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Galaxy of Terror (1981) Gives You the Pyramid You Don’t Get from Alien (1979)

Ati

Feb-15-2018 8:02 AM

Galaxy of Terror is a 1981 science fiction horror film produced by Roger Corman and directed by Bruce D. Clark. It stars Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston and Taaffe O’Connell.

While known as being a "B movie king", Roger Corman has started the careers of many prominent Hollywood people with his films. Galaxy of Terror was one of the earliest films for director James Cameron, who served as Production Designer and Second Unit Director on the film. It was the second Corman film on which Cameron worked as a crewman, the first being Battle Beyond the Stars (1980).

Working on a tight budget, Cameron's innovative filmmaking techniques came to the forefront. In one scene, Cameron was able to figure out a way to get maggots to wiggle on cue by developing a metal plate onto which the maggots were placed, then ran an electric current through the plate whenever filming began, causing the maggots to move energetically about. His ability to find low-tech solutions to such problems reportedly made him a favorite of Corman and eventually allowed him to pursue more ambitious projects.

Cameron would later direct Aliens (1986), the sequel to Ridley Scott's Alien (1979), an important inspiration for Galaxy of Terror. Optical FX Supervisor Tony Randel, who worked with Cameron on Galaxy of Terror, notes on the Shout! Factory DVD release that Aliens, which Cameron helmed, looks a lot like Galaxy of Terror in many ways.

On a desolate, storm-lashed planet called Morganthus, the last survivor of a crashed spaceship is attacked and killed by an unseen force. On another planet a very long distance away, two figures are seen playing a strange game. One, an old woman named Mitri, is identified as the controller of the game while the other, whose head is obscured by a glowing ball of red light, turns out to be an all-powerful mystic called the Planet Master. The two speak cryptically of things being put into motion, and the Master instructs one of his military commanders to send a ship to Morganthus.

Without delay, the spaceship Quest blasts off to Morganthus. Piloting the ship is Captain Trantor, a survivor from a famous space disaster that has left her psychologically scarred and unstable. As the Quest approaches the planet’s atmosphere, it suddenly veers out of control and plunges toward the surface, crash-landing there. After recovering from the landing, the crew prepare to leave the Quest and search for survivors. The team has a psi-sensitive woman among their number named Alluma (Erin Moran). Both she and the surface team have significant problems with team leader Baelon (Zalman King), who is pushy and arrogant and totally unimpressed by Alluma's inability to detect any lifesigns whatsoever.

Making their way across the landscape of the planet, they eventually reach the other vessel. Entering, they find evidence of a massacre that took place. The rescue teams split into two and explore the craft. They find further evidence of something catastrophic having happened and, after disposing of the rest, take one victim back for analysis. Cos, the highly-strung youngest member of the team, despite being reassured by his seniors, becomes increasingly terrified by being on the ship and, a short time later, he is killed by a grotesque creature.

The crew discover that something from the planet pulled them down, and in order to escape, they must investigate. After some exploration, they discover a massive pyramid-shaped structure, which Alluma describes as "empty" and "dead". Their explorations of the pyramid lead to a series of exceedingly violent and deadly encounters in which a malevolent force causes several crew members to be dismembered, burned, consumed, raped or crushed to death by monsters created out of each person's unique set of fears.

/Spoiler:/

Eventually, only two members of the team, Ranger (Robert Englund) and Cabren (Edward Albert), remain alive. Deep inside the pyramid, Cabren encounters the Master (Ray Walston), who has been masquerading as the cook on board the Quest. The Master explains that the pyramid is actually an ancient toy for the children of a long-extinct race, built in order to test their ability to control fear. Cabren kills the Master for allowing his crew to die, but becomes the new Master in his place.

Text taken from:

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Galaxy_of_Terror

27 Responses to Galaxy of Terror (1981) Gives You the Pyramid You Don’t Get from Alien (1979)

Ati

Feb-15-2018 8:11 AM

Video about Galaxy of Terror full of interesting background info:

Brandon's Cult Movie Reviews: Galaxy Of Terror - created by Brandon Tenold

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prNIiyL2WvU

Ingeniero

Feb-15-2018 8:41 AM

Awesome. Will watch this too. Thank you Ati.

Ati

Feb-15-2018 3:24 PM

My pleasure, Ingeniero, I'm happy you find it interesting.

