Beware of films that sneak into town on multiple screens and past review deadlines; they generally intend to benefit before word of mouth catches up with them. Witness "Galaxy of Terror," currently lurking in a number of neighborhood theaters. "Galaxy" tries to capitalize on a wide array of sci-fi-thriller-chillers, including "Alien," "Barbarella," "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "Fantastic Voyage" and "The Tingler" by throwing in some chop/sock-'em kung fu and blood-and-cuts gore. When one crew member of a crashed spaceship says, "I don't sense life. I've never sensed anything so dead," you suspect she's not talking just about the planet.
Actually, this would be better titled "Don't Go Near That Planet!" It's based on the old "nothing to fear but fear itself" adage transplaneted to a far-away galaxy. There's an immediate suggestion that the female captain is the "only survivor of the Hesperus Massacre" that took place 20 years earlier in "Alien." She heads a truly stupid crew, the kind that asks, "Shall we go?" knowing the answer is, "Of course." Fools do rush in; where would horror films be without them? As another character says soon after, "I'm too scared to be frightened." Also too dumb to be stupid, apparently.
The extinguished cast is headed by Ray Walston, one-time Favorite Martian, here elevated to Master. What he's master of and what this ill-fated journey is all about are never rationally explained, but then it seems most of the little thought in "Galaxy of Terror" was put into the special defects, which include a crewmember whose head and tummy snap, crackle and pop; an arm that gets cut off and still manages to spite itself; and a tiny worm that grows and rapes a comely crew member to death. It's interesting that the women's inner demons are age and sex, while the men are attacked mostly by little old devils. Excepting some wasted planetscapes and austere interiors, that's about the only interesting thing about "Galaxy of Terror." "Let's get outta here," said one character, but I forget if he was in the film or in the audience.