||Single Side, Single Layer
|No. of Discs/Tapes
|Commentary - with cast and crew New Worlds - Producer Roger Corman, Screenwriter Marc Siegler and Director Bruce D. Clark discuss the origins of the film The Crew of the Quest - Actors Robert Englund, Sid Haig, Taaffe O'Connell and Grace Zabriskie discuss their experiences as crew members of the Quest Planet of Horros - A detailed look into the creation of the film's memorable sets and alien landscapes Future King - Memories of co-production designer (and future visionary filmmaker) james Cameron from members of the cast and crew Old School - A journey into the complicated mechanical and make-up effects with artists Allan A Apone, Douglass J. White, Alec Gillis and others Launch Sequence - Co-Editor R.J. Kizer walks us through post-production and a profile on composer Barry Schrader Theatrical Trailers Extensive Photo Galleries - including Posters, Production Sketches And Designs Original Screenplay (pdf) Original 'Mind Warp' Cover printed on the inside of 'Galaxy of Terror' cover And More...
Hi-Def Digest Reviewed
|Digital Copy Claimed
|VUDU Purchase Price
Galaxy of Terror (Blu-ray)
Shout! Factory / 1981 / 81 Minutes / Rated R
Street Date: July 20, 2010
Bottom Line Give it A Rent
Reviewed by M. Enois Duarte
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Leave it to Roger Corman to make an outrageously obvious 'Alien' rip-off into a bizarrely entertaining mix of moody sci-fi and shockingly gory horror. Though the plots are drastically different and stray into dissimilar themes, the atmosphere and design is near identical. It's no wonder years later James Cameron, the original production designer of this low-budget feature, later penned and directed the excellent follow-up to Ridley Scott's masterwork. Even the script about a space crew on a rescue mission tries to appeal to a viewer's more intellectual side by slowly turning into a psychological thriller. All things considered, 'Galaxy of Terror' is surprisingly amusing drive-in material, seen as Corman at his most grand and ambitious.
Sorry to say, when it comes to some of the worst of the worst, the movie tends to be listed in the top quarter for many. Often ranked in the same echelon with such disasters as 'The Crippled Masters,' 'Troll 2,' 'TNT Jackson,' 'The Sorceress,' and 'Great White' - another dupe of a horror classic, 'Jaws' - being graded so lowly is actually more like a badge of honor. It gives those with a curiosity for bad movies more of a reason to see it. Remembered not only for how funnily awful the movie is, it's garnered such a large cult following that it refuses to be forgotten, especially for one particular scene involving an overgrown worm and a curvaceous crewmember. Adding to the film's oddity is a cast and crew that later gained familiarity - some more notable than others.
Other than Cameron, Bill Paxton also played a small part in the set production and coincidentally worked with the "King of the World" on 'The Terminator' and 'Aliens.' Robert Englund is, of course, a prominent name in the horror genre as the immortal Freddy Krueger, and Grace Zabriskie eventually became the memorable Sarah Palmer on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks.' As for Sid Haig, his role as Quuhod with the crystal throwing-stars is arguably his standout performance. His recognizable character-actor face of 70s television and other B-movies, like 'Spider Baby,' 'Foxy Brown,' and 'Coffy,' is easy to point out for contemporary audiences as the energetic personality of the Rob Zombie movies.
Two cast members, however, arrived onto the set with a more respectable acting record, allowing for a bit of gravity to the movie's low-budget basis. Ray Walston, of 'My Favorite Martian' fame and eventually 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' plays the ship's cook with crooked intentions wonderfully. There's something about his soothing voice and elderly characteristics that always makes him so believable and trustworthy. Part of the reason for even doing the role was his attempt to break free from being typecast as an alien. Erin Moran also took part in this strange movie as a drastic change to her famous Joanie Cunningham. Only, Chachi couldn't tag along for this adventure. Interestingly, Corman also produced Ron Howard's directorial debut, 'Grand Theft Auto,' three years earlier.
Trivia aside, 'Galaxy of Terror' is, in all seriousness, a really bad movie. On the other hand, Roger Corman's atmospheric classic is also a delightfully schlocky cesspool of cheesy gore and hilarious dialogue, particularly in the final confrontation. I like to think there's an art to knowing and appreciating bad cult films. And this less-than-modest sci-fi/horror flick is one which can weirdly be appreciated outside its trivial history. While the attempt to cash in on the popularity of Ridley Scott's 'Alien' is unmistakable, 'Galaxy' comes with a unique and elaborate style that reaches far beyond its limited budget, thanks in large part, if not all due, to James Cameron's technical input and set design. And with a script that actually tries to be smarter than its uglier parts, the film is strangely well-polished and loads of fun to watch.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This Blu-ray edition of Roger Corman's 'Galaxy of Terror' comes courtesy of Shout! Factory on a Region A locked BD50 disc. It's housed in a standard blue keepcase and accompanied by an 11-page booklet, which features an interesting essay by Jovanka Vuckovic entitled "Marooned on the Planet of Horrors." There are no trailers to skip over at startup, and the disc goes straight to normal menu options while full motion clips play in the background.
