As a Halloween Special, here's my review of the Shout! Factory Blu-ray release of one of my favorite "Space Horror" films, 1981's Galaxy of Terror. This review originally appeared at my DVD Late Show site in July of 2010.
Corman-produced, sci-fi horror thriller, Galaxy Of Terror
(1981), has been a much sought-after title for cult film fans for
years. Previously released back in the 80s on VHS in a dark, fuzzy,
full-frame version, Shout! Factory has now brought the movie to digital
disc in high style.
Quest, with a hastily-assembled crew, is sent to the dread planet Morganthus
on a mission to investigate the crash of another vessel and rescue
survivors, if any. A quick trip through hyperspace later, they land on
the mist-shrouded, wreckage-strewn planet. There they find a gigantic
alien pyramid, and upon entering it, each crew member finds themselves
being attacked by the physical manifestations of their own deepest
Haig, Robert Englund, Erin Moran, Edward Albert, Ray Walston and Grace Zabriskie - imaginative production design and second-unit direction by a young James Cameron (fresh off of Battle Beyond The Stars), and a memorable, show-stopping, classic exploitation sequence where a beautiful young woman (Taaffe
O'Connell,) is sexually assaulted by a gigantic space
slug, Galaxy Of Terror delivers a solid 81+ minutes of late night sci-fi horror for cult film aficionados.
Corman's crew - most of whom went on to stellar Hollywood careers - also accomplishes some genuinely striking pre-CGI
special effects that hold up astoundingly well, even nearly 30 years
later. There's lots of great miniature work, a bit of stop-motion
animation, and plenty of convincing and disgustingly bloody demises.
Mindwarp: An Infinity Of Terror to disappointing box office returns, Corman quickly retitled it Planet Of Horrors, and then Galaxy Of Terror, and created a new, more lurid, pulpy ad campaign. It worked,
and the movie was a moderate hit in the autumn of 1981.
Corman Cult Classic" the Rolls Royce treatment on Blu-Ray disc, with a remarkably clear and detailed 1.77:1 1080p HD widescreen
transfer that is light years away from the murky VHS version that I
bought more than a decade and a half ago. Audio is presented in Dolby
2.0 mono. As with their other Corman
titles, Galaxy Of Terror is just loaded with supplemental features,
including an entertaining cast & crew commentary, an extensive,
multi-part documentary on the making of the film, huge still galleries,
and trailers for the feature and other Corman titles coming from Shout! In addition, there's a 12-page booklet of liner notes!
title, the company has thoughtfully printed that title and poster
artwork on the reverse side of the disc sleeve, so you can shelve your
disc under that name, if you like.
It's exciting to
finally see a good (far better than good, actually) presentation of this
long-time B-flick favorite, and the abundance of informative and
engaging bonus features is just icing on the cake. If you're a fan of
"astronauts in hell" movies, Galaxy Of Terror is one of the best. Sure,
it's illogical and tasteless, but it's also a heck of a lot of fun, and
looks great in high-def. Besides, how many other films have little
Joanie Cunningham meeting her gory demise in the bowels of an alien
Highly and enthusiastically recommended.
BUY: Galaxy Of Terror (Roger Corman's Cult Classics) [Blu-ray]
BUY: Galaxy Of Terror (Roger Corman's Cult Classics) [DVD]