So what if the only Scorsese movie Netflix Streaming offers is Last Temptation of Christ? Who cares if their Spielberg collection consists of Amistad, Hook and 1941? What Netflix does have in abundance is garbage. It’s time to surrender and celebrate it. This isn’t so bad it’s good… this is so bad it’s Netflix.
I was planning on exploring some awful Barbarian-flavored films and I started off last week with the Italian shit-parade, Gor (1987). From there I went to check out Deathstalker but it was gone from Netflix Streaming! Ok, then, how about Barbarian Queen? Gone! They were both available only days before. This can only mean one thing; somebody up there likes me. Before my quality of life could be damaged significantly with these Lana Clarkson vehicles, the good lord (or maybe Lana Clarkson herself) removed them from my grasp. It’s better not to question these things and keep moving. First, a toast to our departed warriors; may the Deathstalker and the Barbarian Queen get married in Heaven.
Time for more space junk.
Tired of ripping off Star Wars, Roger Corman turned to Alien as an inspiration for Galaxy of Terror\. Galaxy was a piece of legitimate exploitation, unlike Corman’s somewhat family friendly Battle Beyond the Stars. Made for under a million dollars, Galaxy received an “X” rating when first submitted to the MPAA. To get an “R”, Corman was forced to cut out a smidgeon of rape and, strangely enough, a few sound effects that were deemed too grotesque and suggestive. Galaxy mimics Alien‘s sound design with long stretches of silence, but the quiet is the only thing Galaxy gets right. I did end up learning something from Galaxy; metal grating is very, very cheap.
“Galaxy of Terror: The Less You See, the Better!™”
The film was given a Blu-ray release in 2010, but you’re better off wiping your ass with a $20 bill and watching it on Netflix. Netflix presents Galaxy in a gorgeous 4×3 aspect ratio, which turns out to be a good thing. Watching a cropped version of Galaxy only means you’re spared the extra ugliness of the entire frame. The movie really takes “darkness” to another level, meaning you can’t really see anything that’s going on. It makes sense budget-wise; the darker the shots, the less the filmmakers have to pay for actual “see-able” props and sets.
Let’s go to the So Bad it’s Bullet Points!™
A Cast of Several!
You may not know from watching him in Galaxy, but Zalman King is one of the most sensuous men on Earth (and beyond!). Starting in 1986, when he produced 9 1/2 Weeks with Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, King has been churning out soft-core sex dramas with his Red Shoe Diaries franchise. Thank god he became a sex-magnate; as an actor, King is a real cold fish. He’s almost as charming in Galaxy as he is in the scum-sucking Trip With the Teacher (1975), where he’s very convincing as a psychotic biker/killer/rapist.
Love Boat veteran and notorious Chachi-lover, Erin Moran, gets to flutter her gigantic blue eyes in one of her only big screen appearances. Moran plays Alluma, a specialist who has the super power to sense lifeforms, or movement, or some stupid shit. Moran’s Alluma reminded me of Sigourney Weaver’s useless computer translator from Galaxy Quest. Whenever she’s asked,”Alluma, are you sensing anything?” Moran only says things like “Absolutely nothing!”, “Not yet!” and “Hard to say!”
One of Galaxy‘s few pleasures is watching future horror veterans, Sid Haig and Robert Englund, play actual, normal looking human beings. Thankfully, though, the movie is so dark that we’re spared a full-on view of Haig’s naturally horrific face. Haig was recently inducted into the Successful Actors with Terrible Skin Hall of Fame (located in the Denny’s Men’s room at Gower Gulch, Hollywood). His statue is right next to Robert Davi’s.
Attention Crew: Please Brace for a Button Pushing and Toggle Toggling Party. Over.
The Best Dialogue Ever
The Great Space Rape
Galaxy’s exploratory crew is sent to investigate a giant pyramid-thing on a creepy planet. Our heroes are soon picked off, one-by-one, by a physical manifestation of his/her worst fear. As it turns out, everybody’s worst fear is being killed by maggot monsters. Buxom blonde, Taaffe O’Connell, plays Dameia, a nice lady who tells the crew early on that she hates worms. Her phobia is meant to be a cutesy, Indiana Jones-y, “I hate snakes” kind of fear, but the problem with that is some people actually like snakes. We all hate worms, honey child.
Originally, Dameia was to be killed in a normal, respectable fashion. Then Roger Corman had an idea; why doesn’t Dameia get raped, then killed? You know, for shits and giggles. According to the one hour documentary included in the Galaxy Blu-ray, everyone else hated the rape idea, but Corman needed more nudity and couldn’t figure out a better way to deliver it. The thing is, Dameia didn’t say she was afraid of being raped by worms- just killed, thank you very much. Corman ended up justifying the rape with the idea that Dameia, on top of the worm problem, also has a fear of sex. Nowhere in the film does Dameia say, “Hey guys, I’m afraid of sex,” but Corman is/was clearly a sexually ignorant person and was desperate to shoot some rape.
By all accounts, the rape scene was Corman’s very favorite scene. Galaxy‘s director, Bruce D. Clark, claims that on the day of the shoot, Corman made a rare set visit and ended up taking over as director for the rest of the scene; so dedicated was he to properly lensing this maggot rape. According to Corman, the scene became “notorious” and helped sell the movie. By “notorious” I believe Corman means “controversial” but we all know it means “sexually retarded.” Corman also says New World received a lot of “fan mail” regarding the scene. Fans of fucking what, may I ask? Were they lovers of New World’s shitty movies or just tentacle porn enthusiasts? I’m sure the letters Corman received were filled with nothing but kudos and congratulations all around for a maggot rape well shot. We can all breath a sigh of relief that Corman emerged from all that controversy unscathed- and with a little walking around money in his pocket to boot!
Thankfully, Erin Moran avoids a raping too; probably because she has short brown hair.
The Best Scene Ever
Let it be known that Galaxy predicts the coming of Kindle. In my favorite scene, Robert Englund comes upon Ray Walston, who’s reading a book. Englund is immediately fascinated; an actual, physical book! Walston tries to hand it to him, but Englund recoils, throws his hands up and says “no thanks,” almost as if he’s scared. If Englund’s character was really afraid of reading books, shouldn’t he have been “read” to death at some point by a giant bookworm?
One of the sound effects the MPAA ordered Corman to take out of Galaxy was the moaning of female ecstasy during the rape scene. At least Dameia died knowing that maggots are freaks in the sack. I guess Corman believed women can both die and have an orgasm at the same time. I don’t think it’s possible to die and do something else simultaneously, but hey, Corman’s the expert. Heck, I can barely brush my teeth and dance a jig at the same time!