Today’s movie ended up having a connection to yesterday’s. There was actually a poster for this movie hanging in the background of Chopping Mall. Who knows, maybe I’ll just do a bad 80s horror week. You can always immediately tell you’re in for a good time when you see that Roger Corman has his name attached to something. Also in the opening credits I got the joy of seeing this was going to have a young Robert Englund and production design was done by James Cameron. All of that and I still wasn’t adequately prepared for the high concept, no explanation horror film I was about to sit down to.
Summing up the movie is simultaneously easy and ridiculous. The main plot of the movie is about a crew sent on a rescue mission to a remote planet. There they begin to get killed off, one by one, by their own fears made manifest. Kind of like a really early, non-underwater version of Sphere. Oddly enough, only a couple of the people actually have fears that make sense with the character. That or several members of the crew are apparently deathly afraid of rubber insect monsters. Almost everyone ends up dead when we get to the real reason for why all of this is happening and I am definitely going to need a new paragraph to even begin to decipher what the hell that was all about.
At the beginning of the movie, we see an old woman hanging out with a guy that has a face obscured by glowing light that is pouring out of him. They call him the Master and they repeatedly use that name as almost a stand in for God like when the spaceship goes out of control and the captain says “It’s in the Master’s hands now”. Turns out that one of the crew members is actually the Master and that he set all of this up to hand over the power of the Master to someone else? The movie never tells us what that power is, or what the role of the Master is in this setting, or why they needed to go to a planet that kills you with your own fears. Hell, the old woman narrates the beginning of the movie and says that she is the oracle of the game that the Master plays but the she fucks off and we never see her or figure out what the hell is happening. Also it ends with one of the two survivors getting the Master power because he won the game but Robert Englund was still alive at that point too and it never really addresses that. Does he also get powers? Is he the new oracle? What the shit, movie?
The set design wasn’t terrible. I’d basically describe it as being like the dollar store H.R. Giger equivalent. The creatures were pretty goofy but thankfully ended up mostly being obscured as actual death scenes usually had only parts of the various monsters showing. Unfortunately the sound effects they decided to use for many of these scenes were just laughably out of place such that you have someone getting attacked by bloodsucking tentacles but it sounds like someone farting into a bucket of yogurt. Of course I can’t mention deaths without bringing up the infamous death scene in the movie where a woman is raped by a worm monster. It isn’t really graphic at all but apparently there was an X rated version of this movie that had scenes they cut where the big rubber worm monster was more thrusty and I’m very much ok with that version having apparently become lost to time.
In all, this is a surprisingly watchable movie for a Roger Corman joint. I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5.