Galaxy of Horrors is an anthology movie. Eight short stories wrapped around a tale of a man waking up in deep space trapped in his cryo-stasis pod. Unable to get out because of a faulty system he is forced to wait & watch horror shorts chosen by the computer for his entertainment. Unfortunately for him these ‘movies’ are also draining the life support system forcing him to try & guess the password.
As a wrap-around story it’s pretty minimal but with a fun payoff. As things get more desperate, you’ll feel sympathy for the man even if very little is actually known about him.
So eight stories, eight films with some seriously high production values (some of the visuals here are simply stunning). The first is ‘Eden’, a story set in a dystopian future version of the United States where two factions are at war for control of the country. The war has poisoned the air & very few people can survive for long without a gas-mask. One faction manages to infiltrate the others compound with the aim to assassinate their president.
Initially intriguing Eden descends into a farcical, nonsense filled short. It will have completely lost your interest by time it reaches the conclusion. The bloody violence does not make up for the lacklustre plot & clichés.
Things pick up with ‘Iris’, a fun take on the advancement in technology such as Siri & Cortana as well as our over-reliance on said tech. While predictable, it’s short enough to not take the idea too far.
‘Flesh Computer’ is a visual treat but an absolute incoherent mess. The janitor of an apartment block looks after the needs of a computer that is made up of both electronics & flesh. The short is about what constitutes consciousness but it beats you over the head with the idea. So much so that all you’re left with at the end is some snazzy visuals.
The fourth is ‘Pathos’ & the first of two subtitled shorts. At some point in the future Earth has become inhabitable & the survivors live underground hooked up via tubes in their heads. Living is a commodity, one that you’ll have to pay for. The short surrounds a man who desperately tries to make the necessary payments to extend his life. All while the computer system steadily removes his bodily functions (hearing/sight etc.).
An interesting one, its view on consumerism isn’t subtle but the enclosed space & excellent lead make it extremely watchable.
One of the best things about Galaxy of Horrors is the imagination involved in these horror shorts & that continues in ‘Eve’. Set in a world where women don’t exist, two men desperately try to make one. The most visceral so far, the grittiness of the environment & excellent performances really sell it. It’s the shortest of the shorts but has the most believable characters & acting of the bunch.
The best of the eight comes next. ‘They Will All Die in Space’ is shot in black & white & has that claustrophobic feel that Alien did so well. Deep in space, two men wake another from cryo-stasis in the hope he can fix their ship which has been damaged & is floating adrift.
However, as he begins work he realises things are not quite what they seem. Utterly brilliant, mesmerising performances with a dark & twisted plot. An absolute stand-out effort from all involved. The final scene will stay with you long afterwards.
Having to follow that, ‘Entity’ was always going to struggle & aside from some marvellous visuals; it doesn’t have much going for it. A female astronaut is stranded in space after her ship is destroyed. Desperate she floats for an undetermined time before coming into contact with some form of celestial entity (God?). There really isn’t much plot here & while the actress does well, what you’ll remember is the mind-blowing imagery that puts many high profile releases to shame.
The final short mixes sci-fi horror with a more gritty style. Two drug dealers go to an underground club to make a delivery but come up against something not of this world. The second of the subtitled shorts, ‘Kingz’ is also the silliest with some cheesy acting, cringe-worthy dialogue & very odd fight scenes.
Not that it makes it a poor short, in fact it’s fun & interesting up until the disappointing ending.
So that’s Galaxy of Horrors, a mish-mash of imaginative stories, fantastic visuals & gory moments. It’s a bit too hit & miss to be called a great anthology but when it gets it right, it’s bloody brilliant.
Worth watching for They Will All Die in Space, Eve, Iris & Entity alone.
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Galaxy of Horrors
The Final Score - 6/10