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80's Trash from the Future

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Galaxina (William Sachs 1980)
Trash rating

Galaxina achieved cult status after it's star (and former Playmate of the year) Dorothy Stratten was murdered by possessive husband Paul Snider. Stratten was rumoured to have become close with filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich on the set of his 1981 comedy They All Laughed. In turn Snider, overcome with jealousy, tied her up sexually assaulted and shot her, before turning the gun on himself. Up until then Stratten's career had been on the rise thanks to her Playboy appearances. She'd found small roles in a number of films in 1979, and even appeared in episodes of television shows like Fantasy Island and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Written and directed by William Sachs, Galaxina was a spoof designed to cash in on the global demand for 'space operas' following the success of Star Wars in 1977. Though whilst Lucas was busy labouring over his masterpiece, Sachs had been lazily throwing together his 1977 crapfest The Incredible Melting Man. Still, that film was a moderate success thanks to its goofy title and impressive Rick Baker makeups. It was also an indication of the kind of quality to expect with Galaxina.

In the film we follow the Infinity, an interstellar police cruiser and its oddball crew who are sent to recover a crystal called the Blue Star (dramatic music). After a rolling credits sequence
(ala Star Wars) that goes on forever, we meet Captain Cornelius Butt (Avery Schreiber), the Sarg (Stephen Macht) and some other dude in a cowboy hat. We also get lots of shots of Galaxina (Stratten) a sexy mute robot who sits in a white chair, and electrocutes anyone who touches her. Fast forward through some decidedly unfunny dialogue, to a duff space battle with an alien who wants the Blue Star (dramatic music) and looks like a messed up Klytus from Flash Gordon. We also meet the other Infinity crew members, a black Mr. Spock ripoff with batwings, an old Chinese guy who spouts proverbs like Charlie Chan, and a rock eating alien prisoner. Add to that subplots involving the Sarg falling in love with Galaxina (who eventually stops electrocuting him and learns to talk), plus Captain Butt who eats a weird egg and gives birth to an alien that thinks he's it's mother. Oh and let's not forget the space bikers who worship the god of Har Lee David Son *groan*



Clearly a vehicle for Stratten to showcase her voluptuous talents, Galaxina ultimately falls completely flat due to its boring script, and cheap production values. The opening credits that go on forever are an early indication that Sachs was padding out running time wherever possible. Indeed this film is at least twenty minutes too long, as nearly all the scenes in the first two acts of the movie feel tediously dragged out. Not only are they slow, but also painfully unfunny as most of the gags completely miss the mark. The supporting cast are all extremely wooden, appart from Schreiber who at least tries to inject some comedic gusto into his performance. Though sadly he's left hopelessly flogging a dead horse as the material on offer is so poor. As a result you're merely left ogling Stratten who strangely for this type of fare, does nothing more than silently stand around in lycra looking pretty. Yup that's right, not only is there no nudity from the former Playmate, but for the first half of the film there's no dialogue either. Perhaps that's the greatest joke of all, that faced with Stratten's dubious acting ability, Sachs saw fit to limit her lines to practically zero.

In it's favour the film does pick up half way through when Stratten is given more to do and the narrative takes on some focus. There are a couple of colourfully amusing tavern scenes (the second of which is a shot for shot rip of Star Wars), and the running joke involving Captain Butt's alien baby is rather cute. Galaxina even borders on likable for the final act, coming off like some half baked mixture of Roger Vadim's Barbarella (1968) and an original episode of Star Trek. You almost begin to forgive the second rate battle scenes (involving static spaceships that shoot each other from opposite sides of the screen), poor makeup, and purile script...but not quite. Then it ends abruptly and the realization dawns that you've just wasted ninety minutes of your life on pointless un-exploitative exploitation.




Thanks Future another one to give a miss
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Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
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Bad News...

last night my computer crashed and I was unable to reboot i.e. turn it back on. Unfortunately it looks like the insides are completely fried and the machine bricked for good. As I'm currently unemployed I can't even afford repairs let alone a replacement (I'm writing this message from my local library).

Sadly I'm going to have to bid farewell to MoFo until I can sort it out. I'm not sure how long this will take, possibly months.

Just like to say it's been fun and I'll try to get back asap,

UF.



To bad UF, I hope to see you soon.
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We are both the source of the problem and the solution, yet we do not see ourselves in this light...



A system of cells interlinked
Bad News...

last night my computer crashed and I was unable to reboot i.e. turn it back on. Unfortunately it looks like the insides are completely fried and the machine bricked for good. As I'm currently unemployed I can't even afford repairs let alone a replacement (I'm writing this message from my local library).

