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.

Inkubus

Inkubus is currently available on instant Netflix.

One Line Review: Se7en + Storm of the Century + Assault on Precinct 13 = Stinkubus.

Inkubus (2011) – Rated R for horror violence/gore, some language and sexuality.

“A group of cops stuck on the night shift find themselves thrust into a world of supernatural brutality when a man claiming to be a demon named Inkubus wanders into the precinct house, holding a bloody severed head and looking to settle an old score.”

“I like the inverted k. It separates me from all the other Inkubi. They’re such rabble.”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a man walks into a police station holding a severed head. Inkubus is written, directed, and produced by Glenn Ciano.This means of course that all blame or praise can be laid at his feet.

The sets all look like generic sets. Here is a hint – if you want to replicate a hospital or police station, go into one and take some photos for a reference. The hospital sequence starting the film is fairly incoherent. They then ‘borrow’ from John Carpenter’s far better Assault on Precinct 13 by setting the film in a closing, semi-deserted police station. The gore effects are terrible – either poorly done, poorly filmed or both.

It appears as though Glenn Ciano spent all his money to have four recognizable faces in the movie. Robert Englund is the titular character here. He can play this type of role in his sleep – and here he does just that. Actually Englund looks like he is having a lot of fun here playing a Freddy substitute without all the makeup.

For cops we have Joey Fatone – yes NSYNC Joey – and Jonathan (Weekend at Bernie’s) Silverman. Noted character actor William Forsythe (Raising Arizona, The Rock) shows up as a retired detective. All are able to read their lines without derision so they have some talent.

The basic idea is sound: have someone come into a police station and confess to a series of crimes while carrying out some diabolical plan. It was called Se7en. It worked much better when the killer was a nobody and not a gloating demon.

In Inkubus, you have a demon who can do anything (cuffs do nothing, hitting him has no effect, he can teleport) and he can switch places with any one at any time. That would seem to indicate that this would be a very short movie.

Indeed it is a short movie at one hour and nineteen minutes including credits but it feels much longer because you can’t really care about anything that happens. Even at that they pad the running time with (terrible) flashbacks and (worse) flash-forwards.

Inkubus has no idea where to begin or how to end and that part in the middle is pretty bad too. Ugh. Just ugh.

Red – Seeing Red week

I am not now nor have I ever been a communist but this is Seeing Red week. Red is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Red (2007) – Rated R for violence and language.

“When it becomes apparent that the three teenage miscreants who murdered his dearly loved dog, Red, wont be held accountable for their senseless deed, the normally reclusive and affable Avery Ludlow (Brian Cox) resolves to take matters into his own hands. Trygve Diesen and Lucky McKee direct this disquieting thriller that also stars Tom Sizemore, Robert Englund, Richard Riehle, Noel Fisher and Amanda Plummer.”

“I learned one thing during the war: that you fight with whatever you have got, whatever you can lay your hands on… and you never stop. The minute you do, that is the minute the world rolls right over you.”

First let me say that I have not read any of the Jack Ketchum novels. From what I have seen of the movie versions of The Lost and The Girl Next Door, Ketchum seems to specialize in all the ugliness of the world. Cannibalism, child abuse, rape – everything that makes me feel uncomfortable.

I can certainly see the market in this. These are topics that are way scarier than the Stephen King stories I love because they can really happen. On the other hand a huge part of why I love horror, fantasy, and science fiction so much is because it is not possible (or not possible yet for science fiction). This is much the same as how you can enjoy a rollercoaster (the illusion of danger without actual danger) but not a runaway car with no brakes.

The advantage of the Ketchum tales is that they seem firmly rooted in realism. Suspension of disbelief is not hard because the background to the stories is true. The Girl Next Door is a good film but it is not a pleasant one.

Lucky McKee was originally hired to film this adaptation but was fired after a few weeks (reason not given) and replaced with Trygve Allister Diesen. At the same time Angela Bettis was replaced as Carrie with Kim Dickens. Both Lucky McKee and Trygve Allister Diesen are given credit as director. Trygve is also a producer on Red.

Red works so well because of Brian Cox. He is a great character actor but almost always only has small parts (X-Men 2, The Ring, The Bourne movies). Here he has to carry the whole film on his shoulders. He does a marvelous job. He has to convey determination, fear, anguish, bravery, and bewilderment and manages all of them.

Robert Englund and Amanda Plummer are excellent in very straight roles. They do a very admirable job of avoiding the camp that is usually present in their roles. It is actually a shame that their roles are so brief.

Tom Sizemore does a fine job as Mr. McCormack but it is his normal role. He can sleepwalk through a sleazy role so well that that seems like all he is given any more. His real life antics often amusingly reflect those of some of his characters.

I recommend this grim little revenge thriller for both the realism and the leading performance by Brian Cox. The climax is a little anti-climactic and rushed but overall the film is well done and the portion of the denouement that is not telegraphed is very well-handled.

People Watch: Mrs. McCormack is played by Ashley Laurence. Ashley was Kirsty in Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and the more recent straight-to-video Hellraiser: Hellseeker.

People Watch 2: Did you know that Brian Cox played Dr. Hannibal Lecter/Lecktor long before Anthony Hopkins? Cox has a supporting role as Lecter in Manhunter.

The Mangler – King of Horror week

This week we are covering films based on works by Stephen King. The Mangler is currently available on instant Netflix.

PASS: The Mangler (1995) – Rated R for gory horror violence and language.

“Machines are not made to rise up against humans, but in this sci-fi thriller, one does. But why? Police detective John Hunton (Ted Levine) is on the case, as he begins to unravel the strange mystery of a folding machine that seems to yearn not for clothing but for flesh. What is behind this lust for blood, and just who is responsible for turning it into a mangling creature? The answer may lie with the gadgets owner, Bill Gartley (Robert Englund). “

How could this go wrong? Take a story from the master of horror Stephen King. Have horror director Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist) not only film it but help adapt the script. Sprinkle in actors who played two of the more horrific serial killers recently, Robert Englund (Freddy from the Nightmare on Elm Street series) and Ted Levine (Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb from The Silence of the Lambs). Bake until done.

Well first the short story by Stephen King, while entertaining, is a one-note joke. For goodness sakes, it is a story about a haunted/possessed laundry machine!

If you thought the old Universal Mummy movies were silly in that any victim could simply walk toward the exit and be capable of outrunning the lumbering Kharis then how do you feel about a huge threatening machine that simply sits there?

Tobe does have a lot of fun with this. When one of the older ladies is umm folded to death, they take her remains away in a small laundry basket. If you had not already guessed, this movie is not at all subtle.

Tobe uses a lot of bizarre colored lighting, especially green. He also favors a number of odd camera angles. I did not find this dramatic so much as offputting. It is somewhat stylish but makes the film less serious.

The acting is pretty bad in this. The performances from Robert Englund and Ted Levine mostly consist of odd tics and mannerisms. Robert Englund is buried under makeup as usual. The supporting actors range from ineffectual to dreadful.

The central monstrosity, the Mangler is a very impressive piece of machinery. It looks great, both malevolent and suitably steampunk.

This movie can certainly provide some seriously goofy, gory fun but I simply cannot recommend it. I can hardly believe that this movie spawned two sequels.

People Watch: The Curse of The Mangler! For stuntwoman Ashley Waldorf and actors Demetre Philips, Lisa Morris, Vanessa Pike, Larry Taylor, Gerritt Schoonhoven, Ted Le Plat, Odile Rault, and Irene Frangs, this would be their last (so far) feature film appearance.