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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Galaxy of Terror [Blu-ray]

 

(Bruce D. Clark, 1981)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: New World Pictures

Video: Shout! Factory

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:21:32.888

Disc Size: 37,185,421,929 bytes

Feature Size: 19,941,046,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.92 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 20th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1878 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1878 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1857 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1857 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary track with actress Taaffe O'Connell, Make-up artists Allan Apone, Alec Gillis and production assistant David DeCoteau
Tales From the Lumber Yard: The Making of Galaxy of Terror (1:02:54 in HD!)
New Worlds: Producer Roger Corman, screenwriter Marc Siegler and director Bruce D. Clark discuss the origins of the film
The Crew Of The Quest: Actors Robert Englund, Sid Haig, Taaffe O Connell and Grace Zabriskie discuss their experiences as crew members of the Quest
Planet Of Horrors: A detailed look into the creation of the memorable sets of the film and alien landscapes
Future King: Memories of co-production designer (and future visionary filmmaker) James Cameron from members of the cast and crew
Old School: A journey into the complicated mechanical and makeup effects with artists Allan A. Apone, Douglas J. White, Alec Gillis and others
Launch Sequence: Co-editor R.J. Kizer walks us through postproduction and a profile on composer Barry Schrader
Theatrical Trailers
Extensive Photo Galleries Including Posters, Production Sketches And Designs
Theatrical Trailer With Commentary From Writer/Director Joel Olsen, Courtesy Of Trailersfromhell.com
Script in PDF format
Notes inside case from Jovanka Vuckovic

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: For the first time on Blu-ray, this cult science fiction/horror film has been remastered in high definition for the best possible, most gruesome presentation!

The innermost fears of the mind become reality for the crew members of the Quest when they land on the barren planet Morganthus hoping to find the missing crew members of the starship Remus: only to discover something deadly waiting for them. Each member of the rescuing team must come face to face with their darkest fears or perish. The cast onboard the Quest includes Edward Albert (The House Where Evil Dwells), Erin Moran (Happy Days), Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street series), Zalman King (Blue Sunshine) and Sid Haig (House Of 1,000 Corpses).

The film also had its share of new and emerging talent behind the camera, including James Cameron (The Terminator, Aliens, Avatar), who did the production design, and Bill Paxton, who worked as a set decorator before later collaborating with Cameron in front of the camera as an actor.

 

 

The Film:

After a rough landing on the mystery planet, a rescue party heads for the Remus. The Remus' is either dead or missing. With their ship in need of repairs, Ilvar decides to investigate a nearby pyramid for clues as to the fate of the Remus. Trantor, Ranger, and Kore stay behind on the ship. Inside the pyramid, the crew learns that the planet or the pyramid can make their deepest fears real. One by one, the crew is picked off in gruesomely effective ways until the remaining survivors are forced to discover who or what caused the Remus to crash land on the planet and is determined to kill them off. The mystery ties in to the prologue and the Planet Master.

Writer and director Bruce D. Clark (Hammer, The Ski Bum, Naked Angels), and his co-writer, Marc Siegler, put little effort into coming up with an original, let alone engaging, storyline. The alien planet or pyramid making the characters’ fears “real” can be traced back to 1956’s Forbidden Planet and its central conceit, the “monsters from the Id.” Clark pays direct homage to Forbidden Planet via an overhead shot depicting the pyramid’s multi-level power source, but the closer analog, at least structurally, is from Alien and from Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires (itself an acknowledged influence on Alien). From the rescue mission to the dead planet covered in blue fog, from the mysterious alien ship or structure to the monsters jumping out of the pyramid’s shadows, Galaxy of Terror is an exploitation-level riff on Alien.

Excerpt from Mel Valentin at eFilmCritic located HERE

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

It's not much of an image but I expect the best you will ever get of this Corman classic. Noise is the most apparent culprit, but aside from that it can look fairly decent at times - especially in close-ups that tend to look much smoother. You actually get used to the textures and I found myself, almost comically, getting into the film. The limited effects are more noticeable in the higher resolution - but maybe I was just looking closer.  Erin Moran is still kinda cute (Joanie Cunningham from Happy Days) - I wonder what ever happened to her? She meets some pretty gruesome circumstances here. Those anticipating glossy, sharp visuals from this, almost 30-year old cast-off, will no doubt be disappointed. With the Alien-esque feel this appears to have been intentionally made very dark and drab with metal hulls being the frequent backdrop - or, more likely they couldn't find more in the budget to improve things. I'm convinced that this is as good as it will get for Galaxy of Terror - a title I never thought would come out in Blu-ray.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1878 kbps is limited but I respect the audio rendition. It would have been common to add a fake bump but this shows some respect for the manner in which it was first produced. There are some potent screams and the bass has a healthy 'ummphh' but the stereo holds it back from intense appreciation. It's actually pretty good all things considered and my software indicates optional English subtitles although I don't recall a way to enable them (use the 'subtitle button the remote dummy). My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

We really can't critique Shout! Factory in the supplements department. They tend to go 'whole-hog' on this Corman cheese. Highlights would be the commentary track that has some life to it with actress Taaffe O'Connell, make-up gurus Allan Apone and Alec Gillis and production assistant David DeCoteau. There are some laughs and production anecdotes - all good. The hour long feature (in HD no less) Tales From the Lumber Yard: The Making of Galaxy of Terror has even more information though and I found myself enjoying many parts of it. There's much more including still galleries, trailers and the script in PDF. Great job!

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The movie is remembered by many for the alien 'rape/murder' of Dameia (Taaffe O'Connell) with her clothes being removed/ingested, her honk'in bod squirming and the moans that elevate from pain to near ecstasy. I'm NOT convinced that this Blu-ray edition has it exactly right but my memory, even for sequences like this, is not what it used to be. I have the Italian DVD somewhere and will double check one day. I do think something is missing though.

 

Corman fans probably won't be doing much complaining here. Shout! Factory have put some real effort in and I do admit that it is quite cool to see such limited production sci-fi cinema in 1080P. I'm well aware of how this genre's 'cheese' is highly addictive. I wonder why that is? You won't be seeing Galaxy of Terror looking any better than it does on this Blu-ray, in my opinion. For all the work put in - the value seems attractive. Fans of Roger Corman (actually, one of the most prolific producers of all time) or of this cult-genre of imperfect films should probably indulge - watch with a few beers on a late Friday night with relaxing friends. It's good social fodder in a way most films aren't by demanding more of your attention.  

Gary Tooze

July 13th, 2010

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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