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Rated R
Copyright 1981 New World Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 20 September 2010

The Characters:  

  • Cabren - He's the hero because he doesn't freak out, and thus doesn't get killed. That's all you need to do to be the hero. Don't freak out; don't get killed. Got it?
  • Alluma - If you ever wanted to see Erin Moran squeezed apart by rogue electrical cables, this is your chance. Just don't tell Chachi.
  • Dameia - Apparently her greatest fear is being sexually molested (to death) by a giant maggot, which is exactly how she dies.
  • Captain Trantor - Talk about a berzerk officer! Members of her crew suffer from high blood pressure more often than air traffic controllers do. Becomes fatal female flambe.
  • Baelon - He tries everything possible to be cool: the bad attitude, walking with a limp, even being killed by a gremlin bigger than Hulk Hogan. None of it works, he still is not cool, though he is dead. Maybe he finally found cool in the afterlife. I can see him now, relaxing in a deck chair while wearing a Panama Jack Bermuda hat and a pair of Ray-Bans.
  • Commander Ilvar - Missing, presumed et.
  • Quuhod - Sid Haig! He only breaks his vow of silence because the Holy Lama of dramatic foreshadowing demands it of him.
  • Kore - Ray Walston! There's something awfully peculiar about the new cook, like why the ship needs one in the first place.
  • Ranger - Robert Englund! "I think that the cook did it, in the cargo bay, with a sonic spatula."
  • Cos - He is so skittish that he is afraid of his own shadow. Munched.
  • The Monsters - Creatures created by the crew's personal fears and phobias.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

A crew (our cast) is quickly assembled to conduct a rescue mission on a mysterious planet where another spaceship ran into some trouble. Something very wrong obviously happened, because we see the last moments of the last crewmember of the doomed mission to planet spooky. So the audience already knows that this isn't a rescue mission. Taking into consideration that the film's title is "Galaxy of Terror," the only plausible reason for more people landing on the Haunted Planet is to become fodder for whatever monsters are lurking in the murky darkness.

Actually getting to the Haunted Planet is a very stressful, though also very brief, adventure. The crew have just come aboard the ship when Captain Trantor announces that the launch is underway. Everybody scrambles to fasten their seatbelts before the engines kick on. Cabren and the others are successful in avoiding contusions. The worst hit by the sudden acceleration is gear and supplies that are not yet stowed. Any eggs in the galley are probably scrambled. However, crazy Captain Trantor is not done. She then clears the preplanned hyperspace calculations and informs everyone that they are going to make the jump immediately. Again, people race to get ready before the trip through hyperspace occurs.

Fortunately, the ship does not run smack into a stray asteroid while traveling at warp nine. Having arrived at the Haunted Planet, the crew is a little hesitant to unbuckle their seat belts, because the person driving their ship is obviously insane. The good thing is that the crew's cautiousness works in their favor when a mysterious force pulls the spaceship to crash on the planet's surface.

The landing might not have been pretty nor pleasant, but Cabren and the others don their suits to investigate the other ship. Everybody aboard it is dead (yes, I know that you knew this already, I just wanted to make sure that you remembered). Unfortunately, the youngest member of the rescue party also becomes quite dead when a centipede thing creeps up behind him and chews on his head. Faced with unseen bogeymen and an unknown force that is keeping the ship from blasting off, the crew decides to explore their surroundings.

"Why don't we all go for a stroll on the Haunted Planet in the Galaxy of Terror?"

Great idea, guys. I cannot fathom what you might find besides your own grisly deaths, but have fun.

The stranded humans discover that the force holding their ship captive is coming from an eerie alien pyramid. Between the oppressive gloom of the landscape and the weird architecture, the sets for this film are impressive, though they look uncannily like the set of "Aliens" at times (that's just James' influence). Anyway, Commander Ilvar decides that they should climb the pyramid to look for a way in. He attempts to rappel into a dark shaft to see if it's a way in. It isn't a way in; it's a dead-end chute filled with blood-sucking tentacles.

Scratch one tentacle-phobic commander.

They do eventually find an entrance into the pyramid, but that results in the death of Quuhood when his special crystal boomerangs malfunction. The stoic defender is killed by his own weapons of choice. Then Dameia gets attacked by a giant maggot that sucks off her clothes and dry humps her to death. Actually, with all the slime, it would be more accurate to say that the worm monster wet humps her to death. Dameia's end looks, to say the least, messy.

In case you were wondering, three people did remain at the ship: Captain Trantor, Ranger, and Kore. The good Captain finally loses it and has a flashback to an interstellar war she survived. She starts blasting away with the ship's defense lasers to fend off the imagined space invaders. Eventually, she grabs a weapon and charges outside. When we next see Trantor, she has been on fire. Being on fire is not good for people. They do things that are not commensurate with living, like dying.

