Galaxy of Terror, 1981
dir. B.D. Clark
Pure, unadulterated schlock. Which, you know, of course it is — it was produced by Roger Corman. However, it is good schlock. Schlock you can spend your day with, have some good laughs, enjoy wistful memories about. I really enjoyed this film.
Aside from all the schlocky elements, there’s lots of interesting things going on here. Alien was a bit influence, from the set design to the plot itself, but it stands on its own two feet as a cool take on the psychological horror in space. (Mr W.S. Anderson probably borrowed a lot from it for his masterpiece Event Horizon.)
The set design was probably my favourite part — the ship looks really great, lived-in but not too shabby; the planet is really cool as well, though it the most sound-stage-y film to ever be made on a sound stage, ha-ha. But it never looks cheap, which is a real achievement considering how cheap the film was. Maybe Production Designer James Cameron had something to do with that. (Yes, that James Cameron. And guess what, Bill Paxton did some set decorating as well.)
Side note — this film is a star-studded affair in front of and behind the scenes. Mr Cameron and Bill Paxton working behind the camera, Sid Haig and Robert Englund as crewmen of the ship. That was really fun for me, actually.
Honestly, I don’t get why this film has been panned so much. It’s perfectly competent in doing what it sets out to do, it looks pretty good for what they could afford, the acting is better than most schlock horrors of the time, and the story mostly makes sense. This is definitely one to watch if you’re into cult horror films.