'Galaxy of Terror' is another cult movie with a sad, shoddy history in the home video market. For many years, it was only available on VHS and LaserDisc with little effort made to give this B-picture a nice scrub down to remove some of its uglier parts. (The 2004 DVD in Italy looked pretty bad as well.) But for this Blu-ray edition, releasing day-and-date with its DVD counterpart, it appears Shout! Factory has taken the time to dust off and clean up the film, because this really is the best the Roger Corman classic has ever looked.
Don't get me wrong, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (1.85:1) won't compare to better catalog titles with higher production value, but for a low-budget feature, the movie looks surprisingly good and free of compression artifacts. I did notice, once or twice, minor specks of dirt, but they're hardly a disruption to the video's enjoyment. The heavy grain structure remains intact, but it's consistent from beginning to end. Contrast is on the lower end of the grayscale although whites are clean and crisp. Blacks are about average, not that I expected any better, and shadow details range from decent to good for this type of movie. The color scheme isn't overly vibrant or dramatic, focused more on secondary hues, but the palette is cleanly rendered and stable. Flesh tones are healthy for the most part, yet they tend to be redder than normal. Considering its origins, the transfer is fairly sharp with appreciable fine object and textural details throughout. It may not look like much, but overall, 'Galaxy of Terror' makes a very nice Blu-ray debut, a strong improvement over previous versions.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
As with the video, it appears Shout! Factory has also remastered the audio, because this 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio is pretty darn impressive. While it has zero to offer in terms of rear activity, imaging exhibits plenty of action that spreads evenly across the soundstage. It may not be some of the cleanest dynamics I've heard from an older soundtrack, but the mid-range is surprisingly sharp and extensive. Everything is pretty much centered in the middle of the screen, yet strong fidelity details give the lossless mix an enjoyable presence that's somewhat spacious and welcoming. The center channel delivers clear, precise vocals so that fans can take pleasure in every cheese-infested line and the over-the-top acting of the cast. Previous versions may have been poor, but 'Galaxy of Terror' has never sounded as good as it does on this hi-rez track for Blu-ray.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
For this first-time U.S. release on DVD and Blu-ray, Shout! Factory brings 'Galaxy of Terror' with a large and extensive collection of supplements. And best of all . . . the material is all new, which is even more reason for fans to rejoice!
Audio Commentary - For the commentary track, actress Taaffe O'Connell is joined by special makeup effects artists Allan Apone, prosthetics engineer Alec Gillis and moderated by production assistant David DeCoteau. Everyone in the group is very congenial and a pleasure to listen as each offers a great wealth of information on the movie's history. From their unique input on the production to on-set anecdotes, the conversation hardly lets down, and it's a great treat for fans everywhere.
Movie Trivia Facts k-It looks like a simple white text on blue background which pops up from time to time, but this factoid track is quite enjoyable. It's mostly snippets on the movie's origins, little known details about the production, and even some quotes from cast and crew.
"Tales from the Lumber Yard: The Making of Galaxy of Terror" (HD, 63 min) - Taking up the biggest piece of the entire package is this terrific six-part documentary on making 'Galaxy of Terror.' Featuring numerous interviews with various members of the cast and crew, the doc starts with some background on Roger Corman and moves along into the movie's origins. Ultimately, the whole thing is incredibly exhaustive and in-depth, a must-watch for anyone interested in low-budget filmmaking. With clips from the movie interspersed throughout, the best segments are the talks on James Cameron's input, the special makeup effects, and the movie's reception and cult status from the viewpoint of those personally involved.
Extensive Photo Galleries (HD, 3 min) - Broken into six segments, this offers a huge variety of production stills, posters, design sketches and behind-the-scenes photos, which are quite cool to look at if you're a fan.
Original Screenplay - As the title implies, this is a PDF file copy of the original screenplay for computers with Blu-ray playback capabilities.
Trailers (HD) - This collection of theatrical previews includes 'Humanoids from the Deep,' 'Piranha,' 'Forbidden World,' and two TV spots. For 'Galaxy of Terror,' there are three versions: English, German, and "Mind Warp."
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no high-def exclusives.
No easter eggs reported for 'Galaxy of Terror' yet. Found an egg? Please use our tips form to let us know, and we'll credit you with the find.
Granted, Roger Corman's 'Galaxy of Terror' is, in all honesty, a bad movie. But, it's also a very well-made and elaborate bad movie, Corman's most ambitious film aimed to capitalize on the popularity of Ridley Scott's 'Alien.' Despite being categorized as one of the worst movies ever made, 'Galaxy' has the privilege of boasting the involvement of "King of the world" James Cameron. Part of its reputation, aside from seeing a woman violated by a maggot, comes from its moody, atmospheric style, unusual for a schlockfest. This Blu-ray edition is not one to show off the equipment, but the audio and video is a marked improvement, especially considering its low-budget origins. The first-time collection of supplements is the real highlight and worthwhile for fans of the movie. Everyone else will want to stick to a rental for a cheesy, gory night of fun.