: As a lone spaceship proceeds on its long voyage across space, the crew are surprised to encounter a strange pyramid form. Surprise turns to horror as one by one, they discover that their darkest nightmares are all starting to become real. The pyramid has to be behind it all somehow, but how can they save themselves from its influence?
The crew were sent on the voyage by a mysterious "master" shown early in the film with a red glowing face. It's a confusing scene -- and one that highlights the relatively expensive special effects which will be on display throughout the story.
Produced by Roger Corman in 1981, "Galaxy of Terror" was clearly inspired by the success of "Alien." But it can also owe its existence to the success of Corman's "Star Wars" knock off "Battle Beyond the Stars," which was made for $5 million and garnered profits in excess of $13 million, emboldening Corman to finance another (for him) big budget sci-fi film.
With a budget of $4.5 million, "Galaxy of Terror" does (for its time) boast some impressive space effects. It also features an impressive cast of soon-to-be B movie icons. This film features Sid Haig in one of his more interesting early 1980s roles. Its cast also includes Robert Englund, Ray Walston, and Grace Zabriskie of "Twin Peaks" fame. Cinematographer Jacques Haitkin would later work on "A Nightmare on Elm Street." James Cameron helped design the sets and may have helped direct.
The big question for American horror fans is ... where did this movie go? Any film with a worm rape deserves some kind of release. It did make its way to DVD in Europe but there is no hint of an American release anywhere.