B-MOVIE BLAST: Galaxina (1980)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We first reviewed Galaxina on December 20, 2019, as part of our month-long Star Wars tribute. Then, as part of our unpacking the Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion box set, Herbert P. Caine jumped into the fray on November 21, 2020, with his alternate take. Here we go again, as we unpack Mill Creek’s B-Movie Blast 50-Film Box Set this month.

Galaxina is directed by William Sachs, whose first movie was a psychedelic film called There Is No Number 13. He edited it in Rome, saying “There were three cutting rooms in a row. I was in the middle one. Antonioni was on one side and Fellini on the other. I thought if I could touch both walls at the same time I would be injected with genius. Too bad my arms were too short.”

Yes, the director of The Incredible Melting ManThe Force Beyond and Van Nuys Blvd. could have been the American auteur. Instead, he made really entertaining junk.

This is a movie that has all the humor of Cracked Magazine*, which saw what Mad Magazine did and did a second-rate version that “spent nearly half a century with a fan base primarily comprised of people who got to the store after Mad sold out.” Those are their words, not mine.

I mean, this movie starts with a crawl** because Star Wars did. After reading that, we meet the crew of the Intergalactic Space Police cruiser Infinity is on deep space patrol under the command of Cornelius Butt (Avery Schreiber). If that joke made you laugh, then good news. You’ve found your movie, where that same joke will be made repeatedly.

His crew includes Sgt. Thor (Stephen Macht, The Monster Squad), space cowboy Pvt. Robert “Buzz” McHenry (J.D. Hinton, Night Eyes 3), a combination black man/Vulcan/bat named Maurice and a wise Asian named Sam who quotes Confucius, which is pretty cool, because the actor who played him, Tad Horino, played Confucius in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. 

They also have Galaxina (Dorothy Stratten, who was killed by her boyfriend weeks after this movie came out), an android servant on board. She shocks anyone that touches her and can barely communicate, but she’s a vacant beauty that everyone loves from afar.

The crew battles Ordric for a McGuffin called the Blue Star, which should take them 27 years in space to recover. Their sleep chamber malfunctions, leading to Commander Butt to become an old man. Oh yeah — and he also eats an egg and nearly has an Alien moment (the film references that groundbreaking movie numerous times).

This is a movie that has the Batmobile show up in the wild wild, that steals sound effects from Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, and reuses footage from First Spaceship on Venus, which was a much earlier Crown International science fiction movie.

Despite making fun of every other science fiction movie of the time, as well as westerns and biker movies, this is a movie that never has a secure footing on its own from which it can laugh at others. But man, Stratten is nearly impossibly gorgeous, a vision who should have had a much better life than she did. She didn’t just deserve better from this movie. She just deserved better.

*To be fair, Cracked lasted a long time and had John Severin art in nearly every issue. It was also part of the anthrax scare of 2001, as it shared offices with The Globe tabloid. That meant that the magazine’s archives, containing the original photographic prints of nearly every issue, was contaminated and destroyed.

**I’ll just spare you straining to read it and list it here: The year is 3008. Space travel is now routine. As new galaxies were explored and more civilizations discovered, the traffic in space increased. The United Intergalactic Federation was called upon to create a police force and soon a fleet of ships was patrolling the far reaches of the known star systems. This is the story of one of these ships, police cruiser, Number 308, the Infinity. It is also the story of the ship’s crew and of the ship’s robot. She was no ordinary robot for in the 31st century man finally created a machine with feelings, and her name is…Galaxina.

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