Yeah, that first scene with the zombie guy and spaceship battle isn't even in this movie.
The feminist in me should be screaming about this movie and not with any kind of praise. Roger Corman <3's rape scenes. Rape scenes in which it seems only women are raped, usually highly attractive women, by Western cultural standards, women with big, yet perky breasts and gorgeous bodies. In this 1981 low-budget sci-fi film Corman and crew eroticize rape as the big-breasted blond, whose greatest fear is apparently being raped, to specify, by a 1-ton maggot, and she begins to enjoy the experience of being humped and fondled by the enormous, phallic slimy beast. In an extra feature, it's explained that her fear, other than that of maggots, is on a deeper level, of sex, which is obviously why she enjoys her experience just before it kills her. WTF?
Watching this scene, I am turned on and not as upset about it as I want to be. What does that say about me? Am I a product of a fucked up culture or is that it's ridiculous make-believe enough to justify my enjoyment of a scene the director didn't want to shoot, but New Horizons studio owner Corman demanded? Mind you, this is the edited version of the scene, humping-action frames and sequences cut to move the film from an X- to R-rating, as indicated in the detailed making of the film, Tales from the Lumberyard.
Here I exist, a part of patriarchy and enjoyer of exaggerated xenophobia and Corman knows how to package and sell it to me, and not the 11-year-old in me. Somehow I never came across this movie in my youth and I imagine I would've enjoyed it much more then, especially because it had tits, ass, aliens, and exploding heads. At least then I wouldn't have known any better, turned on and ignorant.
An Alien (1979) knock off of sorts, taking in the sights and sounds of Galaxy of Terror, I didn't know what year the movie came out, but I found it oddly reminiscent of James Cameron's Aliens (1986), thinking it an obvious low-budget rip-off, with similar scenes and set design, from a giant pyramid-like structure to a stairway leading to a doorway on a wall that resembles the alien queen in a way, very bio-mechanical. Surprisingly no "synthetic person" appeared in the film, which turns out to be, in large part, a Jim Cameron product as he was second unit director. Also in head special effects person, Cameron shot all the death scenes, many of which were fantastically gory and exciting, and was in charge of much design in the movie, including costumes and the previously mentioned sets, giving the film an interesting flavor.
While some of the visual effects were absolutely horrible, such as the matte painting of the spaceship in the hangar and the backdrop for the alien pyramid on the graveyard planet, and two or three of the aliens (which would've played better to keep in shadows), most of the atmosphere and design of the movie helped to create a visual feast for fans of sci-fi, and not just B-movie exploitation sci-fi. Good at what he did even then, Cameron took the job seriously, practicing ideas later perfected in bigger, badder films.
The movie stars a young Robert England (who knew Freddy Kreuger was once so cute), an awesomely almost-silent Sid Haig of House of 1,000 Corpses fame, a mysterious Ray Walston of Ski Patrol fame, among others who I didn't recognize. As pointed out in the making of featurette, many of the supporting actors were more engaging than the leads. One or two of the primaries seemed to be overacting to a mostly poorly-written script, the film having been released in the south as Mind Warp: An Infinity of Terror.
I traveled to the Galaxy of Terror through the trailers on the Humanoids from the Deep DVD, which was a lot of fun in its campiness, but which contained numerous rapes (just watch the trailer). Though I watched this movie days ago, I cannot remember if the rapes were specifically eroticized.
Humanoids from the Deep was introduced to me by James Rolfe via his review of Xtro on Cinemassacre.
And so exploitation film lives. Is it within the hearts of the lowest common denominator or is there something more? Does it matter that the film's director purposely did his best to make the rape scene in Galaxy as ridiculous as possible? Is Corman a genius or a morally reprehensible prick who lied and exploited to get what he wanted and make his studio money? Will I continue to seek out these B-movies, horror, sci-fi, and the like? Of course. Why of course?... Up next, 1982's Forbidden World, another Corman low-budget epic.
I'm all for exploitation so long as it's equal opportunity, or does it then cease to be exploitation?
Galaxy and Humanoids were released by Shout! Factory, which puts together a great package for its DVDs, from what I've seen so far, as each comes packed with extra features, including trailers for the films and for other Corman sci-fi B-movies, TV and/or radio spots from each film's original release, behind-the-scenes features and featurettes, and sometimes original scripts. It seems many of their products get the royal treatment and I look forward to seeing the Shout! logo on future DVD rentals and purchases.