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A spacecraft travels to a distant planet to rescue the crew of another spaceship that crashed, but their own craft, damaged in the landing, needs repair. Baelon commands the rescue team formed of his rival Cabren, Alluma, Dameia, Quuhod and the rookie Cos. While looking for but not finding survivors from the former expedition, Cos is murdered; however, they cannot leave the planet due to a projected electromagnetic field. Commander Ilvar joins the team to search for the cause of the interference, while Captain Trantor, technician Ranger and cook Kore stay in the craft. One by one, rescue team members are killed in weird situations materialized from their own fears by an ancient alien pyramid.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / revised by statmanjeff
Not as bad as The Wizard of Mars, not as good as Alien
As is the case with a slew of Roger Corman-produced films, this flick underwent several title changes -- Mindwarp: An Infinity in Terror, Planet of Horrors, Quest - before settling on the worst choice. When I picked it up, I actually thought it was an old '60s film, as the tape-cover aped some old-school EC sci-fi comics with the names `Ray Walston' and `Edward Albert.' I immediately assumed it was Eddie Albert of `Green Acres' fame, not his son, along with Walston, fighting space invaders in their plundering youth. I was wrong. very wrong. Instead, I got a rip-off of Alien (1979) with a heaping portion of David Hewitt's 1965 snooze-a-thon Wizard of Mars (aka Horrors of the Red Planet), though Walston is no John Carradine! Likewise, Galaxy of Terror is peppered with the `guard duty' slant from The Sentinel (1976) and the Jedi theme of the Star Wars films (seen here as `The Master'), as there's some sub-plot about a long line of guardians or protectors that make a rite-of-passage through the planet's funhouse. There may have even been a narrative of some sort surrounding 'symbolic salvation' at one point before all the gratuitous violence was jostled in! As is the case with Wizard of Mars, our astronauts land the Goodship Quest only to discover the remains of an ancient civilization replete with an ancient pyramid-like structure and horrible, horrible aliens (a giant sexually-charged mealworm, an arachnid, some self-propelling leeches, and an extra-terrestrial that looks like the masked assailant in George Romero's Season of the Witch). The cast is a mishmash of TV personalities, actors past their prime, a few Corman/New World regulars, and a few up-and-coming stars (a trend that arguably began with disaster films like Earthquake and Airport). Erin Moran of Happy Days is fairly good here as a telepathic `biosensor' (and fairly sexy too), as is pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund (perhaps the highlight of the film). Nevertheless, our cast is picked off one-by-one by an unknown force that preys on fear (personified in physical form). Most of the kills are pretty lame, and Taaffe O'Connell's big scene with the mealworm is ineffectual as well. Still, the crew is every bit as good as the one in Alien, though there's no Sigourney Weaver here (big difference). Unbelievably, this film helped launch the careers of Englund (who would have become a great actor had he not lapsed into Elm Street limbo) and James Cameron who was the production designer here (perhaps prepping him for Piranha II: The Spawning). Perhaps to Cameron's credit (I guess), the Martian landscape is convincing and the sets and visual effects are great, even if it steals sets from other films (Corman's Forbidden World). Plus, it has a few scenes of cool stop-motion photography (now a thing of the past) courtesy Brian Chin. On the bad side, it's too dimly lit (though the water-slide caverns and Tron-like wall of lights are well captured) and has inappropriate music (which you didn't get in Alien). Lastly, the characters have great names like Cabren, Alluma, Kore, Ilvar, Baelon, Quuhod. It's too bad this film didn't take off and spawn licensing deals, as this crew would have made great space-soldier action-figures, as their back-packs already look like Cobra Commander accessories! All in all, a operative film, albeit not the best I've ever seen.
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