When people think of Roger Corman, they think of two things: camp filled films with copious amounts of blood and skin, and Death Race 2000. However, hoping to help change that is the genius collective known as Shout! Factory.
Releasing a collection of films under the banner of Roger Corman’s Cult Classics, then company has added to their ever growing catalogue of Roger Corman produced projects, which currently includes the aforementioned Death Race 2000 among others, with two new releases of classic projects, Galaxy of Terror, and Forbidden World.
Both are solid winners here, but the true king of the pair here is Galaxy Of Terror.
The film follows the crew of a rescue ship, who while on a mission, come into contact with a group of monsters. However, these aren’t just your run of the mill beasts. These monsters are bread from th very subconscious of each member of the crew, making them physical manifestations of their worst and darkest fears.
Personally, while I like my sci-fi a little more along the lines of films like Solaris or last year’s Moon, this is one of the more engaging sci-fi films I’ve had a chance to see in a long time. There is an inherent charm behind Corman and his productions, that no matter how poor the effects may look, or how cartoonishly theatrical the performances truly are, the film takes all of the influences that the film may have taken from films like Alien, and really runs with it.
The budget is minute, but the themes here aren’t. Yes, the film avoids pulling any punches, often times making what it’s trying to say seem a little heavy handed, but if you truly let yourself go along for the ride, as wild as it may be, it’s a really fun and interesting little picture. The film is directed by Bruce Clark, and it definitely fits the Corman bill, as it’s a low budget, nudity filled film, that features over the top in both conviction and tone performances, and while it has been called a no budget take on Alien, it takes what it has been given, and makes a film, clocking in at just around 80 minutes, that is both engaging, as well as completely brisk. Sure, the film won’t work for those looking to watch a film with a bigger budget, and the film in and of itself doesn’t completely work, but this is definitely worth the price, particularly because of what it has in support of the film.
Galaxy Of Terror features a low number of special features, but what it does have, are some of the more interesting and truly reflective special features given to a film in this collection. The release comes with a fantastic commentary featuring members of the cast and crew, trailers for the film as well as other films released by Corman’s New Worlds Pictures, a photo gallery, and even the film’s original screenplay. However, the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of the release is the massive making of documentary, broken into sections looking at the cast of the film, the creation of the films sets and landscapes, it’s make up effects, it’s editing, and even a selection of memories from the cast and crew of the film, who had the chance to work with one James Cameron. The film has garnered comparisons to films like Cameron’s Aliens, as a lot of the effects crew actually moved on from this film, to that one, and here you learn about that, but you also learn that Cameron may have been just as egotistic as he is now, back in the day. It’s an amazing documentary, particularly when looking at what Shout has done with this series, particularly Death Race, a DVD without a truly interesting making of documentary.
The other film, Forbidden World, also high on the violence and nudity, while being low on the budget, is a film that I enjoyed, but didn’t quite get much more out of.
Personally, the thing that keeps me coming back to Corman’s projects, even the ones that he produces, are the combination of charm, and thematic weight that makes his films more than just simply campy classics. However, here it seems that while the premise is fun; a group of scientists come under attack on a remote planet after an experiment goes loose, the film doesn’t have much more below the surface.
The film is exactly what you would expect from a Corman produced film. It’s a sci-fi action thriller made on a nonexistent budget, chock full of performances that would be home on any sci-fi episode of The Young And The Restless, which is all fun and good, but without that extra level of thematic weight, the film really doesn’t stand up against films like Death Race and Galaxy of Terror.
That said, what makes this release worth your money, is the fact that this is a truly legendary release. With every previous release of the film, the 77-minute, Roger Corman edited cut of the film has been the one to see the light of day. However, this sees the first release of the completely unrated directors cut of the film, originally called Mutant, which features five more minutes of footage, previously unseen. For any completist, this is an absolute must own, as it includes the extra cut, along with a collection of trailers, stills, and interviews pertaining to special effects work on the film, memories of the cast and crew, and a really interesting look at the score of the film. The release also comes with a commentary on the director’s cut, from director Allan Holtzman.
Overall, these aren’t the best films in the world, but for fans of camp filled sci-fi thrillers, there is literally no better place to turn that Roger Corman and his crew. The films here are top notch, and are collected here with such a fantastic collection of features, that for any fan of this type of film, these are absolute must owns. If these aren’t your cup of tea, than this of course may not be worth it, but if you are looking to get into a world that isn’t normally talked about when discussing film and film history, at least amongst the mainstream, than there is no better place to turn that here with what Shout Factory is routinely putting out.
GALAXY OF TERROR BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
- Commentary with Cast and Crew
- 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 U.S.S. Quest
- Planet Of Horrors ‘“ A detailed look into the creation of the film’s memorable sets 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
- Original screenplay
FORBIDDEN WORLD 2-DISC SPECIAL-EDITION DVD BONUS CONTENT:
- New anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) in high definition transfer from the Inter-Positive films elements of the R-rated theatrical cut
- The never-before-seen, unrated Director’s Cut (4:3 – Full Frame)
- Audio commentary with director Allan Holzman
- Interview with producer Roger Corman
- Interviews with cast and crew including director Allan Holzman, composer Susan Justin and actor Jesse Vint.
- A look at the special effects of Forbidden World with John Carl Buechler, Robert Skotak, Tony Randal and R. Christopher Biggs
- Poster and still Gallery
- Original theatrical trailer
- Additional New World trailers