Sadly I'm going to have to bid farewell to MoFo until I can sort it out. I'm not sure how long this will take, possibly months.

Just like to say it's been fun and I'll try to get back asap,

UF.
Well, bummer. That's for sure. This thread has been a welcome addition to MoFo; one I look forward to reading. Hopefully, you get back on track soon with a new machine, or a repair to the old one. I went through the same problem a couple of months ago, and was limited to logging in at work.

See you when you get back!

For now, I will just keep oogling that toe-tastic picture of D Strattan you posted...

_M
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"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP




For now, I will just keep oogling that toe-tastic picture of D Strattan you posted...

_M
I was watching an episode of Buck Rogers the other day and she was playing the part of Miss Cosmos, the most genetically perfect woman in the quadrant.

An obvious plothole I thought, as Pamela Hensey (Princess Ardala) is, by far, the most attractive woman in the Buck Rogers universe.



Thanks folks,

I'll sign in on a library computer a couple of times a week just to say hello and see what's happening (don't want to miss anything). Hopefully I shouldn't be away for more than a couple of months, missing the place already.






Galaxy of Terror (Bruce D. Clark 1981)
Trash rating

Galaxy of Terror was the first of Roger Corman's New World Alien knock offs (Forbidden World reviewed on page 1 was a semi-sequel). The film was directed and co scripted by Bruce D. Clark who hasn't done much else since, but this being Corman produced meant there was plenty of fresh young talent involved behind the scenes. The most famous of these was James Cameron, who worked as a production designer on the film, and would later retread similar territory with his classic sequel to Alien. Also noteworthy was the young Bill Paxton who worked as a set decorator, and would later team up with Cameron on Aliens for his memorable role as Private Hudson. At the time however, they were unknowns, and Galaxy of Terror was nothing more than a bargain basement B movie cash in. But Corman had experienced success (again) as executive producer of Battle Beyond the Stars the previous year, and the space movie was still hot in the wake of Star Wars. Galaxy of Terror has taken a lot of stick over the years for being a grade D, badly edited, cheaply made, gory, sleazy knockoff, and you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

After some very moody synth music we realize the film is set in a distant future where astronauts all dress in beige like they're auditioning for the original Space 1999 TV series. The film begins with a guy on a crashed space ship being chased and presumably killed off by an unseen foe. We then meet the crew of another space craft on it's way to the planet Organthus to find out what happened to the previous mission (but of course we already know). They're your usual bunch of space crusaders, unless you count the silly names like Cabren (Edward Albert) the strong leader type, Quuhod (Sid Haig) the hippy dippy warrior, Ranger (Robert Englund) the sissie, Dameia (Taaffe O'Connell) the eye candy, Alluma (Erin Moran) Cabren's squeeze and Trantor (Grace Zabriskie) the miserable one. Soon after arriving some of them start seeing monsters, there's a splattery death, and a sinister energy force in the air. The group send a search party onto the planet surface and discover a large pyramid structure emitting the energy force. It turns out said force makes their darkest fears a reality and once inside the structure the astronauts start getting killed off one by one in a variety of imaginative ways...



Although referred to as an Alien clone Galaxy of Terror actually plays a lot more like Mario Bava's 1965 sci-fi/horror Planet of the Vampires. The films central premise of an evil force that makes people hallucinate their worst fears has since been borrowed for films like Paul W.S. Anderson's 1997 horror Event Horizon, and to a lesser extent Barry Levinson's 1998 sci-fi flick Sphere. Galaxy of Terror's reputation as being irredeemable rubbish is also unwarranted, the film is trashy and badly acted, but also highly entertaining. Although cheaply produced Galaxy has bucket loads of 80's retro style, sports a delightfully weird atmosphere and some impressive original looking low budget sets. Undoubtedly the films main draw however has to be seeing the great b-movie cast die in jaw dropingly gory and ridiculous ways. These include Sid Haig (from House of 1000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects) offed by his own severed arm. Erin Moran (Joni from Happy Days) strangled until her head explodes, Taaffe O'Connell (nothing much at all) raped to death by a giant maggot, and Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger himself) in a punch up with his evil twin. This has everything, even a climactic kung fu fight with space zombies, and a fittingly silly twist ending that somehow just works. For me Galaxy of Terror is the absolute cream of 1980's space trash, and if it must be labeled an Alien clone then it's by far the best one. As junky exploitation this film delivers on all levels, and I highly recommend fans of the genre try and hunt down a copy. Copies of the film are rather thin on the ground, there's no official US dvd release (come on Blue Underground) and the UK dvd release is deleted and hence very expensive (not to mention poor quality). There is an Italian dvd with a nice anamorphic transfer and removable subtitles, but again it's very sought after, so my advice is try and pick up a cheap vhs copy.