I wouldn't like to claim anything about the storyline, but the production design is outstanding. The pyramid looks awesome:

dk

Feb-15-2018 8:57 PM

Yet another movie for the watch list. Thanks Ati. I was (am) always a fan of the sets and effects from the pre CGI era. 

daliens

Feb-16-2018 1:51 AM

Watched the video on youtube and it was enough to get an idea. Even if it was made 2 years after Alien this movie Galaxy of Terror seems like a terrible waste of time. James Cameron is brilliant at maggots' electrocution and marines' shoot out.

Let's admit how lucky we were for Alien with Ridley Scott at the helm.

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

BigDave

Feb-16-2018 3:36 AM

Interesting find....  will have to try and check it out.

sounds like a Star Beast, meets Event Horizon and Hellraiser kind of Plot lol

Visually it looks interesting and i cant help but wonder did they take some Atheistic ideas from Star Beast?   That Pyramid Straight up looks just like what HR Giger would have done if instead of ALIEN they decided to keep the Plot more closer to Star Beast.

I think a lot of us would have been hoping to discover similar looking Pyramids on the Engineers Home-world... but ALAS

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Ati

Feb-16-2018 4:18 PM

Thank you, Svanya!

My pleasure, dk!

Ati

Feb-16-2018 4:20 PM

Lol, daliens, you are not a Cameron fan, undeniably. 8)

Ati

Feb-16-2018 4:23 PM

You are agreed, BigDave, I love the pyramid in Galaxy of Terror.

I thought the same - fans would be happy to see a similar pyramid in an Alien movie.

daliens

Feb-17-2018 12:32 AM

Ati

I don't like the path Cameron took with Aliens. On the other hand I think his films are dated, predictable and full of clichés. It is true they bring some novelty that can be assimilated better with a bag of popcorn. So I'm not a fan of the Cameron - the director.

I don't know about pyramids in alien films. They were replaced by those gigeresque domes in Prometheus,  it was a better choice in my opinion. Pyramids are associated with graves on earth and we haven't seen engineers burial grounds yet, only one of their city. And their city on planet 4 did not have a biomechanical look at all, it looked more like a blend of ancient egyptian,  roman and greek architecture. But also the engineers on planet 4 look more human than those on LV 223. So must be something more out there.

We need to know why those differences and how the thousands of eggs got on the derelict ship from Alien if they were on the ship at all and not in some silo underneath the ship.

We need to know who made the xenomorph. 

We need to know who the SJ was.

I think most of the fans are now waiting for these answers rather than for another Ripley story or just some meaningless adventures in the alien universe.

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

daliens

Feb-17-2018 12:41 AM

The title chosen for that film Galaxy of Terror is totally uninspired, more suitable for a parody. 

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

daliens

Feb-17-2018 12:46 AM

Ati

Nevermind my posts, thanks for the share, you are doing a great research job.

I am just deeply frustrated by not getting any news from Disney about our beloved franchise. And I feel Ridley Scott is frustrated too. He seemed to really want to continue the prequels as soon as possible. 

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

Ati

Feb-19-2018 10:43 AM

daliens - 'thanks for the share, you are doing a great research job.'

Thank you.

'I am just deeply frustrated by not getting any news from Disney about our beloved franchise.'

I see what you mean. I think we won't get any news before the premiere of the Star Wars - Solo movie.

'The title chosen for that film Galaxy of Terror is totally uninspired, more suitable for a parody.'

Perhaps it was intentional. He 'was' the first producer of the Alien but he was 'fired'... Imagine his feelings. 8D

Perhaps that was the reason why he produced ten Alien imitators in the eighties. :)

Ati

Feb-19-2018 10:50 AM

daliens - 'We need to know who made the xenomorph. We need to know who the SJ was. I think most of the fans are now waiting for these answers rather than for another Ripley story or just some meaningless adventures in the alien universe.'

I agree with you.

'I don't know about pyramids in alien films.'

You should know because it is important. Look at this:

'Alien Pyramid:
The search party from the Nostromo originally find a triangle that the Space Jockey had carved into its “dashboard,” apparently as its last act, when they investigate the Derelict Ship. After the planetoid’s endless dust storm has briefly settled, the crew can see a huge pyramid on the horizon. Another crew is sent to explore. They scale it, find an opening on top, and a volunteer lowers himself down the hatch. He finds a giant chamber that seems like a tomb, or maybe a place of worship. There are weird statues and some sort of hieroglyphics which are representative of Alien reproductive cycles.'

