Director: Bruce D. Clark
Starring: Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Robert Englund
Review Author: Tony
What better way to start this year’s first Beer Goggles than taking an inebriated gander at a Roger Corman movie. We usually give a rundown of the rules of Beer Goggles but in all honesty, it simply amounts to getting smashed and watching some form of obscure film or B movie. The idea is to stay conscious long enough to get a rough draft of our thoughts and come back the next day and fill in the gaps with what we remember. In the words of someone probably far more successful and talented than us “write drunk; edit sober”.
Roger Corman, in my opinion, was the vastly more self-aware successor to Ed Wood in terms of low budget cult cinema. His status among Hollywood is legendary for his ability to shoot super low budget films usually before schedule and under budget all the while making a decent buck. His longevity in the industry has seen him mentor and guide the early careers of directors like James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Ron Howard. Despite his renown, he was also responsible for some of the sleaziest films of the ’80s, so what better way than to raise a toast to him than looking at his sleaziest, Galaxy of Terror.
Due to a lack of Beer Goggles in recent months, I decided to kill two birds with one stone with two viewings in one night. While I won’t give away the first film as I will have a write up on it soon, my rather optimistic decision to sit through both with a plethora of cans at my disposal proved a rather difficult task. But being the astute professional I think I am, I persevered. Despite my enthusiasm and desire to remain focused, Galaxy of Terror is a clusterfuck in nonsensical sequences and plot devices. All I could do was laugh and hope my typing would be legible for the following morning.
I will do my best to summarize the plot: Survivor of a crashed spaceship on a desolate planet is killed by a zombie. Next scene is a man with a glowing red orb for a head and a witch playing some future battleships deciding the planet must be explored. A ragtag group of weirdos heads there on their own spaceship and manage to crash as well (gobshites). The crew discovers a scary space pyramid. The crew investigates and terrible things happen.
Despite my deteriorating condition I couldn’t help but recognize a few familiar faces among the cast. There was a pre-Freddy Kruger Robert Englund, a pre-Twin Peaks Grace Zabriskie and Erin Moran from the show Happy Days (i was also shocked how I knew all these old actors but couldn’t follow this simple fucking plot). My favourite character was the unnecessarily angry, Bailon, who I started to convince myself was Dennis Reynolds.
Also another horror legend I didn’t recognize until the credits was Sid Haig who I had labeled Hench Ben Kingsley.
As in usual Corman fashion, the set design is pretty impressive and varied throughout thanks in large part to the early work of a rookie James Cameron. That’s not to say it doesn’t look incredibly cheap at times with interiors looking like someone went a little too mad with the polystyrene and a cat-like monster that had me in fits of laughter. The rest of the creature design is solid with some really creepy imagery and some incredibly satisfying gore effects.
I don’t think one can simply talk about Galaxy of Terror without mentioning the infamous maggot scene, eugh!!! 80’s horror movies have always had their fair share of smut, it has always seemed like sex and violence were the wow/shock factor of these movies but this scene crosses the line by a whole fucking mile. It was extremely difficult not to puke my guts up, especially with so many cans polished off, at the sight of a ginormous maggot rape a woman to death but I guess this passed as entertainment (who fucking thinks this up?). Although apparently, this is the edited version as the original cut was X-rated and somehow more graphic.
Despite one of the most unpleasant images burned into my brain (unfortunately I hadn’t consumed enough brews to erase that scene from memory), the film has some creepy moments and a pretty great soundtrack to warrant a look from sci-fi horror fans. It’s gory, unpleasant and at times hysterically bad. It’s really just worth watching for the final showdown where the protagonist suddenly becomes an Olympic gymnast as he summersaults around firing lasers at a bunch of rubber monsters.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 cans of Karpackie