THE TERROR WITHIN / DEAD SPACE
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
Thierry Notz, Fred Gallo
What's it about
This Roger Corman Cult Classic Double Feature includes two tales of horror: one in space, one in the desert. Both are Alien knock-offs but only one is worth watching. But which oneÖ?
Is it good movie?
Olí Roger Corman. His movies never disappoint because each film feels exactly the same. Theyíre cheap, B movie extravagances with decent production values, no name actors, and really, really bad effects. While these factors can describe any number of movies, something about a Corman feature that makes his work strangely enjoyable despite how the movies look. Theyíre second-rate movies done to perfection. These Corman constants remain in tact with these two late 80s, early 90s entries.
For The Terror Within, itís a little tough watching George Kennedy act on this level of Hollywood. The dude was in Cool Hand Luke for Godís sake. Hell, one would think The Naked Gun wouldíve garnered a few more plum roles, but what the hell do I know? Here, Kennedy is the skipper of an underground bunker in a world with living gargoyles after some disease killed off most of the human race. During a routine search for food, his crew finds a pregnant girl, who later gives birth to an alien baby. Yes, itís a complete stealing of the Alien story, but it doesnít really matter because despite the cheapness of the entire production, the movie is actually quite enjoyable. I love post-apocalyptic movies, and while this isnít in the Road Warrior territory, itís has enough action, story, and gore to make it an entertaining dumb movie. Oh, and you have to respect the alien in the rubber suit. Itís just the worst.
When it comes to Dead Space, I canít say the same nice things. Once again, itís another Alien rip-off with a little bit of Forbidden Planet mixed in there (according to the box it is. I didnít see it at first but I suppose it is in there). This film features a space maverick (Marc Singer) who roams the galaxy looking for stuff to do (really, he doesnít seem to have a purpose. Heís just out cruising). Finally, an alert comes in and he finds some space folks to help. He falls in love with one of them while still finding time to battle an alien along with his robot buddy. Yeah, this one is as lame as it sounds. Itís missing the enjoyability of The Terror, but maybe itís the alien. Here, itís a little too foam rubbery whereas Terror actually used an actor in a suit. Foam rubber never works. It never scares. Period.
Video / Audio
Video: A crisp and clear Widescreen presentation for Terror Within. Well, for video-transfer itís pretty clear. Dead Space is presented in 4:3.
Audio: Presented with the power of Surround Sound.
Commentary: I have to admit I was hoping for a commentary track for Terror Within as I would have liked to have heard a story or two about working with Kennedy. But alas, a track with Dead Space director Gallo is still pretty good.
A great collection of Corman produced films from a great time period. While one is clearly more entertaining than the other, both will fill any rainy Saturday afternoon with stupidness.