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Galaxina / The Crater Lake Monster


Two totally unexpected Blu-ray remasters

Rod Lott March 23rd, 2011

Two movies I never thought I’d see remastered for Blu-ray, much less on the same disc?

sciencefictiondoublefeature

“Galaxina” and “The Crater Lake Monster.” Yet here they are, hand in hand, forever preserved in a “Science Fiction Double Feature” from Mill Creek Entertainment. These are the kind of movies I’d never buy separately, but stick them together in one value package, and my Visa card’s already whipped out of the wallet.

“Galaxina” was playground lore to me in 1980, hearing about it from fellow third-graders whose (divorced) parents didn’t care what they saw. The R-rated sci-fi comedy follows the five-man/one-robot crew of the police spaceship Infinity as it patrols the universe. One of the guys is a literal bat-man, but the reason this movie is remembered at all is the titular robot, played mostly mute by Dorothy Stratten, just before the celebrated Playboy Playmate of the Year’s crazy husband murdered her.  

Writer/director William Sachs (“The Incredible Melting Man”) put what little budget he had into creature costumes, which are as impressive as the curves Stratten pours into her shiny suit. All but plotless, the freewheeling project aims low — and stays there — with juvenile jokes about Uranus, and scenarios that suggest the thing was scripted on potent hits of THC. As Capt. Corny Butt (see?), Avery Schreiber carries over all the shameless mugging from his Doritos ads.

Dropping in a story at the last minute as Galaxina visits a Western town where a motorcycle gang worships Harley David Sun (get it?), the movie spoofs the usual suspects: “Star Wars,” “2001,” “Alien” and “Star Trek.” Not as obvious: In a sequence at an intergalactic whorehouse, Sachs stages the three-breast gag a full decade before “Total Recall.”

In short, “Galaxina” isn’t funny, but enjoyably unfunny, thanks to the scenery. Ms. Stratten, you are missed.

And then there’s 1977’s “The Crater Lake Monster,” one of several no-star, regionally shot, hillbilly horror indies of that decade. This one comes courtesy of writer/director/producer William R. Stromberg, who had never made a movie before (and it shows) and never made one again (and a nation thanks him).

The title virtually doubles as a plot summary: A meteor crashes in an Oregon lake, thereby hatching a dinosaur. You don’t have to wait too long for the beast to bust out, either; 14 minutes in, he rears his roaring head. The giant dino is a work of stop-motion animation that looks like it was shaped out of Stromberg’s own poo.

While authorities and experts try to stop the prehistoric menace from eating every fisherman and camper, Stromberg — not to mention the viewer — is more interested in the shenanigans of two drunken boat renters who closely resemble Will Ferrell with a beard and Pete from TV’s “30 Rock.” In a film full of unintentional humor from frame one, they’re the bumbling comic relief:

“Arnie, is that all you think about is the next drink?”
“No, sometimes I think about the one after that.”

Kew-kew-kew! At least “Galaxina” is never dull. And buxom. —Rod Lott





 
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