Galaxy of Terror (1981)
It’s difficult to know where to start with this film, it is startlingly odd, dull, a rip-off of other (much superior) films and totally unique. I’ll try and unpick what I mean….
The film starts with some starship crew members stranded on a planet getting attacked by a largely unseen force. Employing an acting style that we haven’t seen since the days of the silent movie, they looked very scared indeed before bouncing off a wall and dropping down dead. We then cut to an old lady playing chess with a bloke whose face is hidden behind a red shimmery disco light effect. The old lady helpfully explains for no obvious reason that they need to send a highly-skilled rescue mission to the planet.
There are a few familiar faces in the crew line-up, including a young Robert (Freddy Kruger) Englund, and Erin Moran, more familiar from Happy Days. The rescue mission goes spectacularly wrong, with many gruesome deaths along the way. My personal favourite is the severed arm which then proceeds to stab its former owner, presumably in revenge for the quality of acting on display.
The limited sets are beyond cheap and make Blakes Seven look like Inception by comparison. The music is an intensely annoying early 80s synth soundtrack that lacks any warm, atmosphere or discernible tune.
Possibly the only interesting thing about the whole film is that James Cameron was the second unit director on this Roger Corman produced epic. Given this was a zero budget film, I guess he must have learnt a lot about making movies.
I won’t spoil the ending, as to be honest I didn’t really understand it (although the red-disco-light-bloke makes another appearance – excellent). If you ever see this pop up at a car boot sale, I’d leave it where it is.