Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Galaxy of Terror, To Be Raped and Humiliated by a Worm

When Roger Corman cast 1981's "Galaxy of Terror," he was presented with a major challenge.  He needed an attractive actress to agree to play Dameia.  Most actresses would run away screaming at the thought of having to endure Dameia's demise on screen.  See, the beautiful Dameia would be jumped by a giant worm, stripped naked by the worm, sprayed with the worm's sticky juices, and raped by it.  Not quite the Scarlett O'Hara role of the 1980s.  However, a tall, blonde beauty named Taaffe O'Connell displayed an open mind.  When Mr. Corman described the role to her.....she smiled. Corman had his actress!  Let us delve into "Galaxy of Terror."
The Remus, for no known reason, lands on Morganthus and is then wiped out by some attack. A ship, manned with a crew captained by Trantor (Grace Zabriskie), the only survivor of the Hesperus massacre (don't ask) is sent to rescue the Remus' survivors (...of course there are none). Immediately after touching down on this hostile planet, the crew boards the wrecked Remus and finds half eaten corpses.  Soon after that, our rescuers begin to be picked off by icky bug creatures,  Alluma (Erin Moran of "Happy Days") is the crew's psychic, but unable to shed any light on the planet's dangers. Cpt. Trantar just keeps mouthing, "They're out there," and Dameia lets us know she is afraid of worms.
What we are able to ascertain, early on, is that man's greatest fears materialize.  Hence, Dameia will meet her demise as the love toy of a giant maggot.  Uh oh, we also receive indications that our crew may be mere pawns in something much more mysterious than a rescue mission. Double uh oh, the unfortunate crew find an alien pyramid, and enter it (never a good idea). Inside this structure, they become lost in a maze of worm holes, and are hunted by....well...manifestations of their fears.  After Quuhod (Sid Haig), a mysterious crewman with magic crystal boomerangs, suffers a most gory death, the survivors realize they are in a war against an unknown nemesis.
Robert Englund of "Elm Street" fame and Ray Walston ("My Favorite Martian") also star.  All the deaths are stomach churning, and the gore factor is maximized. This is a Roger Corman classic. Taafe O'Connell did this movie fresh from her role as an unfortunate nurse in "New Year's Evil."  Available in terrific quality on YouTube, do not miss "Galaxy of Terror."

4 comments:

  1. Oh yeah. Saw this at the Everett Mall when it came out, in a real theater. I recognized Sid Haig from Jason of Star Command! What a nutty film. Great production design for a low budget, though.

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  2. BadHorrorMovieBlogAugust 30, 2016 at 7:18 PM

    I remember this being seriously strange. It looked great too considering the budget.

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  3. The worm takes slime ball to new heights

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  4. I remember watching this on HBO when I was a kid, way too young to understand what was happening in the "worm" scene. I wouldn't say that scene was scarring, but it stayed with me for years.

    I read that Roger Corman rewrote the scene (Dameia was supposed to be eaten after her shirt came off in the original version) because he needed sex to sell the movie. For the rewrite, Corman went straight to Freud.

    The scene certainly has a subtext, suggesting that what Dameia is really afraid of is her own sexuality and her deep-buried desire to be lose control and be dominated sexually. The scene reads like teen male (and adult male?) fantasy, where the man brings the standoffish, competent, independent woman into willing submission through his "worm," if you will.

    All of that could be true ... but maybe Corman just wanted an excuse to strip a pretty girl naked and cover her with motion lotion for the audience. All these years later, I found the movie on Amazon Prime, and that scene is just as disturbing as ever.

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