On their next foray into the pyramid, Baelon is killed by a random demon attack. We are starting to get a little light for characters by now. The only people left are Cabren, Alluma, Ranger, and Kore. Either another ship needs to arrive to restock the pool of available victims, or Cabren needs to figure out the mystery that is killing everybody who visits the Haunted Planet. He had better do it fast. Too bad for Alluma that she gets separated from the group and runs afoul of a corridor of constricting wires that squeeze her apart. I guess that her greatest fear was being a frog trapped in a slinky in a blender.

Weird fear.

Ranger is the one who finally figures out that it is their own fears that are killing them, and he also realizes that Kore is more than just a cook. Cabren chases the fake chef into the central chamber of the pyramid. There he encounters the fears that killed the rest of the crew. He has to fight 'em, dodge 'em, and eventually blast 'em to overcome the various imagination-created horrors. Then the revenants of the dead crew show up and Cabren gets his butt whipped! When he wakes up, he is brought face-to-face with Alluma (another revenant, and just as intent on kicking his ass as the others were). I think that our hero is not in the mood for a butt whipping, not even for old times sake; he blasts undead Alluma with his weapon. Now, having defeated everyone else, the last challenge that Cabren must face is overcoming Kore. Lasers don't work, blind male rage fails to generate the desired outcome, and simply turning the other cheek is out of the question, so Cabron resorts to zapping the older man with cartoon bolts from his stomach. Completely caught off guard by the ridiculous attack, Kore keels over dead.

I don't know what is up with Cabren's lethal abdominal muscles. It's plain silly, and a rather weak way to end what is otherwise an enjoyable film.

I have heard that David DeCoteau wants to remake "Galaxy of Terror." The biggest difference between the two versions is that the rescue ship has an all male crew, all of who are scared of maggots. As a result, every death scene involves a giant worm sucking the clothes off of a young man, leaving behind nothing less (nor more than) a nude male corpse covered in oily slime.

Yes, of course I am kidding, and yes, it does worry me that Mr. DeCoteau might read this and create such a movie, just to torture me. Mr. DeCoteau, the movies you make might not be my worst fears, but they certainly aren't some of my favorite things. It is nothing personal, I assure you. I simply like whiskers on kittens more than the schnitzel with noodles, if you get my drift.

So, what am I afraid of? OMG, it has to be Ponies! Wouldn't you just love seeing me torn to pieces by a swarm of cartoon ponies (on the Haunted Planet, in the Galaxy of Terror)?

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Never put a banshee in a washing machine.
  • The only thing better than wearing your seatbelt is wearing a blonde wearing a seatbelt.
  • Living and dying by something is great, until you get to the dying part.
  • If you kiss a girl right her headlights will turn on.
  • The fastest way to the afterlife can be found by walking backwards down a dark corridor in a freaky pyramid on an alien planet.
  • My other backpack is a Ferarri.
  • There is nothing to fear but fear itself, especially when fear itself is a conglomeration of slime, claws, and tentacles.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Opening Credits - Wreck-Gar would love this place.
  • 3 mins - It looks like a muffler, but it shoots laser beams. I think it's a gun.
  • 39 mins - Does that happen often?
  • 47 mins - make...bukkake...joke...
  • 50 mins - It's the ghost of Superman. Run! Run!
  • 63 mins - "You are going to die. I'll miss you."
  • 71 mins - He has a sunrise for a head!
  • 77 mins - Don't you just hate it when an old girlfriend comes back from the dead and tries to kill you?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note galaxyterror1.wav Alluma: "I sensed something around Cos. Then when he died, it just vanished, gone. Those are the facts, Baelon. I don't guess."
Cabren: "What I can't understand is how it disappeared so quickly. We were all there."
Capt. Trantor: "That's how it was on Hesperus. First you don't see them and then they're everywhere."
Cmdr. Ilvar: "The other one you brought back - he'd sealed himself into a room and still something got him?"
Green Music Note galaxyterror2.wav Quuhold: "I live and I die BY THE CRYSTALS!"
Green Music Note galaxyterror3.wav This is what it sounds like when a giant worm sucks a blonde's clothes off of her.
Green Music Note galaxyterror4.wav Ranger: "It was my own fear that attacked me, brought to life somehow this place."
Cabren: "I knew that when I saw Alluma. There's no horror here we don't create ourselves."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipgalaxyterror1.mpg - 8.1m
Cmdr. Ilvar's greatest fear was obviously giving blood.

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