Octopunk was not messing around when he dubbed this “the best 80's sci-fi/horror B-movie there is”, not that there was ever a reason to doubt our resident sci-fi/horror expert.
There could not have existed a better time than 1981 to release the lovable space yarn known as Galaxy of Terror. After major studio releases like Jaws and Star Wars took horror and science fiction to massive mainstream success, Roger Corman’s very bread and butter was threatened. Hence he was forced to up his game and infuse the movies he produced with more focus and bigger budgets. The resulting Galaxy of Terror still falls flat in many areas but only in the most entertaining ways possible. Up and coming James Cameron’s set design borrowed heavily from Alien as well as the familiar 60’s and 70’s buttons and flashing lights. By incorporating the latest Pac-Man technology of the day he created something both special and extremely dated looking from our 2012 vantage point.
It did not take long for me to warm up to the crew of the Starship Quest. In an alternate Universe I have to believe that this colorful cast of characters (Freddy Krueger, Laura Palmer’s mom, the always creepy Sid Haig, Joanie who loved Chachi and the My Favorite Martian guy) starred in a hugely popular television series with countless adventures. Unfortunately in our lousy Universe, they were doomed in the kind of movie that kills crew members off one at a time in nasty ways. O’well, don’t let that spoil the fun!
The Quest is sent on an ill-fated mission to the planet Morganthus to search for any survivors of a previous spaceship that crashed there. After stupidly splitting up to cover more ground, the crew members find themselves in deadly battles against monsters created by the festering fear within their own subconscious. Only one crew member lives long enough to discover that they are merely pawns being used in a magnificent game of space chess but is it too late?
Who cares. The biggest explanation for Galaxy of Terror’s devoted cult following has nothing to do with anything I mentioned and everything to do with death of Dameia, the ship’s voluptuous technical officer. Octopunk touched upon it in his review and I will only add that it’s one of the most bizarrely uproarious scenes I’ve ever witnessed and the current frontrunner for the post-season “most memorable death” category.
I tend to avoid sci-fi/horror movies because I don't find them scary but this one was simply too good to pass up!