They don't make movies with gigantic, Grace Zabriskie-raping maggots anymore, that's for sure.
My apologies, it's actually a Taaffe O'Connell-raping giant maggot, I really must get my giant maggot raping facts straight.






2019: After the Fall of New York (Sergio Martino 1983)
+ Trash rating

In true Italian B-movie style (and if the title isn't indication enough) 2019: After the Fall of New York was an unashamed cash in riding on the coat tails of Mad Max, Escape From New York, and Blade Runner. The film was co scripted and directed by Sergio Martino (billed as Martin Dolman for the benefit of an American audience); a talented and prolific filmmaker who'd worked in a variety genres throughout the 70's including horror, westerns and comedies. Initially Martino had enjoyed success in Italy with a series of well received Giallo thrillers like Case of the Scorpion's Tail (1971), Blade of the Ripper (1971), Eye of the Black Cat (1972), and Torso (1973). Though he's arguably best known in Britain and America for his fun 1978 jungle adventure flick The Mountain of the Cannibal God starring Ursula Andress. 2019 was Martino's low budget stab at the post apocalyptic action genre and was an early video rental hit. With such a microscopic budget and comically derivative title you'd expect this to be unwatchable garbage...wouldn't you?

The film begins with a black guy playing a trumpet!? whist the camera pans across a model (possibly the worst I've ever seen) of a bombed out New York. A voice over tells us that there's been a nuclear war and mankind has split into two warring factions; the evil Euraks and the Pan-American Federation. Just so we know they're the baddies we see the Euraks murderously clean out a mutant ghetto with flame throwers and guns that make strange noises. We then skip to a Mad Max type gladiatorial car sequence in which we're introduced to our hero Parsifal (Michael Sopkiw who looks like David Beckham after ten pints). Parsifal offs his rival stock car racers in gory style and wins the contest only to be given a rather unattractive young lady as a prize. So we know he's the hero Parsifal sets her free, but is captured by the Pan-American Federation who fly him (in a laughable space ship) to the North Pole!!!? (another duff model). It's there that he's given a mission to rescue the last fertile woman on Earth from New York before the Euraks get hold of her. To aide him on his quest Parsifal is given two allies, Ratchet (Romano Puppo) a big dude with an eye patch and a metal hand, and Bronx (Paolo Maria Scalondro) a dude with no special skills. Off they go on motorbikes to New York, where all kinds of mutants, cyborgs, midgets, ape men, and sadistic female Eurak commanders lay wait...






Of all the early 80's Italian post nuke junk out there (which include films like Giuliano Carnimeo's Exterminators of the Year 3000, Enzo G. Castellari's The New Barbarians, and Joe D'Amato's 2020 Texas Gladiators) 2019: After the Fall of New York is by far the best. This is largely down to the inventive way in which Martino approaches the material which is full of silly but imaginatively fun ideas. Such touches often stretch the budget well beyond it's means, but far from being a turn off I found the amateurish models, recycled props (including guns from Barbarella) and tacky costumes rather endearing. Martino throws everything but the kitchen sink at this movie, and it just works. We get a Planet of the Apes type mutant character called Big Ape (Italian regular George Eastman), Eye gouging, flame throwers, lazers, babes, and a climactic car chase (in a station wagon) through a mined tunnel. The pace moves along nicely never meandering, and there's also a terrific moody synth score from Guido & Maurizio De Angelis (billed as Oliver Onions) that perfectly complements the non-stop action. It's still an awful movie by most people's standards with dubbed wooden acting, laughable production values, and a stupid unoriginal plot. But I challenge you to have this much fun with a bad b-movie anywhere else.



Is this on DVD? Seems every film you recommend that catches my eye, isn't lol.
I'm happy to say that you can pick up a region 0 version (23rd Century label) of this film quite cheap on Amazon and Ebay (the last time I looked). Other than that check the dvd bins in pound shops; I kid you not, that's where I found my first copy before I upgraded. The transfer on the uk version flickers a bit, and there's no scene selection or extras though. I recommend getting the region 1 Shriek Show edition which has a trailer, scene selection and an interview with Martino.