'The explorer then finds the Alien spores that had been waiting. This summary was taken from The Book of Alien which goes on to quote Ridley Scott who said, “The pyramid and the derelict-two different elements-were still the subject of a seesaw debate when I came on the project. I would love to have shot it, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it would have been wonderful in a three-hour version. What finally cracked it was the budget. We just had to get rid of it. And you know, sometimes financial practicalities force you to do a certain amount of editorial work, and I’m glad we simplified it.” The image is a piece of conceptual artwork done by Chris Foss.'

Source: https://www.avpgalaxy.net/alien-movies/alien/deleted-scenes/

 

Ingeniero

Feb-19-2018 11:07 AM

"Hell Has Just Been Relocated!"

I will soon perform my analysis.

Ati

Feb-19-2018 11:23 AM

'I will soon perform my analysis.' - Lol, please be kind to it. I focused on the pyramid, not the movie quality.

Is it your blu-ray? You bought it?

Ingeniero

Feb-19-2018 11:45 AM

Yes Ati, I thought it was a good choice based on the cover art and your recommendation. This on the back cover helped too, below.

"James Cameron, who did the production design, and Bill Paxton, who worked as a set director before later collaborating with Cameron in front of the camera as an actor."

I know....will be kind in my review but I do like the classic sci-fi movies so factor that it in. Outland was great and fits with Alien. I did like The Soldier and I bought that movie too pretty cheap. I don't buy many movies but I will add quality sci-fi from all eras at low prices.

I checked out Moon 44 and no attempt to purchase this film will be made at this time nor at any time in the future.

Ati

Feb-19-2018 11:53 AM

The cover... :D

Yes, Paxton was involved as well...

'I checked out Moon 44 and no attempt to purchase this film will be made at this time nor at any time in the future.'

Lol, in spite of the fact that it offers the furniture used in Blade Runner... 8D

daliens

Feb-19-2018 11:26 PM

Ati - thanks again. 

I knew about the pyramid from the O'Bannon script, I just don't see how it could be introduced at this stage in the Alien universe. The was no pyramid in Prometheus or in Alien Covenant. Unless they find one on Origae 6 I don't think David will get the colonists to work to build one for the eggs. And in the original script the xenomorph was an extinct alien species so the pyramid kind of made sense in their own world. 

Probably Ridley Scott considered the gigeresque domes (similar to Giger’s work for Dune) we see in Prometheus as a better version of the pyramid he could not do for the first film.

You know, Ridley Scott said he made the prequels to answer who the SJ was and who made the xenomorph. After 2 films we still don't know those answers,  on the contrary we have more mistery and endless debates. 

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

ignorantGuy

Feb-19-2018 11:45 PM

daliens - Yes we do. The first is 80% David and the other is 100% David. Unless the retcon machine will start spinning.

MU/TH/UR 9000

Feb-19-2018 11:49 PM

Cool, when I saw the triangle I immediately thought of Dan O'Bannon's first draft of Alien.

YUTANI | ALIEN | AI | ROBOTICS | SCI-FI | TECHNOLOGY | https://yutani.blog/2018/06/21/news-disney-fox-acquisition-episode-12-yutani-podcast/

BigDave

Feb-20-2018 9:32 AM

Its interesting to bring up the Pyramids,  i think we have to remember a lot has changed since the ideas that were laid down in Star Beast however...

I think RS and FOX have gone past the notion that the Xenomorph was/is the remnants of a Ancient Civilized Alien Race, it seemed to be implied only as a Bio-Weapon used by the Space Jockey Race, but at this time we could not rule out if they created it or discovered it.... but i felt the Aesthetic Connection between the Derelict and Xenomorph had to mean some connection.

Prometheus came along and changed this Aesthetic and revealed the Xenomorph was likely connected to the Black Goo Bio-Weapon that had been tested/experimented and maybe developed on LV-223.

The LV-223 Outpost certainly took some Nods, towards Gigers Harkonnen Temple Concepts for Dune.  It was made to appear constructed to a degree and lacked any HR Giger Bio-Mechanical Aesthetic, however we see a toned down Aesthetic within the interior of the Temples on LV-223, and indeed likewise with the Juggernauts.

