My Memory Failed Me On This One
YJM | Somewhere In The South | 09/06/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I was 13 years old when this movie came out and already at that point a hardcore sci-fi/horror movie lover. I remember thinking the posters which were plastered all over the place in Manhattan were so cool (of course the scene/creatures depicted in the poster is nowhere in the actual movie), and I begged my father to take me. Begrudgingly he agreed, and I could hardly contain my excitement. I "remember" the movie being incredible. Now "remember" is the operative word here, and as the title of this review alludes to, my memory was not accurate for this movie. Well, let me just say I guess it was as accurate as could be expected for a 13 year old kid not concerned with acting ability, logic, good writing, or anything resembling a coherent plot, nope, I just wanted creatures, special effects, and blood/guts/gore, and this movie delivered, or so I thought...
While perusing the sci-fi movie aisle at my local Fry's Electronics I stumbled upon this movie and thought to myself, "no freaking way, I remember this one from my youth, I remember loving it, I have to buy it!" Bought it, rushed home, turned off the lights, turned on the TV/entertainment system, and away I went down memory lane. I was so happy my girlfriend was not home yet, as she works retail and the weekends are her late nights. She hates these kinds of movies so I didn't have to worry about fighting with her over watching it either. Nope, a cool sci-fi flick from my youth, and an apartment all to myself, I was in heaven! Of course then I started watching the thing and heaven quickly turned into hell, as per the movie tag line, I think hell was relocated to my living room that evening. What an absolutely horrible movie on so many levels. The script had to written on a bunch of bar napkins after a night of drinking. Nothing the characters say makes sense or means anything, just aimless rambling. I don't remember seeing a movie like this ever, where the words coming from the actors lips has no, or little connection to the plot. Of course the plot is as threadbare as it gets, and as everyone else has said is a direct rip-off of Alien. Other reviewers have covered the "finer" points the plot in detail, thus no sense repeating it here.
The acting, oh boy the acting. The "acting" (and I use that term lightly) is uniformly horrible throughout, even with a few recognizable faces like Erin Moran and Ray Walston. Sid Haig and Robert Englund were not known actors at that time, with the former having a resume of tv show appearances and various odd movie appearances. Englund is damn lucky he got the Freddy Kruger role a few years later, as a thespian he is not! Ray Walston pretty much sleep walks through his role and delivers much of the nonsensical dialog I was talking about. Of course he is also part of the big "surprise" ending, which by the way is incredibly anti-climatic. Erin Moran surprises as being especially bad, obviously she was much better suited to her Happy Days gig. Her ability to emote is laughable. The rest of the "actors" were nobody's and this movie sure didn't help to get them noticed. I don't think a one of them went anywhere after this stinker.
The effects and gore I so fondly remembered are equally bad and cheesy. The movie had a limited budget and it looks that way! I was laughing pretty good at the worm rape scene, which is over pretty quickly, but watching that giant grub worm thrust away into the helpless blond was hysterical. I don't think laughs are what the director was going for, probably shock, disgust, and terror, and maybe back in 1981 it delivered, but now it's comical. The only scene funnier is the very end, where the hero battles with the various creatures and characters seen throughout the movie. Watching this guy flip, tumble, somersault and chop suey his way through that scene also had me busting a gut. It wasn't enough that Corman had to steal from Alien, but I guess the other hot movie franchise at the time, martial arts movies (fueled by the late, great Bruce Lee, RIP) needed to be incorporated too somehow. Mission accomplished Mr. Corman!
I know this review will get blasted, and as so many people do on Amazon when they don't agree with a review (has nothing to do with how well written the review is) will vote it down, but I can't let that stop me from being truthful. I'm sure some of you will say, "Well it was a Roger Corman movie, didn't you know what you were getting yourself into when you bought it?" or "How could you be so harsh with such a sentimental B-movie classic, sacrilege!" Sorry, a bad movie is a bad movie, I don't care how fondly anyone remembers it, or how "classic" the movie is. This thing is perfect fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000, although I don't believe they ever spoofed it. A shame, it would have been one of the funnier episodes for sure. I'm not a sentimental person, and I would never give something from my youth a pass just because of it's cheesy, sentimental charm, it was bad then, and it's worse now. Unlike Alien, or the Bruce Lee movies, this one has aged horribly. The transfer to DVD is fair, probably the best they could do. The effects are overpowering in volume at times, and the movie is grainy and fuzzy in many scenes, but we're talking about about an almost 30 year old movie, so it's to be expected. However it's not the image or sound quality that makes Galaxy of Terror unwatchable, no, what makes it unwatchable is how freaking bad it is!
DVD Version is, indeed, widescreen!
Fred E. Ray | Bakersfield, CA | 08/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Contrary to my earlier comment about this film and its companion Forbidden World being pan and scan in the DVD version, this is not true. Both are widescreen editions and the problem that I was having viewing this was with my DVD player's set-up. Once the viewing mode was switched from "original" to "fit width" I did indeed receive a widescreen image. My apologies to Shout Factory, and I've upped my rating of this fun movie to 4 stars."