I got two delightful DVDs in the mail from SHOUT Factory last week, a Roger Corman double feature of Galaxy of Terror and Forbidden World. Both are films that were born out of the late 70’s science fiction boom and after Corman’s New World Pictures made a little money off a Star Wars wannabe called Battle Beyond the Stars they decided to copy Alien as well with two films shot on the cheap (though not for him with budgets up to over 2 million bucks) with some of the same set design. Yes, these are films that featured the early work of James Cameron, Bill Paxton, Tony Randel, and other assorted genre faves and yes they are extremely bad movies. They are exploitation. They are rushed. They try to replace the atmosphere and tension of the Ridley Scott classic with tits and gore. They are junky flicks. And they are delightful. Some of you may remember the film Mutant (seen here on my office wall), a movie where the title beast is fed cancer at the end. More films should end that way. Imagine how much better The Proposal would have been if Sandra snacked on a melanoma before fading away and allowing Ryan Reynolds to find a less shiny-faced broad. Roll credits.

A lot of the reviews I’ve seen for these flicks regurgitate the stuff from the Wikipedia pages and IMDB trivia. Or the stuff on the commentary tracks or special features. I’d rather have a little fun. So, if you’ll indulge me…


COMPARISON #1
The Titles:



vs.


Advantage: Forbidden World

It looks like they tried to make sci-fi credits rather than something a Videonics machine shat out. If you’re making a science fiction flick, you need to either be really subdued or go ass wild. Alien had subdued titles that then became amazing. The Thing burned a hole in your face. Star Wars had text that retreated from you into space. Credits aren’t that expensive in the grand scheme. I’d have liked to have seen something nutty here. Galaxy of Terrors opening titles are lazy and boring. So are Forbidden World‘s.

Luckily the films have nudity, alien worm rape, and faces melting off or I’d be incensed.

COMPARISON #2

Glowing Head Dudes:


Advantage: Galaxy of Terror

Forbidden World
chose not to include a glowing head dude, which was a grievous error. Maybe they’d exhausted all of their brilliance with the cancer supper to have had the bandwidth to add a glowing head man. Better yet, the glowing head dude speaks in a really stiff and boring voice. If that were me I’d be cracking all sorts of jokes about my ridiculous dome.


COMPARISON #3
Space Vistas


vs.


Advantage: Forbidden World.

The Forbidden Word grab on top looks cheap but interesting. The Galaxy of Terror one on bottom looks like it was created using voodoo and food stamps. Much to my surprise, that’s not the real outer space out there. This was actually shot on Earth. Poorly.

COMPARISON #4
Maggot Rapists

This is the maggot voted ‘Most Likely to Embiggen and Rape’.

Advantage: Galaxy of Terror

There are no maggots in Forbidden World, which is sadness. There is a maggot in Galaxy of Terror (wrangled by James Cameron, apparently) and after seeing his brethren incinerated, he morphs into a huge rape slug. It happens. It’s funny, the film is pretty much known for three things: Early Cameron, the odd inclusion of Happy Days‘ Erin Moran, and a scene where a woman is given unrequested sperm from a worm.

Childhood Story: I was about nine years old in 1982 and I was sleeping over at my older cousins’ place in either Orlando or Rockland County, NY (I forget which) and while pretending to sleep I overheard them discussing this movie. At that time I had no knowledge of what ‘rape’ meant but I knew it wasn’t a splendid adventure for at least one of the participants.

The 80’s was a literal rapefest. X-Tro. The Beast Within. This worm. Humanoids from the Deep. The Pinball Machine. Looking at the fashion of the era, maybe we were asking for it.


COMPARISON #5
Naked Women?

Forbidden World‘s lithe and timeless full nakedness.

vs.


Galaxy of Terror‘s 80’s pneumatic semi-nakedness.

Advantage: Forbidden World

Nothing against Taaffe O’Connell (which sounds like a Stand By Me set nickname), but I’ll take Dawn Dunlap and her nice normal and natural naked flesh over O’Connell’s big 80’s knockers (yes, I know a knocker is ignorant to the decade it’s in). To add to the mix, we also get to see the V alumnus June Chadwick whip out her tender triangles and lower fancies as well. Forbidden World (or Mutant or Subject 20 as it’s also been known) is a veritable haven for a 12 year boy and his hand.



“Nice towel.”

Here’s how great Forbidden World is. There’s a scene where shit has begun fan-hitting and the two ladies convene to plot and plan a method of saving their collective asses. Where do they have this meeting?

In the shower as they bathe each other’s tits and ass.





COMPARISON #6
Ethical treatment of Happy Days actresses?


Look it’s Erin Moran, from Happy Days! It’s squeezing her little head!


Look it’s a Joey Slotnick head doubling as Erin Moran, from Happy Days! His eye seems to have skipped town!


This was Erin Moran, from Happy Days! Chachi, perform CPR!

Advantage: Forbidden World

Erin Moran plays a sort of space empath in Galaxy of Terror. Translation: a space wuss. She is squeezed to explosion.
No friend of the Fonz takes the long walk in the film about the man-made space beast immune to everything but a cancer roll-up.





COMPARISON #7
Aloha Mr. Hand!


My Favorite Blue Vagina.

Advantage: Galaxy of Terror


Ray Walston classes the joint up in Galaxy of Terror, staying on board and reading a book for a large chunk of the running time. He then betrays his crew and gets turned into the glowing head dude for a stretch before heading on his merry way into oblivion.



A feature-length documentary on the making of Galaxy of Terror. That’s the joke and the punchline.

These movies are special. They represent the best intentions and a handful of folks who take their craft really seriously, making whatever little creative touches they can sans budget and as cogs in a machine made to churn out quick money. Roger Corman, love him or hate him, has done so much for the film industry and the respective genres his falls fall into, it’s hard not to appreciate if not love stuff like this.

Both films are centered around isolated groups of people getting their ass kicked by each other and space monsters. They set the bar for the stuff we’re still ponying up dough for or watching on late night cable. One could trace a line throughout film history of those people who lived on the fringe and made really fun little unpretentious movies. Guys like William Castle and Ed Wood and Russ Meyer and many others like them.

Of course, anyone who knows better doesn’t need me to tell them. I own a foreign DVD of Galaxy of Terror and I overpaid like hell for it. And it was a privilege. To see these films get the royal treatment with participation from the stars (you may have heard of Robert Englund, Grace Zabriskie, and Sid Haig). Though they overvalue the art and craft of these flicks in their segments, it’s fun to see.



“Don’t fret. You’ll be better in no time!”

For some reason, seeing these films after all this time reminds me of how few of today’s event films hang onto that sense of blind fun these had. They’re nightmares when compared to the films they’re aping but in their own little world of schlocky low-budget nuttiness, they are sublime.






WINNER:
YOU, if buy these.

BUY GALAXY OF TERROR FROM US!
 
BLU RAY.

BUY FORBIDDEN WORLD FROM US!
 
BLU RAY.