I am sure many were expecting some more Bio-Mechanical Aesthetics with the Engineers Home-world, and so i think we can see how some fans became a bit disappointed.

The Questions now are will we ever see such Atheistic in future? or are these just going to come down to only the Engineers Ships?  Will we ever see any Pyramids, or Temple Complex's like in Prometheus?

I think a lot depends what worlds we are shown, in the future movies (if any are made), i dont think we will be seeing LV-426 having any such Buildings though... or under ground Caves... i think RS is sticking with the Egg Chamber being part of the Derelict.

Regarding Origae-6 and having Ancient Buildings, who knows.. i do feel IF and its a BIG if... so if they do show buildings i would think they could be more ancient looking and so discovering Pyramids could not be ruled out, but i feel it would be the remnants of a long long lost civilization.  That would be in maybe similar or lesser state than the Ancient Egyptian Temples/Pyramids.

I think it would be too much of a COINCIDENCE if Origae-6 has inhabitants, and if we see a Civilization thats not to long been destroyed/disappeared...

I also think finding a place with the Atheistic of the Juggernauts would again be too much of a COINCIDENCE too...

Maybe the Engineers who return to Planet 4 find out David is off to Oriage-6 and we find out this World is one the Engineers had Terra-formed to eventually use to SEED life on, and so they cant allow David to contaminate the place... or that its a world they had used something to wipe the slate clean thousands of years ago and Origae-6 is in the Process of Healing back to being able to be used to Seed again.

I certainly cant see the place being shown as having some Ancient Temples, that contain anything related to the Xenomorph though.

The whole what state Origae-6 is in regarding, previous in-habitats, certainly relating to the Engineers is somehing i have pondered when working on my ideas for a Alien Covenant Sequel...  I certainly would not explore this place being a outpost like LV-223 was, i am kind of reluctant that it had/was  some Ancient Culture related to the Engineers... but its not something i would rule out when i eventually evolve my Alien: Ascension Plot/Story.

But i certainly was considering a few Pyramid Structures, and thus going the route to show that many worlds had these Structures because the Engineers used them to Terra-form Worlds.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

BigDave

Feb-20-2018 9:45 AM

@daliens

Indeed it appears the LV-223 Outposts were based off Gigers unused work for Dune, but also the Egg silo concepts for Alien by Giger appeared to replace the Pyramid/Obelisk looking things from Star Beast/Early Alien drafts.

About the closest we got to this or the LV-223 Temples was the Cathedral in the Engineers City, but this was more of a Constructed Ancient Architecture and had more of a Roman/Greek meets Islamic Construction.... pretty much similar to the Hagia Sophia in Turkey

"You know, Ridley Scott said he made the prequels to answer who the SJ was and who made the xenomorph. After 2 films we still don't know those answers,  on the contrary we have more mistery and endless debates. "

Indeed and this is something thats Evolved a bit since the concept of the Prequels, a lot to do with Oversights/Scale regarding the Engineers because the Brainstorming that lead to Alien Engineers the HR Giger Aesthetic was more apparent and our Engineers were 12-15ft Tall and not 7-8ft Tall.

There was clues to the Xenomorph, and even though Prometheus toned it down, if we used Alien Engineers as like a Rosetta Stone to help understand Prometheus then that movie had the clues.

But while Prometheus 2 may have moved away from ALIEN, it appears Pressure was added to make the sequel become more closer to ALIEN and a Consequence of that appears the Xenomorph Origins are linked to DAVID.

some things could be changed though.... unless we have to accept a lot of the inconsistencies...  between the Xenomorphs, and Derelict and Space Jockey.  And that these are just a Oversight.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

daliens

Feb-21-2018 12:35 AM

Ati

"Perhaps that was the reason why he produced ten Alien imitators in the eighties. :)"

If Ridley Scott doesn't get to continue with the prequels we can talk about the curse of Tut-Ankh-Corman :)

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

Ati

Feb-26-2018 5:55 PM

daliens - 'If Ridley Scott doesn't get to continue with the prequels we can talk about the curse of Tut-Ankh-Corman :)'

Lol, you've solved the mystery. 8)

Critters5

Feb-27-2018 6:29 AM

Great find and good movie. Tentacle sex scene is best part. Interesting points too Bigdave about Orgae-6. 

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