Terror in Space – Galaxy of Terror

Galaxy of Terror is currently available on instant Netflix and Amazon Prime.

One Line Review: Incomprehensible mess + bizarre rape scene = a world of no

Galaxy of TerrorGalaxy of Terror (1981) – Rated R

Dispatched to a distant world to rescue the crew of the spacecraft Remus, astronauts aboard the starship Quest instead find their comrades gruesomely slaughtered and themselves on a journey into mortal terror.

The first thing I have to mention is the rape scene. Normally (and in this case) a rape scene is an automatic knockout for me. In Galaxy, a giant worm rips off Dameia’s (Taaffe O’Connell) clothing, covers her in slime, and rapes her.

Erin Moran starred as Alluma in this at the height of her Happy Days/Joanie Loves Chachi fame. Oddly she seems to have mostly retired after Happy Days went off the air. She is not bad but doesn’t really have the strength to hold this together.

Moran is joined by Edward Albert as Cabren. Albert is the son of Eddie Albert and would star as Mr. Collins in innumerable Power Rangers shows. Ray Walston, My Favorite Martian, plays Kore. Corman regular Sid Haig and a pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund also put in appearances.

I think the major problem with Galaxy of Terror (besides the rape sequence) is the writing. William Stout wrote the outline and Marc Siegler and director Bruce D. Clark wrote the script. Much of the script appears to have been written on the set. Every crazy idea that they could come up with seemed to have received a green light.

The script was so bad that reportedly Sid Haig refused to use the dialog. He preferred instead to communicate mostly through grunts and gestures. I believe the only line his character, Quuhod, utters is, “I live and die by the crystals.”

Galaxy of Terror is only notable for launching a few careers.

People Watch: Zalman King appears here as Baelon. While his acting career was undistinguished (Galaxy of Terror was a highlight), Zalman would go on to some fame/notoriety as a director/writer/producer/creator of the softcore series The Red Shoe Diaries.

People Watch 2: One of the production designers on this was none other than uber-director James Cameron. Future actor Bill Paxton was the set dresser.

Stephen King’s The Stand

Stephen King’s The Stand (1994) – Not rated

“When a super-flu decimates most — but not all — of the human race, the lonely survivors divide into two civilizations which are destined to clash. Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King.”

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” – Yeats but quoted by Ed Harris in the show

Stephen King’s The Stand runs for six hours and still feels a little rushed in the storytelling department. I have no idea how they originally planned to make it into just a movie. It is also currently being thought of for a reboot because apparently American memories were wiped during Y2K. That said be aware that this is a long haul (albeit with a good payoff).

Mick Garris has made a good living from Stephen King. He directed 1992’s trashy but fun Sleepwalkers and somehow became the go-to guy for Stephen King adaptations. Perhaps this is because he is one of the few directors to have actually read the books but that is just speculation on my part. After The Stand, Mick would go on to direct The Shining mini-series, Quicksilver Highway (which adapts King’s “Chattery Teeth”), Riding the Bullet, Desperation, and the just aired Bag of Bones. He also wrote the screenplays for Quicksilver Highway and Riding the Bullet.

Stephen King wrote the screenplay based on his own magnum opus so this is a pretty faithful adaptation of the novel. He does an excellent job of juggling a huge and disparate cast of characters. King can’t resist appearing in his films and here he plays Teddy Weizak in the last two episodes.

Gary Sinise is fantastic as Stu “Country don’t mean dumb” Redman. Also excellent are Ray Walston (Glen Bateman), Ossie Davis (Judge Farris) and Ruby Dee as Mother Abigail. They are ably backed by Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Miguel Ferrer, Jamey Sheridan and a host of others. Regrettably a few of the actors are not so good, either too over-the-top (Matt Frewer as Trashcan Man, Rick Aviles as Rat Man) or just plain off the wall (Laura san Giacomo’s Nadine is not exactly a model of sanity so I suppose I should cut her some slack).

The episodes break down into fairly neat story arcs. The first episode is the best movie/TV depiction I’ve seen of an apocalyptic outbreak (until this year’s Contagion anyway). The second episode is all about the journeys of various characters after the apocalyptic events. The third episode is about community and the fourth is all about faith. It doesn’t break down perfectly but pretty close.

People Watch: Look for Ed Harris and Kathy Bates in uncredited cameos as a General and radio jock respectively. Yes that is former NBA superstar Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the doomsayer. The cane used by a character in the fourth episode is the same cane from Storm of the Century.