Gort vs the Space Pyramids - Galaxy of Terror is Roger Corman's try for Alien

"A worm-monster sucks the ship's slutty engineer's clothes off and kills her with orgasmic bliss"

Commander's Log, Stardate 18042014.2:

It has taken almost six months, but the Galactic Alliance finally came through and commissioned another ship. Setting ourselves up on the Mothership-A, we were slightly disheartened to find that the new ship's computer had been programmed with an AI, intent on getting our mission back on track. First up, she insisted we review the 1981, Roger Corman-produced Alien rip-off. Galaxy of Terror, with second-unit direction from none other than James Cameron.

"You sunk my battleship"
The film opens with some dude on a spaceship getting killed. This is rapidly reported to a guy with a shiny head who's playing Asteroids with what appears to be a witch. Shiny-Head Guy is apparently the Planet Master of the planet Xantac or something. He alludes to this being in some way important and dispatches another ship to investigate.

"Is that a ray gun or are you happy to see me?"
The crew of the Quest quickly don second-hand Battlestar Galactica uniforms (not the new one) and set off with a strung-out looking pilot who gives women drivers a bad name. She takes off so quickly that the crew have to dive into their seats, except for a very young Robert Englund, who instead gets to use the ship's slutty engineer as a seatbelt. Strung-Out Pilot's manic driving gets the crew to the crash site of the ship from the opening in no time at all.

"What Freudian subtext?"
In lieu of space suits, the crew strap on pairs of shoulder-mounted torches that, despite giving all the light of a 90s Nokia phone screen, require an entire backpack to house the batteries. They find the crashed ship and, for reasons best known to themselves, start disintegrating the corpses of the crew. At least it's an impressive effect, featuring flaming human-shaped bags of goo.

Things start to go wrong for the crew when a mysterious force emanating from an alien pyramid starts manifesting their worst nightmares, Sphere-style. For some reason, all the crew seem deathly afraid of being sucked to death by crap, latex tentacle monsters, but I guess those are the very-real pitfalls in the life of a B-movie astronaut.

Meanwhile, in Roger Corman B-movies...

So far, so budget Alien, but the film manages to achieve a transcendentally-beautiful elegance worthy of Sam Raimi, when a worm-monster who looks like a reject from the line-up of Gwar attacks Slutty Engineer, sucks her clothes off, rapes her and then seemingly kills her with orgasmic bliss. It's a hell of a phobia and apparently all the work of Corman himself, to the director's horror.

"Did I shoot first?"
The film ends with Moustachioed Han Solo finding out the grumpy ship's cook was Shiny-Head Dude all along. He would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those pesky kids. Moustache Han then takes on the crew's resurrected zombie corpses and wins the day, only for Shiny-Head Dude to announce that Moustache Han is the new Planet Master and therefore doomed to become evil cos, you know, power corrupts and stuff...

...yeah, we don't really get what the hell's going on either, but it's a lot of fun. More importantly, the vague similarities to Aliens are too numerous to ignore. Who would have thought Avatar was Roger Corman's fault?

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